Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

2/27/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.

Few people paid attention to the news yesterday when it was announced that the Kepler Space telescope had discovered 715 new planets orbiting distant stars, after all, it's just one more astronomical discovery that doesn't mean much to folks on Earth. -But actually, it changes everything.

Kepler only examined one patch of sky where most of the stars were over a hundred light years away. What happens when we look everywhere else? The deep sky is filled with planets.

Kepler only examined one patch of sky where most of the stars were over a hundred light years away. What happens when we look everywhere else? The deep sky is filled with planets.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/27/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Kepler, planets, Goldilocks, habitable, zone, worlds, intelligent, life, extraterrestrial, implications, discover, search, radio


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With a single announcement, scientists have updated what we know about the space around our Sun. We now know of over 1,000 planets outside of our solar system and we can safely conclude that planets are both normal and common around stars.

Most importantly, about 20 percent of those planetary systems have planets which are small in size, similar to Earth, and orbit in the habitable zone around their parent stars.

St. Dominic de Guzman, the patron saint of astronomers
.

If these numbers were extrapolated out to the rest of the galaxy, it would mean the odds for intelligent life out there just grew many-fold times.This changes everything by dramatically increasing the odds for discovering intelligent life beyond Earth.

Conveniently, Kepler also identified which star systems are most likely to host planets that can support life, so scientists will know precisely where to look, which will make evaluation much faster. It's also worth noting that Kepler only studied a single patch of sky around the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. There's a lot more sky left to study.

Last month is was suggested we may discover evidence for life outside our solar system within the next twenty years. The discovery that possible life-bearing planets are more common than previously suspected means we could answer the question even sooner than that.

Scientists also made clear that they weren't finished yet. The discoveries were made using just the first two years of Kepler data. The telescope has been working since 2009, and another two year's of solid data are waiting for review. That data will certainly increase the number of candidate worlds for life that we know about.

The Kepler spacecraft discovered these planets because it was designed to look for the dimming of starlight as planets passed in front of the star. Scientists then looked for patterns of dimming which could only be caused by planets. By combining this with the predictable wobble planets have on their parent stars, which can easily be detected, they can determine with great precision how many planets, and what their masses and orbits are around each star.

Unfortunately, Kepler lost some of its functionality last year when some of its pointing equipment failed. The telescope is still operational, but it is now impaired and its mission is coming to an end. It will soon be replaced by a small fleet of improved telescopes designed to perform the same duties, but even better.

Other telescopes in the planet-hunting fleet will actually be used to seek signs of life on these distant worlds.

It is breathtaking to imagine that we are but years away from possibly answering one of the most fundamental questions about the universe. How common is life? Are we truly alone? For decades, astronomers have doubted our loneliness, but there has been zero scientific evidence accumulated to suggest otherwise. Yet, given the vast size of the universe, it also seems extraordinarily unlikely.

Is life common, or is it exceptionally rare? Whatever the answer may be, we are likely to be astounded by the conclusion. As Arthur C. Clarke once surmised, "Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Technology

Big losses for Amazon in the Stock Market Watch

Image of Amazon sales are down, and some worry the company will not meet its goals for the 2014 Holiday shopping season.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American retail giant Amazon has revealed some shocking financial news, that it has lost nearly $500 million in the past three months. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Amazon's shares dropped by 11% in after-hours trading, which took more than $15 billion off the ... continue reading


So, the Apple haters were wrong again - take a bite of this! Watch

Image of Apple has seen growth in the sales of its iPhones and Macs from this time in 2013, while sales of tablets have shrunk in the same time frame.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tech giant Apple has sold 39.3 million iPhones over the past quarter, which includes sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus which were released in the United States on September 19. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sales of the iPhone rose past most expectations, ... continue reading


Lockheed Martin may have just won the alternative energy war Watch

Image of Lockheed Martin may start producing working Nuclear Fusion reactors by the end of the decade.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lockheed Martin has announced a new breakthrough which may allow for the development of feasible nuclear fusion, which could help solve a potential energy crisis. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Maryland-based firm had revealed that the first fusion ... continue reading


Look out Mars! A future colony is expected to head out to the Red Planet in 2024 Watch

Image of A Dutch-based nonprofit organization, Mars One, intends to send a group of colonists to the Red Planet by 2024.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study about the potential of sending humans to live on Mars for an extended amount of time has shown that there are still some major roadblocks; specifically, humans would likely begin to die within 68 days of arriving on the Red Planet. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


It's the rise of the machines! Robots will take a third of all jobs in less than 15 years Watch

Image of Peter Sondergaard, the research director for Gartner, says that businesses will be more reliant on software and robots in the future.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Gartner, an information and technology research and advisory firm, predicts that robots, drones, and software programs will replace a third of all workers by 2025. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "One day, a drone may be your eyes and ears," said Peter ... continue reading


Meet Google's secret weapon in the global cyber war Watch

Image of Parisa Tabriz is Google's

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Meet Google's "Security Princess", the company's top secret weapon whom is charged with safeguarding one of the world's largest tech giants. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Her name is Parisa Tabriz, a professional hacker whom is paid to attack her own company to ... continue reading


Move over Clovis! Oregon may have been home to earliest humans in America Watch

Image of Archeologists digging in Oregon's Paisley cave complex.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Paisley Five Mile Point Caves, a network of caves in Oregon, may be the oldest site of human habitation in North America. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The find suggests that humans first reached the Americas at the end of the last Ice Age, a thousand years ... continue reading


What's that shiny, mysterious object in the sea of one of Saturn's moons? Watch

Image of Researchers suspect that the appearance of this feature could be related to changing seasons on Titan, as summer draws near in the moon's northern hemisphere.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Science loves a mystery, and so all eyes are upon a mysterious, shining object located on one of Saturn's moons, Titan. In one of the moon's hydrocarbon seas, dubbed the Ligeia Mare, a shining object has been visible to NASA's Cassini spacecraft. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Inventor of World Wide Web warns of encroaching government control Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The British inventor of the World Wide Web, 59-year-old Tim Berners-Lee has issued a dire warning concerning the freedom of the Internet. Berners-Lee says that freedom of expression on the Web is under threat by governments and corporations interested in ... continue reading


Vast new oil field discovered by Russia - with assist from U.S. oil company Exxon Watch

Image of According to the agreement, Rosneft and Exxon won't be able to do more drilling, putting the exploration and development of the area on hold despite the find announced.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Relations between the United States and Russia have been strained, what with ongoing hostilities in Ukraine and the threat that Russian incursions have made to the rest of the European continent. However, the recent discovery by Russian oil interests - with the ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:31-35
31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 30th, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
October 30: Confessor and Jay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter