January 11th, 2012
01:01 PM ET

A planet for every star

Researchers have concluded that each star in the Milky Way galaxy likely has at least one planet orbiting it, meaning that our galaxy has at least 100 billion planets to its name.

Given that it's news every time Kepler discovers a new exoplanet (a planet orbiting a star other than our sun), how did astronomers come to this conclusion?

Using a technique called microlensing, and statistical analysis applied to six years' worth of observations from the PLANET (Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork), MOA (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics) and OGLE (Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment) surveys, researchers were able to determine that statistically speaking, every star in the Milky Way should have at least one orbiting planet, if not more. Moreover, these planets are likelier to have low masses, similar to Earth, than Jupiter-like masses.

"We used to think that the Earth might be unique in our galaxy. But now it seems that there are literally billions of planets with masses similar to Earth orbiting stars in the Milky Way," says Daniel Kubas, co-author of a paper on the subject released in the journal Nature, in a statement.

The microlensing technique uses the motion of stars and their gravity: when one star moves in front of another, it acts like a lens, magnifying the light from the background star. If there's a planet in orbit around the foreground star, it can further magnify the light. It's that extra boost that reveals the planet itself, which would otherwise be too faint to see through a telescope.

Microlensing also reveals the mass of the planet, but doesn't really indicate what the world is composed of.

These findings, reported by an international team of astronomers, are supported by data from two other planet-finding techniques, that is, detection of a planet's gravitational pull, or the dimming of a star as a planet passes in front of it. Taken together, the three techniques indicate that planets are pretty common in the Milky Way, and that there are more small planets than massive ones.

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Filed under: In Space • Kepler • News
soundoff (321 Responses)
  1. Robyn

    Cool. One more possible negative factor in the Drake Equation appears to bite the dust.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  2. Conrad

    Why does a great article on science inevitably turn into a religious discussion? Cheez.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • RobHob

      ... partly because some people think that the existence or the possibility of existence of extraterrestial life disproves religion, etc. Others feel they have to argue against the point.

      January 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  3. Xavier

    This is nothing new. Dr. Rudy Schild of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astro Physics discovered this decades ago. He also discovered that for every planet that obits a sun there are 1 million rogue planets out there, which makes up all the "dark matter" people talk about.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • RobHob

      Not quite true. Yes there are a LOT of "rogue" planets out there perhaps more than there are planets in what we understand as "classical" planetary systems... or perhaps a little fewer... or a little more. We do not know for sure. IT IS NOT a fact or even a theory that there are as many as 1 million rogue planets for every planet orbiting a star. IT IS NOT a fact that rogue planets account for the dark matter. Plus "decades" ago we did not have proof planets existed outside of our own Solar system... and yes Star Trek for example assumed decades ago there was a LOT of planets out there, but that is not proof :) Plus Star Trek and the like UNDERESTIMATED just how many planets there are out there. As one final bit on this I will add that a theory indicates that the Oort cloud around our Sun (and probably similarly around other stars) may contain up to hundreds of planets that got thrown out there during the formation of the system but are still gravitationally bound to the Sun in very LARGE orbits up to around 1 light year in radius... if this ever turns out to be true, it will mean you can multiple even the high estimates of planets around stars by a factor of around 100!

      January 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  4. John Shepard

    Mass Effect 3

    January 13, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  5. Rob

    It doesn't matter how much we find in space when we can't even live and learn to be happy in the space we already have. Religiously we pray to God, while God probably watches and prays for us to not only love him, but all his children. God teaches us, and perhaps he hopes we can teach him we can live together.

    January 11, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Yoshi

      Why do you have to bring your god into everything. This is a discussion on scientific discussion; no reason to bring in your mythos up. Why not just randomly start talking about your cat? Just as relative to the article at hand.

      January 12, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • Gumby

      Oh, enough with the jeebus babbling already. I am so sick of you dazed rambling godbots.

      January 12, 2012 at 6:47 am |
  6. waka

    Btw, the same religion that tells us the world is 5772 years old also tolds us that there are many many worlds.that religion published its findings about 2500 years before cnn's scientists published theirs.

    January 11, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • lol

      that same religion said the earth was flat...

      January 19, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
      • Cnet

        Religion is not a valid debunk. Religion is man made and yes "man" said the earth was flat just like it assumes we are here by chance. Both side walking the tight line of their self proclaimed faith until something comes along to shift question their thinking. The truth as previously indicated is that the bible, unlike mans intpretation showed the earth to be round and the universe vast and expanding with many planets. Science only proves the discovery of something already created, but refuses to except that the more we discover, especially planets with intelligence only proves intelligent design. The probability of chance goes down with each scientific discovery. One earth has a delusional probability of chance...2 or more just cries out intelligence. From a perspective of scientific discoveries to date, you could attributte them to chance, with narrow scope, but a broader scope shows a larger perspective and how all the pieces fit together intelligent. Go ahead and take your chances on your "scientific religion" but remember science never sought out to disprove God. Man did that. In comparison. The bible did set out to discredit science, but revealed much of what we know today from scientist that were able to look at it objectively with an open mind.

        April 8, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  7. RobHob

    Ok. For the religious here, make yourself useful and follow God's commands... there is a LOT of work to do to fill ALL the empty spaces. I've picked some quotes from the Bible and changed earth to earths. Now just get the Pope to decalre that colonising space is a religious duty and I will be fine with the arrnagement. Here:

    Let the earths sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earths. Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earths across the expanse of the heavens. Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earths. Let the earths bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earths according to their kinds. Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earths.

    January 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  8. Jay

    Read Zechariah Sitchin – The 12th Planet

    January 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  9. Sazan kudos

    I mght be a little late to the party , but I thought there were about 400 billion STARS in the MiIlky Way. If each star had at least one planet then there must be...oh, ..I was never good at math. Forget about it!

    January 11, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • RobHob

      YES. The exact number of stars in the Milky Way is still being debated. Plus there are planets called "free-floating", gravitationally thrown out of their orbits. I estimated the total number of planets in the Milky Way at up to 6 trillion. I think the writer of this articles used and older figure for the number of stars in the Milky Way, for a while it used to be said that out galaxy had 100 billion stars. PLUS the journal paper in question talks about the number of planets in the habitable zone with roughly the mass of Earth... I think an approximate interpretation of the results is that on average every star has 1 planet in the habitable zone with roughly the correct mass. The actual number of all planets will be far higher. Always keeping in mind that even if a planet is in a habitable zone, it may not be habitable, Venus is not habitable, Mars is not habitable, some planets may be too large or too small, etc. However, with effort, Mars could be terraformed and so could probably be Venus. Furthermore none of this counts the number of moons around planets, some of which may be livable on, or colonisable asteroids, and so on, etc... None of this is know for clearly, but I think, adding in the moons, the number of potentially habitable (or terraformable) planets and moons in the MIlky Way is in the many 100s of billions AT LEAST.

