Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

2/27/2014 (2 years 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 (2 years 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'...

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More Technology

'That is an extremely important goal that has not been achieved yet' - Vatican talks to scientists about Power and Artificial Intelligence Watch

Image of Artificial Intelligence has come under scrutiny by the Vatican.

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

This week the Vatican hosted a high-level discussion in the world of science, gathering experts to discuss the progress, benefits and limits of advances in artificial intelligence. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - A new conference at the Vatican drew experts in ... continue reading


The speed of light may have been MUCH faster in the past, but WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? Watch

Image of Einstein's theory is about to be challenged. Will it survive the test?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not. This maxim from Galileo Galilei is part of the basis of modern science. The work of a scientist is to make things measurable and devise tests. Such a test has now been developed for a possible modification to ... continue reading


DOOMSDAY - experts calculate the odds and they're scary Watch

Image of The odds of doomsday are worse than most think.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

What are the odds of the world coming to an end in any year? According to experts, those odds are more likely than most assume. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Experts have calculated the odds of global catastrophe and concluded there's a better chance of the ... continue reading


Turns out YOU are the reason we can't have nice things! The real reason why self driving cars still aren't for sale Watch

Image of Yep, that's the reason we can't have nice things.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It turns out you are the reason we can't have nice things. Mercedes Benz CEO, Deitmar Exler told people at AutoConference LA, that humans, not technology, are the reason why self-driving cars are not quite available now. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading


Scientists to celebrate 'Gold Mass' - Science and Faith are compatible Watch

Image of Scientists at MIT will celebrate their first Gold Mass on Nov. 15.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists at MIT are about to celebrate a 'Gold Mass' as a way to affirm the compatibility of faith and science. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - There has been a long debate for the past few centuries over the compatibility of faith and science. Science deals ... continue reading


'We are building the technology to give anyone the power to share anything they want' - Facebook has a 10-year-plan you don't want to miss! Watch

Image of Where is Facebook headed?

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook CEO Mike Schroepfer unveiled the social media giant's 10-year plan - and you're not going to believe what they have in store! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the F8 conference, Zuckerberg and Schroepfer took the stage to announce ... continue reading


Elon Musk proposes universal basic income, but there's a hidden dark side nobody thinks about Watch

Image of When the robots do all the work, what is there left for the people to do? What do you do with billions of people you don't need?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Another day brings another warning from someone in the know that the robots are coming to steal your jobs. What will people do when all labor is performed by robots? How will people support themselves and feed their families? Elon Musk proposed universal basic income. ... continue reading


What happens when humans fall in love with robots? We're about to find out. Watch

Image of What happens when humans and robots do more than work together?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The robot revolution is troubling enough with its anticipated impact on jobs. But there may be an even greater problem on the horizon. People are likely to fall in love with their robots. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - What happens when your spouse starts ... continue reading


EPIC! A massive cloud of gas is on a collision course with our galaxy - here's what happens next... Watch

Image of As interstellar gas is compressed by gravity, stars are formed. A similar phenomenon is being observed at the heart of our galaxy where a supermassive black hole is compressing gas to form stars.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

There is a massive cloud of gas on a collision course with our galaxy, closing in at 700,000 MPH. What happens when this cloud arrives? NASA has the answer. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - In 1963, a Dutch astronomer discovered a massive cloud of gas in space ... continue reading


Hate cooking? Good! First robotic chef to arrive in 2018! Watch

Image of The Moley Robot can cook over 100 meals and learn from you.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Do you hate cooking, but love gourmet food? Then we have good news for you. The world's first robotic chef is coming to market and it can cook fully gourmet meals and even clean up after itself. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The world's first commercially ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 40:1-11
1 'Console my people, console them,' says your God.2 'Speak to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1-2, 3, 10, 11-12, 13
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!2 ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 18:12-14
12 'Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 6th, 2016 Image

St. Nicholas
December 6: The great veneration with which St. Nicholas has ... Read More