Saturday, December 29, 2012

Predicting Earth 2.0

Several planet-hunting astronomers are feeling their oats.  They are predicting the first truly Earth-like exoplanet will be found in 2013.

In not quite twenty years, about 800 exoplanets-- planets outside the Solar System-- have been discovered, and over two thousand more identified by the Kepler spacecraft await confirmation.  Some of those orbit in their star's habitable zone, where life as we know it is possible, and some others roughly the size of Earth have also been found.  These astronomers predict 2013 will see the discovery of a world that is both physically similar to Earth and within its star's habitable zone.

They also predict such a discovery will have a profound effect on human culture.  They predict it will spark a new commitment to move into space, and to send humanity's first interstellar probe.  Perhaps we will see.

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