      January 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
      • Pat

        Even terraformed, Mars has a mean surface temp of -63 C and that's with a CO2 laden atmosphere to trap the Sun's radiation. Venus has a mean surface temp of 460 C... not so hospitable.

        January 12, 2012 at 8:50 am |
      • RobHob

        ... this is the whole point about terraforming. Change the temperatures and other things to make the planets livable. It is an open discussion on what is the best way to proceed to achieve these things... or even how feasible they are.

        January 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
      • aj

        You keep saying " I think" in your assumptions. You so called scientists always say we hypothesise = (a guess)
        No different than anyone talking about God. Your opinion against theirs.

        Only difference is when you die are you prepared for whats next???

        January 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
      • father.m0ose@gmail.com

        There is a HUGE difference between the two. Scientists who create hypotheses then set out to find evidence. If they find contradictory evidence, they re-evaluate their hypothesis. They don't blindly follow their hypotheses, and then create an elaborate ,ridiculous dogma surrounding them and fantasize about an "all loving" god who is going to send everyone who disagrees with them to a fiery pit for eternity.

        January 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  10. Chris

    I think that science and religion can coexistence. I love hearing about this stuff. Exciting to hear about all the possiblities in the scientific community now and days. I consider myself religious. Understanding each side's (religious and scientific) purpose helps. Both are after the truth (Truth) of our existence. One believes that truth is arleady written, and the other is continously rediscovering themselves in the world. It's that idea of what is true that often feels threatening in religion and understandably so because religious folks like me always have to examine scientific facts and try to reconcile it with religious belief and truth. Not easy to do, but I don't believe science is trying to disprove my beliefs intentionly, it just the way the world is. LOL. That does not make people small-minded. Other people just don't care about science. To each their own. I find the complexity of the universe that science discovers only strengthen ones case for intelligent design!

    January 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • father.m0ose@gmail.com

      Of course science and religion can coexist. The problem arises when science finds evidence that clearly conflicts with arbitrary religious beliefs, and those that hold them are too stubborn to question them. Science isn't out to "disprove" religion. It just exists to try and explain the universe as we can observe it. Religion shouldn't be used for that purpose. The truth that religion should be concerned with is fundamentally different. If someone ignores scientific evidence based solely on their religion, then they might as well go back too the model of a flat earth at the center of universe.

      January 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • stan miller

      SCIENCE AND RELIGION CANNOT COEXIST

      January 12, 2012 at 1:48 am |
  11. darketernal

    This shows the koran and all other religions are non-sense.

    January 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • RobHob

      It shows NO such thing. This is not a proof of religion. If you want to disprove God, you will have to do it in a different way... the number of planets in the Milky Way has NOTHING to do with your argument.

      January 11, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
      • Epsilon

        It is not about disproving the existence God but PROVING it. Lots of other worlds out there does however speak against the notion of humans beeing created in Gods image and all, as mentioned in some religions, as there probably are lots of other beeings out there, completely different from us. But you are right that it doesnt speak against the existence of a God in general. but (again) it doesnt have to, as nothing speak for such a beeings existence.

        January 11, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
      • wmurderface

        We don't need to disprove "god" you need prove "god" extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof.

        January 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
      • RobHob

        Please LEAVE an astronomy and scientific discussion alone. Go to a board on religion. I need to prove nothing... because I believe God does not need proving, it is about your personal choice to have a religion or not. It's not about proof. As I wrote elswhere under this article, this result NEITHER proves nor disproves anything about God. LOTS of planets existing does not disprove anything about any of the religions I am familiar with.

        January 11, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Fernando

      I beg your pardon? My faith has always believed that God created worlds without number. How many of these are inhabited? Who knows. Anyway, I think it is fascinating that scientists continue to probe the ends of the galaxy and universe to learn more about this world we live in.

      January 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
      • Laura

        I agree Fernando. However, there are those people who always say "it does not prove god exists"!
        "None are so blind as those who WILL NOT SEE".

        January 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
      • B

        Laura, you are free to believe what you want. But please explain how anything proves god exists. The universe's existence does not prove that god exists anymore than god existence proves that there is an even mightier being that created said god. It is circular logic.

        Again, feel free to have your FAITH (ie, belief WITHOUT the need for evidence), but don't confuse that with proof. It is intellectually dishonest.

        January 11, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  12. David

    Now James, your getting a little tense.

    January 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  13. RobHob

    I think the number of planets quoted in this article is much lower than is likely to be true. I'd call 100 billion planets the LOWER BOUND for the likely number of planets in the Milky Way. To begin with due to the realisation that the Milky Way has more lower mass stars than previously thought, there may be as many as 400 billion stars in the Milky Way. It is more likely that each star has more than one planet (our Sun has close to 10), so let's pick 5 planets on average per star. This means there would be 2 trillion planets around stars in the Milky Way... FURTHER considering that there is a LARGE number of free-floating planets in the Milky Way (planets thrown our of solar system and floating between the stars), and some have said that this number may be twice the number of stars in solar system... I'd say there may be AS MANY as 6 TRILLION planets in the Milky Way (this is 6000 billion)... and possibly even more. THUS the higher bound for the number of planets in the Milky Way is around 6 trillion. To put it into perspective, that for every person on Earth has about 850 planets as their fair share... and this is just in this Galaxy. In short, SPACE is HUGE and we should get out there, spread and colonise.

    January 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  14. Qurankarim

    January 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • wmurderface

      what a load of crap. Stop abusing science to say that your book of fairytales is right

      January 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  15. stan m. from san francisco

    when does this guy start asking for donations like all the other tv evangelists? does he keep looking at the screen for a script? or is he reading wikapedia? when the translator translated this version of the quoran he made it with more recent associative meanings. you know, true communism is religion. give all to the state(allah, church,mao). try thinking on your own people. also, church is a great place to meet chicks!!! get forgiven, get laid, get to work on monday.

    January 11, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  16. Doctor X

    ET phone home!

    January 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  17. recept

    8 – Scientific Facts in the Quran (Part 1) – The Proof That Islam Is The Truth – Abdur-Raheem Green

    January 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Vic of New York

      Yeah, Allah is a good buddy of mine too: Allah Babba and the fourty thieves! Watch out you religious zelots... between Jesus Christ, Allah, Jehova, and all the rest of the lot – there's going to be a traffic jam up in the sky when these guys all come down to get you!

