Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

3/25/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hunt for extraterrestial life is narrowing down to candidate star systems.

A major discovery has been announced in the search for life beyond our Solar System. NASA researchers say they have located a planet the size of Earth orbiting the habitable zone around a nearby star. Such a find is an important milestone in the search for alien life.

Are there other planets just like Earth? Scientists strongly suspect so and it's only a matter of time before we locate them.

Are there other planets just like Earth? Scientists strongly suspect so and it's only a matter of time before we locate them.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/25/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: planet, life, earth, search, faith, God, telescope, discovery


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Astronomer Thomas Barclay from NASA's Ames Research Center in California announced his discovery made with the venerable Kepler Space Telescope which has already located a majority of the planets around other stars.

The planet he discovered is calculated to be 1.1 times the size of Earth and orbits a common dwarf star, much like our Sun, at a distance where liquid water can exist at the surface. These are fundamental prerequisites for life.

St. Dominic de Guzman, patron saint of astronomers.

The identification of such planets is the next natural step in the search for life beyond Earth. Already we have completed a preliminary step, which includes searching for stars which harbor planets. The next step includes identifying which stars with planets have planets where liquid water could exist.

Once those discoveries are made, scientists will be very close to answering with a high degree of precision whether or not life exists on another planet outside our solar system. The final step will be to image the planets themselves, and to study the light refracted through their atmospheres. This is surprisingly easy to do, provided a telescope with sufficient resolution is built.

Scientists will look for biomarkers, chemical traces of life in each planet's atmosphere. One such biomarker is oxygen. Although oxygen is a common element in the universe, ozone, a form of oxygen, is considered to be a biomarker which can indicate the presence of life.

The James Webb Space Telescope and several other next-generation telescopes that are already n the works, have the required ability and will be launched starting in 2018. By 2020, scientists should have their first results in hand and be ready for announcement to the public. We are but half-a-decade away from answering one of the most compelling questions of our existence.

How that question is answered could go either way. We could find that life is common in the universe, requiring just a little water and light as prerequisites for creation, or we may find that Earth is a truly special gem that floats quietly in a vast universe devoid of life.

Both findings have profound implications for how we will view ourselves and the universe in which we live.

Some also argue that this question has profound implications for religion, however this is not entirely true. The Catholic Church has actually wrangled with this very question before and simply concluded that man cannot place creative limits on God.

Even if we detect life, it does not mean that epic changes will occur. There is a great gulf between the detection of life and communicating with it. We could detect life on a planet hundreds of light-years distant, and life there may already be extinct, wiped out in some cataclysm, possibly of alien design, or natural. It makes sense, for we humans are already well capable of destroying Earth.

We may find that such planets are too far to communicate with, even using radio waves which move at the speed of light.

We may also prefer not to communicate in the first place.

Any civilization which we encounter that is technologically superior to ours will have an inherent advantage over us. It may be that we do not want to invite contact with beings which could have designs on our planet and its resources. Consider the example of the Native Americans. Contact with technologically advanced outsiders did not favor them.

Regardless of what the next few decades bring, we are very close to answering the a great scientific question. The discovery of another Earthlike planet brings us that much closer to closing the book on one topic, and opening many others.

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Technology

Zombie Apocalypse: Safest plan is to 'head for the hills,' according to experts Watch

Image of In the event of a zombie apocalypse, cities would fall quickly. However, it would take weeks for zombies to penetrate into less densely populated areas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the event the dead return to life and begin to cannibalize the living, turning them into hordes of the shuffling undead, theoretically - there would be few options. Researchers at Cornell University offer a practical bit of advice should this happen - head ... continue reading


12 billion times size of our sun; scientists spot massive black hole Watch

Image of Researchers led by teams from China's Peking University and the University of Arizona both say the newly discovered black hole is six times larger than its biggest known contemporaries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Chinese researchers have spotted a super massive black hole. Scientists say the heavenly body is 12 billion times the size of the sun. They theorize it formed around 900 million years after the Big Bang. The black hole, named SDSS J010013.02 is larger than any ... continue reading


Apple's 'Project Titan' shaking up U.S. automotive market Watch

Image of Excitement over Apple's

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a market sometimes dictated by fad or fancy, Apple's announcement to hurry an electric car into production in a few short years - called "Project Titan," has inspired widespread consumer excitement. While auto companies typically take seven years to develop a ... continue reading


Bringing 'kid friendly' content to mobile users, YouTube releases new app 'YouTube Kids' Watch

Image of Intended for Smartphones and tablets, YouTube Kids will feature original content from DreamWorks TV, Jim Henson TV, Mother Goose Club, Talking Tom and Friends and more.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the Internet is usually seen as providing inappropriate content for the young, YouTube will be bringing "kid friendly" content via its new app, YouTube Kids. The app will be available free on Android devices - only on February 23. There is no word yet on iOS ... continue reading


Going for it: Apple vows to have electric car out by 2020 Watch

Image of Apple's proposed electric car, the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An electric vehicle that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000 is a goal shared by at least three major companies. Both Tesla Motors and General Motors vow to have such a car available by the year 2017. Apple has now since ... continue reading


Keep your eyes open; Sony 'smart specs' get going as Google rethinks Glass Watch

Image of Sony's specs lack a certain

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Sony is forging ahead with its own version of Google Glass - spectacles that are tuned into the Internet, in spite of Google Glass being sent back for revamping. Computer giant Apple remains firm that the wrist is the right place for a wearable computer. Sony ... continue reading


New tool on Facebook will maintain your page - AFTER YOU DIE! Watch

Image of The Legacy Contact will be able to close down your profile, keep it frozen as a memorial, or leave it as it is.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

How we will be remembered in cyberspace after we pass on is usually down low - way, way down on our list of priorities. Stepping up to the plate, Facebook - the preeminent social networking Web site, has created an app that will inform your friends that you are ... continue reading


CYBER WARFARE: Utah suffering 300 million attacks daily, possibly due to National Security Agency Watch

Image of Any time Utah finds itself in controversy, cyber attacks seem to increase.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the State of Utah is home to the new, secretive National Security Agency computer center, one that whistle-blower Edward Snowden informed to the world, hackers now think they can somehow get to it through state computer systems. This has led to the State of ... continue reading


Computer giant Apple wants to revolutionize TV - but world hesitates Watch

Image of Apple CEO Tim Cook said TV was

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Computer revolutionaries Apple want to extend their hands in to the cable TV business - but many players remains hesitant. A set-top box on screens seems to have been met with a cool reception with many cable TV companies. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Why is Apple staying mum on mysterious van with strange apparatus? Watch

Image of Concord is the largest city in Contra Costa County, California, in the United States. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 122,067.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A mysterious vehicle spotted on the streets of Concord, California is drawing attention. It's a dark blue minivan with several cameras attached to its roof. Nobody in the Northern Californian city knows what it is doing there. The only thing anyone has been ... 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, Deuteronomy 26:16-19
16 'Yahweh your God commands you today to observe ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 5:43-48
43 'You have heard how it was said, You will love ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 28th, 2015 Image

St. Hilary, Pope
February 28: Pope from 461-468 and guardian of Church unity. 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