Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

3/25/2014 (10 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 (10 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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Technology

What you need to know about a coming WAR WITH MACHINES: Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking warn about artificial intelligence Watch

Image of Leaders in the scientific and technological field believe that developing artificial intelligence is akin to creating a ticking time bomb.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is becoming more apparent that leaders in the fields of technology and science do not trust possible artificial intelligence. No less than Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has come out warning the public about the potential dangers of AI, joining the ... continue reading


At 11.2 billion years old, oldest planetary system discovered by astronomers Watch

Image of The prehistoric star is considered cool and small when compared to our Sun. The figure only has about 75 percent of Earth's mass

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The oldest planetary system yet discovered consists of a prehistoric star that has five planets orbiting around it. Labeled Kepler 444, scientists say the system is estimated to be around 11.2 billion years of age. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading


Super thin, inexpensive solar panels may become Godsend to India and Africa Watch

Image of A new generation of solar panels made from a mineral called perovskite has the potential to convert solar energy into household electricity more cheaply than ever before.

By Magdalena Mis, Thomson Reuters Foundation

A new generation of solar panels made from a mineral called perovskite has the potential to convert solar energy into household electricity more cheaply than ever before, according to a study from Britain's Exeter University. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) ... continue reading


This San Francisco based company's one invention will REVOLUTIONIZE the developing world! Watch

Image of Much of the developing world relies on cheap, inefficient and dangerous scooters, as a main form of transportation.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cars are ubiquitous in the Western world, especially in the United States. However, many developing parts of the world lack the infrastructure to support automobile usage on a large scale, and poorer families lack the financial means to purchase a car or gasoline ... continue reading


'Big Brother' is watching you on your iPhone Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on some dubious, privacy robbing practices of the United States government, now thinks that Apple's iPhone has "special software." This gadget, he says, lets authorities remotely gather information ... continue reading


Doomsday is approaching! The symbolic Doomsday Clock moves closer to the fatal end Watch

Image of This is the closest the world has been to Doomsday since 1953.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Doomsday is the closest it's been since 1953, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock." The clock now stands at three minutes to midnight. Midnight represents the end of the world. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Doomsday Clock, created ... continue reading


Search giant, Google, has daring plans to infiltrate the competitive wireless cellphone service market Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The wireless phone game may soon be changing up. Currently there are four major names competing for customers, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. However, Google reportedly has plans to enter the business of cellular service. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It was ... continue reading


High-tech drug smuggling: Drone found bearing meth near San Ysidro Port of Entry Watch

Image of Plastic webbing and strips of black tape was used to secure the drug packages to the drone, police said. The aircraft itself had six propellers and a lithium battery.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Drug smuggling has entered the high-tech age. A drone carrying methamphetamine, a stimulant that goes under the street names of "crank" and "Tina," crashed in Mexico near the San Ysidro Port of Entry this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The unmanned ... continue reading


California-based rocket company gets big bucks influx from Google, Fidelity Watch

Image of SpaceX leader Elon Musk says that the revenue generated by the venture could go toward building a city on Mars. This, he says, would further his long-held goal of turning humanity into a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

California-based rocket company SpaceX has received a $1 billion investment from Google and Fidelity. The sudden influx of cash now brings the company's worth to more than $10 billion. SpaceX intends to construct a globe-spanning satellite constellation. LOS ... continue reading


Is it world domination? No, it's just Netflix Watch

Image of Netflix, the Internet streaming giant, has posted higher than expected growth and revenue for 2014.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Online streaming giant Netflix has finished 2014 with 57.4 million subscribers, up more than four million from their third quarter figures; making this their largest growth of subscribers all year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Additionally, the company's ... 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, Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
1 Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope ... Read More

Psalm, Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
69 and he has established for us a saving power in ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:35-41
35 With the coming of evening that same day, he said ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 31st, 2015 Image

St. John Bosco
January 31: What do dreams have to with prayer? Aren't they just random ... 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