      January 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • really?

      How can anyone watch that video and think there is anything of substance there? Absolute hogwash.

      January 11, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
      • really??

        How can anyone read the bible and think there is anything of substance there? Absolute hogwash.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  18. recept

    Allah is the greatest

    January 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Dan, TX

      That's what Jesus says.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Stefan

      yawn

      January 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  19. Kenny

    Religous freaks: all the 100 billion stars(suns) in our galaxy and so far found 100 billion planets in our own galaxy. There are hundreds of billions of galaxies. That means in the universe there is possibly 100,000,000,000 times 100,000,000,000 planets at least in the universe. Man, we must be really special. Why did "God" put wind, clouds, rain on other planets? Answer: Because he knew we would be there? or he allows other life to live without human interference?

    January 11, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • John

      First off, you are spouting a bunch of stuff which you have no clue of. Secondly, we have no proof or clue that any other planet than ours has these conditions. The math that says there ARE is the same math that says hundreds of millions of YOU also exist in hundreds of other dimensions. Which im sure you think is hokey. Be a real scientist and just admit like they do that we know nothing about anything. Jeesh

      January 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        Other planets vs other dimensions. Not anywhere near the same. Other planets: astrophysics. Other dimensions: theoretical particle physics. Your analogy is a joke and only shows how YOU know nothing about anything.

        January 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • John

        Thanks for proving my point.. Wow

        January 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
      • TIMMY

        just stop talking john before you hurt yourself.

        January 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • RobHob

      You fail to realise that IF the chance of life arising is MUCH LESS than your "100,000,000,000 times 100,000,000,000", it means we may well be unique in the entire Universe. It is possible the chance for life is so small... we do not know yet. It is also possible that life exists somewhere else, but so far we will NEVER know about it. There are MANY possibilities here that still remain to be proven... just saying there is a LARGE number of planets out there, proves nothing by itself. BTW, the existence of ETs neither disproves or proves God or religion.

      January 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  20. Chris

    "This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed"? Instead they say, "No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way."

    January 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  21. Bill

    All those planets and,with the possible exception of Mars, we'll never be able to visit any of them.

    January 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Dan, TX

      Probably true. Although, you might imagine a star passing close enough to us that it is only a few light-years away and we could send people on a one-way trip if we can figure out how to live on a spacecraft for a few thousand years.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • John

      Interstellar travel by convential means will never work. Uless we warp space its not even worth thinking about. Rockets wont work. Thats like walking 5 feet, moving half the distance of the previous step, caught in an infinite slow movement that never ends. Never happen

      January 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • RobHob

      Perhaps we will. All that is required is to build a self sustaining colony on a large enough asteroid and nudge it towards a target star... then it does not matter if it takes hundreds of thousands of years to get there.

      January 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  22. james

    There is no proof that the universe scientists see today actually exist anymore except our solar system. The light we observe is emitted billions of years ago.

    January 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Kishore

      Not all stars are billions of light years away from us.

      The nearest star, alpha centauri, is 4 light years away. So the light emitted by it 4 years back reaches us today. Considering, we have been observing stars since hundreds of years, we could certainly say that at least some of them exist right now, as we speak.

      But otherwise, what you said is mostly true. I wonder if they calculate the burn rates for the stars which emitted light billions of years ago and consider them NOT being there now.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  23. Adam

    "'Cuz there's bugger all down here on Earth."

    January 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  24. Robert

    Just irresponsible science. There is no way to know this...it is rampant speculation at best.

    I guess some scientists believe they can just get up on a platform and make grand pronouncements with little or any actual data and evidence. Maybe if they wear a white lab coat people will take them more seriously. For the rest if us we know a bad argument when we see it. Maybe one day we'll get these kinds of ridiculous assumptions out of our press.

    January 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Dan, TX

      Here, read this, then get back to us: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v481/n7380/full/nature10684.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20120112

      January 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
      • Dan, TX

        Basically they calculate an average of 16 planets for every 10 stars. (so, 1.6 planets/star on average but they were uncertain because they might have counted some that weren't really planets or not counted some that they should have, they think it could be as low as 0.8 planets/star or as high 2.3 planets/star). More data and more analysis will help pin this down further. The method was to look at the effect of the planet's gravity on bending of light coming from the star.

        January 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Mike

      You obviously have no grasp of astronomy, or statistical inference.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • John

      Most of science is rampant speculation. We dont really know anything about the universe, or whats out there. Dark matter is over 90 percent and we dont have the slightest clue what it is.. But somehow theres millions of humans on earth, little tiny earth, that are certain god isnt real. That like saying we know what dark matter is.. Were all naive

      January 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
      • Casey Burns

        No, actually most science isn't rampant speculation. Its establishing facts. Some of these facts have resulted in amazing things such as close up pictures of the solar system's moons and planets, Velcro, the personal computer and Penicillin. Sometimes this process uses clever means that are beyond the understanding of many people. Just because you can't understand it doesn't mean that it is rampant speculation.

        January 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • John

        Casey. You must have thought i said ALL of science is speculation. I did not. But thanks for jumping to conclusions and making it fact. Like most people like you tend to do. The majority of sciences deeper explorations are tied to speculation. Just because you dont comphend the sheer magnitude of the scope of what science entails, dont come down on me. Bye

        January 11, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Kevin Roberts

      By any chance are you a creationist?

      January 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Vic of New York

      Right.... And Jesus Christ is personally going to come down to Earth and give you a lift the the Pearly Gates, where an old man with a grey beard is going to be waiting for you.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Alex

      What about irresponsible humans?

      Learn about statistics and then call science "irresponsible" for using it. If this is true, and we add to the equation the billions or trillions of Galaxies in our universe, the chances for extraterrestrial life is even more plausible. Who really cares about numbers, let's say we never knew the exact number; we only need to realize that this enormous and vast Universe has (by logic) other life forms that may or may not look like us, and that may or may not be thinking the same thing we are thinking.

      There's something called Intuition that is even more valid than science and anything there is, and I trust it because I'm part of the Universe, and I mean literally a part / a piece of it. We are stardust, and my roots (by intuition) tell me that there are things in our universe just as alive as we are. Just open up your mind and instincts, free yourself from imaginary fairy tales, and enjoy your universal incarnation as a human. Science is not irresponsible, it is just misunderstood by people of inferior intellect, passion, and intuition.

      We know what's a stupid comment when we see it, and maybe one day we'll keep these inept, and ridiculously close-minded and stupid people out of our world.

