Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

3/25/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

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.


By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Catholic Online (

3/25/2014 (1 year 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 October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Technology

UN delay in deadly robot ban could lead to extreme robot wars Watch

Image of


The United Nations has been warned over the delay in negotiations pertaining to the autonomous lethal weapons of the future. Speculation rose that this delay may lead to failure to stop deadly robot wars from taking place.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At ... continue reading

'Phubbing,' ignoring friends while talking on cell phones leads to strained relationships Watch

Image of Digital Trends defines phubbing as

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the digital age, the new mantra should be, "The most important in the world - is the one that I am with." "Phubbing," the rude practice of taking cell phone calls while ignoring the people near you is described as being an epidemic problem in the United ... continue reading

Police track criminals with planted GPS devices Watch

Image of


It has been months since police began tracking down a single man in a hoodie with a black ski mask caught holding up one gas station after another. It took authorities a bit of time before they solved a Long Island robbery spree, as the grainy surveillance footage was ... continue reading

Futurist predicts that robots will reside in human brains by 2030 Watch

Image of Futurist and lecturer Ray Kurzweil foresees the day when the human race will transform following  the implantation of nanobots into our brains, connecting us to the Internet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Futurist and lecturer Ray Kurzweil foresees the day when the human race will transform with the help of nanobots, which will be implanted into our brains to connect us to the Internet. Kurzweil welcomes the day, which he predicts will be in the year 2030. While he is ... continue reading

NASA enlists public help in solving the mystery of Ceres Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists from NASA are seeking answers for the mysteries of moon-like dwarf planet Ceres. On Wednesday, the agency announced they are accepting suggestions from the public that they report would be taken "very seriously." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After ... continue reading

Breakthrough for short-term memory loss: Brain implant can now encode human memories Watch

Image of Much, if not all human experience resides in the memory. Now, an implant that encodes human memory is giving new hope to Alzheimer's patients and wounded soldiers who have lost their short-term memories.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Much, if not all human experience resides in the memory. Now, an implant that encodes human memory is giving new hope to Alzheimer's patients and wounded soldiers who have lost their short-term memories. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Developed at the ... continue reading

Scammers take advantage of Facebook dislike button Watch

Image of


Online scams are still prevalent, especially with the steady growth of new users. Social media giant Facebook gets new users every single day. However, novice users can pose dangers to themselves and to their Facebook friends by calling for "dislike" button scams. ... continue reading

Breast cancer without chemotherapy? Watch

Image of Chemotherapy may no longer be needed in early-stage breast cancer patients (OneBode).

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A major study's results show promise for a gene-activity test that gauges early-stage breast cancer patients' risks. The test can tell who will benefit from chemotherapy treatment and who will not. Those who do not require chemotherapy are not negatively affected by ... continue reading

Good News, Bad News! California scientists discover water --on Mars Watch

Image of Jaded Californians are already having fun with the announcement.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The good news? Scientists in California have found water! The bad news? It's on Mars. Scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California have announced through NASA, the finding of recent water flows on Mars, demonstrating the planet still has liquid ... continue reading

Apple watch credited for saving teen's life Watch

Image of Paul Houle was saved by his Apple watch.


A Cape Cod, Massachusetts high school senior almost ran out of luck when he felt ill after a football practice last week. He experienced back and chest pains long after football practices ended and his heart rate seemed irregular. It was then the teen checked his pulse ... continue reading

All Technology News


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, Malachi 3:13-20
13 'You have said harsh things about me, says Yahweh. ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:5-13
5 He also said to them, 'Suppose one of you has a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 8th, 2015 Image

St. Pelagia
October 8: Pelagia, more often called Margaret, on account of the ... Read More