Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/6/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The implications of Kepler survey are very profound.

According to NASA scientists, 20 percent or more of all stars in the galaxy have Earth-like planets capable of sustaining life. The findings, announced this week, suggest that our galaxy could be teeming with life.

The Milky Way is probably teeming with planets capable of supporting life.

The Milky Way is probably teeming with planets capable of supporting life.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/6/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

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


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It is regarded by some as one of the greatest questions in science, "is there intelligent life, besides ours, out there in the universe?"

The general answer is yes, but for whatever reason it has not likely ever come to Earth, nor has there ever been any contact. This is the product of simple mathematical thinking, and is not based on any particularly scientific conclusions, other than the fact the universe is incredibly vast and we have not yet made contact.

Scientifically and strictly speaking, we're quite alone in the universe; absolutely no evidence yet exists to prove the existence of life beyond our planet.

However, astronomers believe that within coming decades they will be able to answer this question. The first phase of study required to answer this question has just been completed by the Kepler Space Telescope.

The Kepler mission has imaged over 150,000 stars in our galaxy. From that data, over 3,000 planets have been found. The telescope can detect the minute dimming of starlight as a planet passes in from of its parent star as seen from Earth. When those dips occur with predictable regularity, it can be concluded that a planet is present.

Other measurements, such as how much starlight is blocked and the tiny wobble of the star as the planets orbit, can reveal how many, how massive, and even where around the star the planet must be.

Around each star, there exists a band of space where liquid water can exist, with temperatures being neither too hot, nor too cold for the life-giving liquid. That area is called the "habitable" or "goldilocks" zone.

Of all the planets imaged by Kepler, 22 percent of them fall within their star's habitable zone.

When extrapolated to the billions of stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone, the result is that tens of billions of planets probably orbit their stars in the habitable zones.

This does not mean they have life. It only increases the odds of locating planets capable of supporting life. This has two implications.

The first is that if the human race manages to survive its technological infancy and progress to a point where we are somehow capable of traversing interstellar space, then the nearest habitable world may be as close as 12 light years away, making the journey to that planet more reasonable with fast spacecraft. Of course, this will not be a topic of relevant concern for possibly centuries.

The other implication is more immediate. By identifying close planets within habitable zones, we know where to focus our search for extraterrestrial life. Within the coming decades, we expect to have astronomical equipment capable of measuring the composition of the atmospheres of each planet.

Life can produce certain signature molecules, such as methane, which absorb light as it passes through a planet's atmosphere. From Earth, we expect to be able to sample that light and tell what chemicals are prevalent in the atmospheres of those distant planets.

This is the most likely way we will discover evidence of life beyond Earth, if it exists at all.

Other methods might include turning radio telescopes to see if we can detect radio emissions or other types of radiation coming from the planet. Our own planet has been broadcasting our existence since the invention of the wireless radio over a century ago. It is possible that an intelligent civilization less than a hundred light-years away from Earth is already listening to our broadcasts, and could be broadcasting themselves.

However, even if the universe were teeming with intelligent, mass-communicating life, there is no reason to believe we could easily listen in ourselves. Our technology is probably primitive by comparison, and we can no more listen in to their conversation than can a remote tribe of jungle people, communicating with drums, tune in to our own cellular communications. In fact, they might not even be listening for us.

And of course, they might not even be there at all.

So the question persists. It makes for fantastical sci-fi, and it sets a goal for astronomers, inherently curious, to reach.

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Technology

Obama on Mars? NASA scoffs at those who see everything from Obama to spacecrafts in Curiosity rover pictures Watch

Image of Secret hidden bunker on the surface of Mars? Or just another case of pareidolia?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Conspiracy theorists have pored over photos sent back from the Curiosity rover pictures from Mars to find all manner of fanciful things. Some have seen U.S. President Barack Obama, the face-hugger from "Alien," mysterious women, mummified iguana - NASA ... continue reading


HACK ATTACK: Islamic State Hacking Division claims Ghost Security is all talk Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The digital war between the Islamic State Hacking Division and Ghost Security has come to a head with the ISHD reporting to The Blaze that Ghost Security "have hacked nothing" and "are all talk." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After the claim that Ghost Security ... continue reading


SMARTPHONE BREAKTHROUGH: Hydrogen-powered battery powers iPhone for a week Watch

Image of Containing a rechargeable battery and its own-patented technology, the device recreates electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

British-based Intelligent Energy, thought to be working closely with Apple, have reported success in creating the world's first hydrogen-fueled battery. The battery, they say, will enable users to charge their iPhone for up to a week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Chicago Pastor creates mobile Bible app to personalize verses Watch

Image of Smartphone users can now personalize Bible verses through ToYou app.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christians are in for something new as a pastor from Chicago came up with an app that lets users personalize Bible verses according to their name and gender. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Pastor Gregory Ijiwola, who serves at The CityLight Church in ... continue reading


Single DNA molecule to store digital information for millions of year Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Modern technology has earned us numerous breakthroughs, including digital information systems and storage, making our day to day tasks easier. However, drives we use for information technology can only last from a couple of years to few decades, which is limiting the ... continue reading


7 Healthy Tech Habits to Teach Kids this Year Watch

Image of

By Stephanie Pacheco

The near-infinite web of information available online is a double-edged sword: it can be harnessed to help us learn and communicate, but it can swiftly degenerate into instant-gratification and isolation. Technology has branched out from computers to tablets and ... continue reading


They're watching you! Digital peepholes face a fine line between security and invasion of privacy Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Sharing your thoughts, activities and whereabouts has never been easier and faster with the internet and connected devices. More and more people are sharing more of their daily lives that it's compelling to say that to know everything is becoming common and normal. ... continue reading


Innovative space invention promises to reach space locations in record times Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A once rejected drive can now revolutionize the entire outer space research, as NASA and several others confirmed this program actually works. The invention was previously rejected by scientists after it defied the physics concept of the conservation of momentum, ... continue reading


Is your phone in danger? Threatening malicious text message can hack Android's inner system Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With just a simple text message, your phone and all its data may be compromised without you even knowing. The core of this nightmare is at the heart of the operating system itself - Stagefright, an Android code library. Users currently have nothing much to protect ... continue reading


Pope Francis uses iPad to become first person registered for 2016's World Youth Day Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On Sunday, Pope Francis successfully became the first person registered for the 2016 edition of the World Youth Day, using an iPad. Before registering, he addressed thousands at the St. Peter's Square in an appeal for the release of an Italian Jesuit priest kidnapped ... 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, First Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11
1 About times and dates, brothers, there is no need ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2015 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... 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