      January 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  25. Grim Visage

    Of course there is life out there in many forms, spacefaring species are probably much harder to come by, plus even if they are spacefaring doesn't mean they can go very far, just like us. Only religions want you to believe their gods created humans and that's it, small minded people who are afraid of what it would mean to their silly faith. Help me super-being overlord, morons.

    January 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Little Green Man

      Thanks for believing in me!

      January 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • God

      I created humans AND all the other extraterrestrials. Duh.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • John

      So you know for a fact that god DOESNT exist and that life elsewhere DEFINITELY exists. Weird.. All knowing one..

      January 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
      • Mike

        Agnostics don't bother me ... but I drives me nuts that atheists don't see that they have a belief system (in the non-existence of God), that their beliefs are based on assumptions just like religions are, and some of their zealotry and hatred rivals any individual religious person's.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
      • John

        Mike. Agnostics are so mellow cuz they couldnt give a crap. Its like me talking about ballet. I could care less and i dont waste a second with it. But athiests are indeed a very very religious bunch, and the fact that they hate religion makes for a very serious condition. Fighting christians over nativity scenes and trying to ban street names with "saint" in them is enough for me.

        January 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
      • Dan, TX

        I don't believe in God, but I have no interest in trying to convince someone they shouldn't believe in God. If you feel God exists that is great for you and I am so happy that the feeling you get makes your life so wonderful. But please, don't kill me because I don't believe in God. In fact, I would prefer that you treat me with respect as an equal. I don't like all the atheists being nasty to believers and vice versa, it doesn't need to be that way. I don't need to be saved, but I'm glad that you are.

        January 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Fox Mulder

      Makes sense to me!

      January 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • steve

      Scientist does not equal Atheist. Its silly to rule anything out.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
      • John

        ..yet every athiest thinks theyre a scientist. Ha ha. Most religiously reject anything which cannot be proven. Which is scientifically unsound principal to find truth of things.

        January 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • Dan, TX

        That makes no sense. If scientists rejected things that weren't proven, there wouldn't be any scientists.

        January 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • 42

      If a camel poops in the dead sea, flies would land on it and a plethora of bacteria would grow on it and break it down (probably, being a tad facetious). I don't think you can dig up a moist shovel full of dirt on the Earth and NOT find some sort of life or remnants of it. There are like 4 million 'known' species of life on earth and that's just the stuff we're aware of on land, air, and the first few meters of ocean (not to mention the stuff that lives on 700 degree thermal vents 4-5 miles deep). Earth has survived numerous extinction events over the past millions and possibly billions of years. Point is, seems to me that 'life' or a reasonable facsimile of it is pretty much inevitable... anywhere. To think it doesn't defies logic. Even if only 1% of those planets out there contains life, you're still talking about BILLIONS of planets.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  26. Itsmeagain

    All those planets and none of them wants to be friends with us. Wonder why?

    January 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Ken Cooper

      LOL – because they are SMART. I'm sure if they came down here for one day, they'd take off and never return!!

      January 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
      • Itsmeagain

        That's what I think. It's clear , the universe thinks we suck

        January 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  27. L.V.

    I want our scientists to hurry up and build spaceships we can explore the universe with (like Star Trek and Aliens, sans the scary aliens)! They're taking too long!

    January 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Dan, TX

      Who would want to be a scientist? They are terrorism targets. Nothing better to send a message then murdering a scientist.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Elliot

      I agree! Talk to your representatives in Congress. They're the ones (unfortunately) who set NASA's budget and – along with the President – it's direction. Interstellar exploration isn't going to happen without significant investments and propulsion research which won't happen when NASA's budget is as small as it is. Also, fewer and fewer of the people that do that research will be American unless we fix our education system.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • aj

      But you realize for this to happen, we would have to wait for the scientists to evolve into an itelecual being and evolution of that could not happen because evolution does not exist.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  28. feare

    Doesn't really seem to be true... I would imagine very old, small stars that formed when there wasn't much in the universe besides hydrogen wouldn't have planets because heavier elements hadn't yet formed (the death of small stars are required for elements up to iron and the supernovas are required for heavier elements).

    January 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Mike

      The work of scientists who do this for a living doesn't seem to be true to you, anonymous internet poster, because of what you imagine should be true?

      January 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
      • ME

        Well, he is going off previous science that suggests the early universe was almost exclusively the elements "before" iron on the Periodic Table, he's half right. Early stars wouldn't have very "diverse" planets in terms of elemental makeup. They'd just have hydrogen and helium-heavy ones.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • ThePhoenix

      Its an AVERAGE. Not ever star has a planet. Some stars have more than one. Use your brain.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Dan

      That's not "logical".
      How many planets does our star have?
      We've already found many stars with multiple planets.
      This is why they come up with an average.
      Because a percentage of stars are known to have multiple planets while many have none at all.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • SB

      Not quite. It is actually the massive stars, those several times more massive than our own, that form and disperse the heavy elements. I'm not sure where you got the idea that it's "small stars" that do this, but that is not correct.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  29. Dert McGert

    wow, jeebus and gawd must have been busy to create all them there planets, and they're all only 6000 years old, crazy!

    January 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • John

      Hilarious. We only know of about 8 percent of the universe. Yet you know for a fact god doesnt exist. You must be a celestial wizard!

      January 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • aj

      its spelled Jesus and God. that would be like me calling you Girt McDirt. seriously, just because you have a different belief doesnt mean you have to mispell how a word has been spelled for two thousand years.
      So if it wasnt God who created the universes you are talking about then there must have been thousands if not millions or billions or trillions of explosions to create all this stuff in the universe. so next time your looking through your telescope and see a shooting star you should say hi to your long lost relative you evolved from.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  30. dexter

    could there be a chhink planer ??

    January 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  31. Joe Wilson

    they already discovered starbucks on a few dozen of those planets

    January 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  32. Jerome

    "We used to think that the Earth might be unique in our galaxy. But now it seems that there are literally billions of planets with masses similar to Earth orbiting stars in the Milky Way," says Daniel Kubas, co-author of a paper on the subject released in the journal Nature, in a statement.
    _____

    I never thought that. Any fool would know that the Universe has trillions of planets. To think otherwise simply shows your lack of knowledge. I don't need a scientist to tell me what I already knew. All one had to do was look into the sky at night.

    January 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • God

      ... aren't you special !

      January 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • D

      Jerome,

      It's one thing to assume and another to know..... by looking up as you suggest...one will not be able to see a single planet! You can only see starts....but definately not planets. What the study is suggesting....and I'm familiear with it...(I'm not sure if you had a chance to read it)...by precise obesravations the author is actually proving what previously nobody could....that is: every star has planets orbiting around it.....(this was an unknown fact prior to this study!)... So...please refrain from assumptions.... and do you homework before you comment.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
      • ThePhoenix

        venus, mars and jupiter are usually visible. They are planets.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
      • Jerome

        Like I said only a fool would not know. I mean to think that earth is the only planet...come on...your comments defy reason.

