Posted in: Space

No Alien Life Yet But Many More Earthlike Planets Found

alien life is rare although earthlike planets are common

Alien life may or may not exist, but we know now that there are far more earthlike planets out there than we previously imagined. Ravi Kopparapu, a researcher from Penn State who will be publishing his findings in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters, has recalculated the chances of finding earth-sized planets in our galaxy and discovered that they’re about twice as common as we thought.

While previous estimates said that the nearest possible earth was about 14 light years away, Kopparapu’s estimate placed the nearest habitable planet at about seven light years out and maybe even as close as 6.5 light years. “This is a good sign for detecting extraterrestrial life,” he told New Scientist.

The recent discovery of Kepler 37b, the world’s smallest planet outside our solar system, also offered new hope that there are plenty of smaller planets out there available for the development of life in our galaxy.

But is it really such a good sign?

If there are so many earthlike planets, and, if they are all teeming with life, then where the heck are they? The so-called Fermi Paradox was first posed in the twentieth century by Enrico Fermi, an Italian physicist known for his work on the first nuclear reactor. He ran some back-of-the-envelope calculations and suggested that, in a universe billions of years old, even if they could never travel anywhere near the speed of light, any aliens that developed before humans did would have long ago had the time to seed every possible habitable planet.

And, in fact, Charles Cockell, Director of the UK Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh, is planning to give an address this week to the UK’s prestigious Royal Society that makes the same argument. According to the Society, 800 planets outside of our solar system have already been found, and scientists need to set an agenda about how they will deal with the discovery of alien life.

Professor Cockell will argue that vacant habitats on earth almost never stay vacant for long. Life moves in quickly to exploit an empty space. “It is dangerous to assume life is common across the universe – it encourages people to think that not finding signs of life is a ‘failure’ when in fact it would tell us a lot about the origins of life,” he has said.

It’s a little frustrating, isn’t it? Here it is, the 21st century, and we still don’t have our jetpacks or our alien life.

[Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)]

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2 Responses to “No Alien Life Yet But Many More Earthlike Planets Found”

  1. Babu G. Ranganathan

    HAVING THE RAW MATERIALS AND RIGHT CONDITIONS TO SUSTAIN LIFE doesn't mean that life can originate by chance or from non-living matter.

    Proteins can't come into existence unless there's life first! Miller, in his famous experiment in 1953, showed that individual amino acids (the building blocks of life) could come into existence by chance. But, it's not enough just to have amino acids. The various amino acids that make-up life must link together in a precise sequence, just like the letters in a sentence, to form functioning protein molecules. If they're not in the right sequence the protein molecules won't work. It has never been shown that various amino acids can bind together into a sequence by chance to form protein molecules. Even the simplest cell is made up of many millions of various protein molecules.

    Also, what many don't realize is that Miller had a laboratory apparatus that shielded and protected the individual amino acids the moment they were formed, otherwise the amino acids would have quickly disintegrated and been destroyed in the mix of random energy and forces involved in Miller's experiment.

    There is no innate chemical tendency for the various amino acids to bond with one another in a sequence. Any one amino acid can just as easily bond with any other. The only reason at all for why the various amino acids bond with one another in a precise sequence in the cells of our bodies is because they're directed to do so by an already existing sequence of molecules found in our genetic code.

    A partially-evolved cell (an oxymoron) can't wait million of years for chance to make it complete and then become living!

    Please read my popular Internet articles listed below:

    ANY LIFE ON MARS CAME FROM EARTH, SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF LIFE, NATURAL LIMITS OF EVOLUTION, HOW FORENSIC SCIENCE REFUTES ATHEISM, WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS (2nd Edition), NO HALF-EVOLVED DINOSAURS, DOES GOD PARTICLE EXPLAIN UNIVERSE'S ORIGIN?

    Visit my newest Internet site: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION.

    Sincerely,
    Babu G. Ranganathan*
    (B.A. theology/biology)

    Author of popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED FROM GREEK ROOTS.

    * I have had the privilege of being recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis "Who's Who In The East" for my writings on religion and science, and I have given successful lectures (with question and answer time afterwards) defending creation from science before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges and universities.