        It's like thinking there might be a god behind all this...duh!!!

        January 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  33. Jon

    Hrm. Yet I thought we were pretty sure Alpha Centauri doesn't have any planets, right?

    January 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • D

      AC may be an exception due to being a binary star system

      January 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
      • ThePhoenix

        It isnt. In fact most star systems are binary systems. Even tattoine had 2 suns!

        January 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Mike

      No, there have been a lot of theories about Centauri, but never has "No Planet" been an established fact or even necessarily what a majority of astronomers feel like nowaday.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • intothemoonbeam

      There is ongoing research that's searching for planets around Alpha Centauri. Many simulations have shown that Earth sized planets should be orbiting around one of Alpha Centauri's stars, however none have been discovered yet, I think we'll know the answer within a few years. If there are planets around Alpha Centauri it's possible they could be bone dry because of the absence of an oort cloud in the system.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  34. AgentK

    If this is true then how could there not be life outside of Earth somewhere in the universe? Hell we find life at the bottom of the ocean, or near steam vents underwater, I think the possibility of life elsewhere is definitely plausible. It's always been fascinating to me though. The way Europeans felt about discovering a strange new world, not knowing anything about this place is the same way it might be like if we discover a whole new planet full of life.

    January 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Dr. Dr.

      The problem would be as Dr Halkings mentioned, the far away life may want you as food...!!

      January 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • intothemoonbeam

      You mention finding life at steam vents in the bottom of ocean, if NASA ever gets funding for missions to Europa or Enceladus (which is probably a good 15-20 years away) then I believe there is a good possibility we'll find other life in our own Solar System in the oceans of these moons.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  35. Rubyleaf

    As I looked up at the night sky I thought about the hundreds of billions of galaxies each containing hundreds of billions of stars. In wonder I pondered the fact the each star had a least 1 planet. In the throes of my musing God appeared to me.
    "Do you hear the music of the my spheres" he asked "The pure joy of pondering all that I've done"
    "Yes" I replied "and it sounds familiar"
    "Well it should Its mostly Lady Gaga with some Britney mixed in to break things up" God said "I was on techno jag for awhile but wanted something with a more coherent vocal you could dance to"
    Astound I asked if there was any hope for us on earth.
    "Not really" he replied "Not since you canceled Soul Train anyway"

    January 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  36. jkINC

    Remember, all celestial bodies including these planets are moving away from the Earth. Can you blame them?

    January 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • TheThinker

      Oh my, quoting Alfred E. Newman are we? ;)

      January 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
      • jkINC

        Is he running for President this year?

        January 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
      • Frank

        Hello Newman

        January 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  37. Spock

    So we have a "probing" survey??? I thought that was just for aliens.

    January 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  38. Mike

    The Universe is very likely teeming with life. And, there is an uncanny commonsense in the way it is set up. Each solar system is significantly far enough away from the other to the extent that it is highly unlikely any civilization will ever interfere with the other, unless they reach a considerably high degree of advancement and cooperation, borne through the elimination of war, greed and corruption. Seems like the human race won't be visitng anybody anytime soon!

    January 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Chonburi

      That's a good thought about how our universe is setup. Once we learn to get along and work together, only then we'll earn the right to move about the universe.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • addison

      Trying to ignore just how generally stupid your post is Mike, but I will remind you that greed and war is what motivated man to expand over the earth. You know those spanish gallions filled with gold.. did not come in peace.. Exploration of the universe will result from the same basic human behaviors that caused us to explore our world.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Peace Sells, but whose buying?

      The elimination of war being the path to advancement is a nice thought... but it does seem like a "star trek" like assumptions. Who says that if Alexander's descendants had taken over the world completely that someday they would not move out into the Stars in search of slaves?
      Don’t me wrong, I’m all on board with the elimination of war being the nicer path. But I don’t see any evidence that suggests that peaceful societies advance faster… or much at all. I see a lot of evidence that war stimulates scientific progress though…

      January 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • wmurderface

      war drives devolopement far faster then peace does. As cold as it was the cold war pushed us to get to the moon first. That came from the V2 rocket a tool of war. So the gears of war drive inovation because of the need for it. 1903 first fixed wing flight 11 yrs later air combat. Peace means having a bigger stick then the other guy.

      January 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  39. Kris

    Which one is Jesus from?

    January 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Spock

      3rd planet orbiting Mimosa in the constellation Crux.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • monopoly man

      2nd star from the right. neverland

      January 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • lol

      lol

      January 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  40. sadgator

    Out of 100 billion planets, at least we have Tim Tebow on Earth!

    January 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • dj

      Who is Tim Teabow?

      January 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
      • dj

        Oops, I meant Tebow. Anyway who is he?

        January 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
      • HomeyDontPlayDat

        Is your google broken again?

        January 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • solex

      Quite probably the dumbest post in the history of blogging

      January 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
      • ClearAndPresentThinking

        Not nice to discus the National Felons League on a thread about real events.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
      • Frank

        That's a good one

        January 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
      • Troy

        Posting to a forum isn't blogging.

        January 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  41. AlanW

    Don't forget that there's no alien life whatsoever, though. We humans are the sole legitimate claimants to God's grace. He created all that vastness of the universe to test our faith. Shh, shh, nothing to see here.

    Sense the sarcasm here, Jesus Cult freaks.

    January 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Chonburi

      Lmao AlanW :).

      January 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
      • dexter

        you dirty little chinkkk

        January 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • MT

      You must dream of an alien probe, then. Lol

      January 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  42. DoTheyKnow?

    I wonder if there's a Tim Tebow for every planet, too...

    January 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  43. XRaDiiX

    Last time i checked there were 300-400 billion stars in our Galaxy.

    Get real Journalists CNN

    January 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • HomeyDontPlayDat

      Really? You checked? What did you use, that reflect can thing Grandma got you for Christmas when you were nine?

      January 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  44. Pete

    In fact, there are so many planets that they ran out of names for them. For example, there are several planets named "Hollywood."

    January 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • asgas

      Brutal! Haha

      January 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  45. shelby

    I think it's great that we are discovering things about our universe all the time. What I don't like about it is that when it comes out in the news, people just see it as an excuse to bash religions and/or science. Religion and science have been around for a very, very long time and there is nothing anyone can do to change that. So instead of referring to religion as a "fairy tale" or science as "nonsense", try to be open minded about things people!? Because no one truly knows...

    January 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Jeff

      Well said

      January 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • neoritter

      The people that make the comments you refer to are insecure children. People need to grow up, not necessarily be more open minded.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Ed

      Science is just a baby when compared to religion. Religion has probably been around since man could contemplate causation; i.e. supernatural forces were used to explain misunderstood phenomena. While Aristotle is largly considered the father of science, it wasn't until the Enlightment in Europe, a few centuries ago, that modern science took root. As science sheds light on the workings of the Universe, those ancient explanations become obsolete.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
      • Huh

        Since religion has been around so long, how come noone is any closer to justifying it!! There are new science breakthrougs everyday – yet religion is still supposed to be taken on faith!

        January 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  46. Greenspam

    If there are 100B planets, how come our galaxy has not been colonized already?

    January 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Gary

      Uh, because there are 100B planets. How long would it take a space-faring race to colonize 100B planets? Too long for you to ever see them.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Daniel

      It's a big place, for starters.
      Secondly, who knows that is has NOT been colonized, to some extent.
      Planets might be common, but are they common in the habitable zone?
      And if so, does life arise?
      Does intelligent life form?
      Are we the first? New the first? Or are we in the mid-range of development?

      January 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • shannon sowerwine

      Check out "ancient Aliens" it's on netflix.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Chonburi

      Perhaps WE are that colonizing race :).

      January 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Steve From NH

      I think the closest planet would be about 24+ trillion miles away. (4 light years) Very difficult to get to other planets. On the other hand, -we- are colonizied probably, by bacteria that came in on a comet. Mix with salt water, wait a couple billion years, and voila! Humans!

      January 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Noocrat

      Most likely because 99% aren't habitable.

      Moreover, the technology to travel at 10% of the speed of light hasn't currently been built due to international treatiies (it would require nuclear power). Our nearest start is 4 light years away, so it would take us 40 years at that speed to get to the next star.

      By the time we have the technology necessary to accomplish "galactic domination," we will likely have evolved to a point that such a type of expansion will seem unnecessary or not in the best interest. It's hard to say how such advanced lifeforms perceive the universe.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  47. Mark

    Wow, slow news day?? At least 100 billion planets? I stopped counting after 100 million.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Beans Haricots

      Gee, the "Slow news day" phrase is thrown around a lot lately. Why are you reading this if you don't have any interest?

      January 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  48. Rick

    Would some religious type give me a GOOD explanation as to why an omnipotent god would create all those planets if he only intended on putting life on one of them? Remember, not only are there 100 billion planets in our galaxy but there are estimated to be up to 500 billion galaxies! Now that's a lot of pointlessly made planets if you ask me. Oh wait, there is also in all likelihood 100's of billions of universes, all created with the intention of having intelligent life on just one of them? Seriously?

    January 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • God answer

      Nobody is pushing God on you! Do the same and don't bring it up either dill hole.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
      • Daniel

        Agreed...until the "dill hole" comment.....

        January 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
      • God answer

        Do you know what dill hole means?

        January 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
      • God answer

        A dill hole is a slang term and means someone that is always in the way with not so smart comments or actions that slows down any type of progress

        January 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
      • l2j

        So that we have things to investigate, study, learn from, and dream about. Does that answer your question?

        January 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
      • deb debbie

        thx dill hole...

        January 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
      • adb

        jeseus christ and god do not exist, there are hundreds of religions in the world, how do you justify or determine which one is the true religion? mmm...looks to me all relgion is a bunch of bs, science makes so much more sense and speaks for all people....and look at all the horrible things that have happened in the world to good "relgious ppl",you are so naive and ignorant.

        January 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • cartmanrulz

      Rick i found another space.. Do you believe me? these people make up so much. Also did u catch the word "likely"? They don't know they are assuming like they always do. God created one earth and just us. The gov't is getting ready to say aliens exist. (which they do not) its a decieved plan by the devil. do not be fooled by the gov't as all they do is lie to America. God will destroy America soon. this is not land of the freedom more like land of the Brainwashed idiots.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
      • Aaron

        you sound like one of the "brainwashed idiots" you refer to. so excuse me kettle have you met pot?

        January 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
      • joeA

        dont start saying stuff like that first u ppl say theres only one plant and now that theres now over a 100 billion planets but where the only ones with life on it. have you ever considered that ur wrong and if you what will u do with ur faith

        January 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
      • joeA

        dont start saying stuff like that first u ppl say theres only one plant and now that theres now over a 100 billion planets but where the only ones with life on it. have you ever considered that ur wrong and if you what will u do with ur faith.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
      • Steve From NH

        This person must have been home schooled using 2 sources – Bible and National Enquirer.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • neoritter

      I worry about you Rick.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • The all potent one

      It was a game of hide and seek, it took many millinium to find earth and populate it

      January 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  49. citizenUSA

    Which one is Planet Claire?

    January 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • cliff gridley sparta n.c.

      Anybody watching us is not dumb enough to give us the means to travel thru space !!!

      January 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  50. Roelof

    Time to colonise them, enslave the aliens and let them work in the mines on planets x. Don't ever let them sit in the front of the space ship. That's where it all went wrong.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  51. siriusx1cygnus

    siriusx1cygnus@yahoo.com

    January 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  52. the count

    it is my understanding that the neccesary material for the creation and eventual habitation of a planet comes from a stars birth. so what about new stars?, they wont have planets yet just a cloud of material

    January 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • RobHob

      ... most stars in the Milky Way are old enough for planets to have had enough time to form.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • StClown

      Out solar system is near the outer edges of our galaxy, and while it's been a good 19 years I had the class, I do believe the closer the solar system is to the edge of the galaxy, the younger the stars tend to be. therefore the Sun is a relatively young star.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  53. Nutti

    There's plenty of intelligent life on earth. Pretty much all of it. They may not speak in english but we don't see with our ears either.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Rick

      Where? I havent seen any.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
      • Erik

        It takes intelligent life to recognize intelligent life.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  54. AZ Sky Watcher

    With that many planets in our galaxy and the universe being composed of millions of galaxies; of course there's life somewhere else... I've seen many UFOs, some of them travelling at speeds of over 10K mph in Earth's atmosphere; definitely, they had to come over from somewhere else.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Daniel

      This is getting a bit edgy, but they might be time travelling, too.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  55. siriusx1cygnus

    oh wait, that's right. it's called HEAVEN!

    January 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  56. Zenalien

    Great, another 100 billion cultures to assimilate.
    (or in the case of the USA, to bomb and occupy.)

    January 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  57. siriusx1cygnus

    I would like to have my own tropical planet!

    January 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  58. siriusx1cygnus

    I'm not worried about the Sun burning out.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  59. justin

    let me remind you guys. this is ONE galaxy they are talking about. and there are countless others, some that are even larger than ours. there has to be other intelligent life forms out there looking up at the stars and doing the same studies. lets just hope they found us already and are devising a way to get here! if possible:)

    January 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • andre

      Word is they are coming back on Dec 21 2012

      January 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Howie

      I'd say we better hope they are NOT devising a way to get here. Any sufficiently advanced civilization to develop interstellar travel would be able to completely overwhelm us instantly. The idea that just because they are so advanced they must be peaceful is simply ludicrous. If we ever are visited by aliens, it will probably be the end of the human race, certainly the end of an autonomous human race – maybe they'd keep a few around as pets or zoo exhibits...

      January 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
      • The all potent one

        Your tin foil hat will protect you

        January 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  60. bob

    I used micro lensing to find the mass of uranus last night.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Spock

      But the question is can microlensing find your brain?

      January 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Pete

      I tried using a microlens once. But man, when it gets lost in your eye, it STAYS lost in your eye.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • CAsch

      Nice.

      January 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  61. siriusx1cygnus

    only the grave will tell the tale...

    January 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • southern reality

      Why wait? Science is in front of us today for those with an open mind.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  62. Cartoonist

    Talking of extra terrestrial presence out there, I can't think of getting along with anyone who aren't into facebook and/or twitter.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  63. rad666

    I hope my RV survives the road trip to 100 billion planets. AAA is just about everywhere, so I am confident.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  64. shado

    Their 40,000 earth like planets in our galaxy.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • shado

      only 20 races have a chived faster than light travel or use deminsional gate ways. the aliens hanging around us all the time are robots . left behind to watch us evoled . they real aliens return 2010 dec .

      January 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
      • Mike

        [citation needed]

        January 11, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
      • Dave

        The tin foil is getting rusty Buddy...time to replace it!

        January 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
      • Spock

        Dec 2010 was over a year ago – where are the aliens?

        January 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  65. LouAz

    For those talking about faster than light travel to get us to one of theses planets . . . You can't do it. If your travelling faster than light . . . it is dark ! You could run in to something. Very dangerous way to travel. Birds know this.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • galaxy101

      George Carlin... 1971 or were it '72 ? hmmmmm....

      January 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • TheThinker

      So THAT'S why birds don't fly faster than light.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  66. intothemoonbeam

    I'm so sick of people making idiotic comments about how this is a waste of money. For all the people saying this, can you please logically explain to me how 0.6% of the national budget (that is all NASA gets) is a waste of money? If want to talk waste of money, then lets talk Military which we shell out 700 Billion towards pointless wars and dead sons and daughters.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • YouSpeakTheTruth

      100% truth right here.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • galaxy101

      Moonbeam... Thank you :-) and have a great day.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Just Another Opinion

      Americans spent millions of dollars inventing a ball point pen so they can write in space. Russians saved millions of dollars and utilized a pencil in space!

      January 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
      • Mike

        While factually true, you skip over the reason the US space program chose to develop a pressurized pen rather than use a pencil. Namely: avoiding pencil shavings floating around in the Zero G environment of the spacecraft.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
      • RocketScientist

        Not true. Fisher developed the space pen on his own without government funding and later sold the pens to both NASA and the Soviet space programs for use in space. There are several reasons you would not want to use a pencil in space.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Hilikus00

      The return for dollars spent on space travel and space related research is $8 for every $1 spent. Should you think that getting $8 for every dollar spent is a waste of money, there is no point in trying to convince you otherwise.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  67. mike

    and yet 70% of Protestant preachers believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Chemack56

      And that's just the way the Teapublicans like their minions to be....ignorant!

      January 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
      • Robertliness

        Exactly. Well said!

        January 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
      • ATLmatt

        agree... knowledge may be power but ignorance sure is bliss....

        January 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Dave

      100 billion planets CONFIRMS evolution with out a doubt! Can you imagine how long it would have taken God to create this many Adam's, and Eve's...plus all the commandments he would have had to pass down to all these people. Probably would have taken on the order of 13 or so BILLION years to do all that work. Do you really think that's all he had to do with his time?

      January 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
      • Mike

        Actually, it only implies that Earth is not unique as the only place where life -could- develop and subsequently evolve. While life elsewhere in the universe is almost a statistical certainty, we have no concrete evidence to actually say with that there actually is life on other worlds. As for god . . . Well, to play it by "their" rules, a creator deity could, almost by definition, do whatever it wanted to do. If it wanted to spawn life on multiple worlds in the universe it created, it could. Assuming a person believed in a creator deity at least.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
      • aperson

        Hey Dave you say God could not have created all the Adam and Eves. In your opinion, who do you think did??? And, who is the one who put us all here? You mean someone can actually orbit earth and create people at the same time? I am not being nasty, just wondering how ordinary people think that ordinary people can create the extraordinary. And who is the one who made the earth so it hangs in space and not being pulled down somewhere because of no gravity, yet the earth contains gravity. For everyone who does not know God, please explain to us that do. Oh yeh, the big bang theory, or the missing link??

        January 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
      • Dave

        MIke, lighten up...it was like a joke.

        aperson, you are apparently one of THOSE religious type nuts! If you really believe the bible literally, then God help you. I believe God created the heavens and earth(s) and everything we see, gave it a "spark of life" and is just sitting back in amazement at all he created. He gave not only us "free will" but mother nature as well. We crawled out of the primordial soup eons ago and have evolved to where we currently are. Providing we don't destroy this planet we will continue to evolve into something entirely different. Humans may die off, only to be replaced with many different species of higher life forms in the future. Who is to say we are the "original" humans on this planet. We may be humans v13.7 for all we know, on our way to evolving to humans v84.6 in another 2 billion years. If you think people 2000 years ago who wiped their butts with leaves knew everything there was to know and put it into the BIBLE...then I feel very sorry for you, and assume you live deep in the bible belt of the US...maybe Arkansas or so! EVOLUTION is reality buddy...wake up and embrace reality!

        January 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
      • ATLmatt

        aperson – dont be "nasty" to Dave. you should save that energy and call up your science teachers. be nasty them.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
      • SlashRancid

        Wait! What!..where does it say in the bible I have to wipe my ass with leaves? I mean, God invented toilet paper for a reason. C'mon people.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Muldoon

      ...right mikey...and some people just make s#!t up.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
      • ATLmatt

        it is scary that people think faith is an honorable trait – believing something without evidence.... its fun to make stuff up to believe. religion is the only subject area where this occurs and you arent laughed out of the room.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Sirrah

      Not true and you won't find that in the Bible just like you won't find Eve eating an apple.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
      • ATLmatt

        the bible is not a history book.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  68. j0eschm0e

    I think once those whom are in interstellar space, well away from the sun, which emits radiation constantly, that they will begin living much longer lives. just a thought

    January 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • SayWhat?

      No they won't

      January 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Sean

      Yeah, if part of that radiation weren't, you know, "heat."

      January 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • j0enoe

      Using "whom" improperly has the opposite effect of what you intended. Also, your logic and knowledge of space is faulty.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Spock

      Since the vast majority of life on this planet depends either directly or indirectly on that radiation from the sun that you are complaining about, your conclusion is suspect.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  69. justin

    Yeah this I got to hear!

    January 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  70. Shakari

    What does God need with a Starship??

    January 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • How is this NEWS?

      I agree Captain Kirk!

      January 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • galaxy101

      Dear Jimmy Tiberius,
      Haven't you got a Carrie Fischer to chase down somewhere ???

      January 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
      • JT

        Been there, done that -– on to the next port hole.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Bones

      haha, love it!

      January 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  71. K from AZ

    So?

    January 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • IggyDad

      Are you the unusually incurious GW Bush?

      January 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  72. Collin

    The important question is – do they have oil?

    January 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Spock

      Yes they do have oil, but the tree huggers have already claimed that all the animals on those planets are endangered (after all, in all the universe they only live on that one small bit of rock), so no drilling.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  73. yoda

    Isn't it interesting...that we are approaching the age of Aquarius...Doesn't it end Deember 21st, 2012.....a new age of water..with the poles melting....Didn't jesus say you will be able to do what i did and more? Also didn't he say i will be with you until the end of the age....Very Interesting.....

    January 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • SayWhat?

      You are crazy

      January 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • HanzJager

      "very interesting"

      No, not really.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • The Ewoks

      You truly are crazy.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • j0eschm0e

      so they better get at it before dec 2012 lol

      January 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Spock

      Dec 21 does not mark the change into a new age.

      Nicholas Campion in The Book of World Horoscopes lists various references from mainly astrological sources for the start of the Age of Aquarius. Based on the research by Nicholas Campion most published material on the subject state that the Age of Aquarius arrived in the 20th century (29 claims), with the 24th century in second place with twelve claimants. Eight researchers claim the Aquarian age will arrive in the 25th century while the 21st, 26th and 27th centuries have seven supporters for each century. Other centuries that have a number of supporters for the beginning of the Aquarian age include: 22nd and 23rd centuries (6 each); 19th century (5); and the 18th century (4).
      In 1929, the International Astronomical Union defined the edges of the 88 official constellations. The edge established between Pisces and Aquarius technically locates the beginning of the Aquarian Age around the year 2600

      January 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  74. Practical Thinker

    So what... Think about the millions of $$ we are spending to have "scientist" looking for another earth-like planet. Government should be spending OUR tax dollars more wisely. Why visit Mars or even go back to the Moon?

    January 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Dylan

      I know right? When has our understanding of the universe around us ever have any effect on our lives?

      January 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
      • SayWhat?

        Exactly.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
      • Soots

        YES I am sure weather and communication satellites received no benefit from astronomers whatsoever. Everybody knows they are held up over us by long pieces of string.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Mike Johnson

      You are ignorant ... many, many new products has come out of the space program .. do some research before you run your mouth

      January 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
      • Just Another Opinion

        Americans spent millions of dollars inventing a ball point pen so they can write in space. Russians saved millions of dollars and utilized a pencil in space!

        January 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
      • Omen

        One is cat scan.this " thinker" is a real dumb one.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
      • Paul

        More useless results of space exploration: satellite TV, GPS, advanced plastics, protective paints, smoke detectors, firefighter equipment, thermal gloves, scratch resistant lenses, water purification system, high-density batteries, trash compactors, shock-absorbing helmets, home security systems, composite golf clubs, flat panel televisions, freeze-dried technology, sports bras, hang gliders, quartz crystal timing equipment.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • B-Man

      Beyond trying to understand the universe we live in, it would be nice to have other options if something really bad happens here, like it tends to every once in a very long while. Plus if contact is established with anything else, we gain the ability to compare and contrast in most every endeavor man has participated in. They may have even figured out how to deal with small minded trolls better than we do.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • intothemoonbeam

      You are NOT a practical thinker. Do you realize that NASA is only 0.6% of the national budget? Space research does not get nearly enough funding as it should. You should be amazed that NASA is able to accomplish such great things with so little money. If you are going to sit here and complain about money then you shouldn't take it out on Science because science gets NOTHING compared to other programs. We spent more than 700 billion on pointless wars in the middle east, that's what you should be complaining about.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Justin

      I'm glad my tax dollars go to this. Science is the future of human existance.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • Paul

        This research was privately funded by people from different countries, members of as the article states, PLANET (Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork), MOA (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics) and OGLE (Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment) . You all can stop complaining about your tax dollars now.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Omen

      Wel the moon has hilium 3 and this is rare on earth. This type of energy is Very special and whe want it. Mars can be our next home if this one dies.the other planets are to far away.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Paul

      You know, there is such thing as privately funded research... just saying.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Mike

      Of course. Bailing out banks and spending trillions on blowing stuff up is a far better use of our tax dollars than learning about the universe around us.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Tom J

      Shouldn't you be painting the walls of your cave and wondering what cooked food tastes like?

      January 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  75. 60minuteman

    Perhaps this might account for some of that "dark matter" they know is there, but just can't see?

    January 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • SayWhat?

      No, it doesn't.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Paul

      No, the star is 99% or more of the mass of the entire solar system. Dark matter and energy is 95% of the universe.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  76. Chris Honry

    Science is so desperate to find any kind of life, or even liquid water "elsewhere". Why? Because they stretch it to: "if there is life somewhere else, then it proves God does not exist". But for them God does exist, they worship themselves.

    January 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Sarah

      How, exactly, would it prove that God does not exist?

      January 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
      • TIMMY

        well sarah, I would assume that if god created us in his image he would have to create every other species in his image as well....or are you saying humans are so important to god that we are the only ones created in his image. Sounds kinda conceited. Self-absorbed.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
      • Dan, TX

        I agree with Sarah. It doesn't prove God doesn't exist and there is not a scientist alive who will tell you that science can prove God doesn't exist. Science also will never prove why roses are beautiful, although, I have some hypotheses about this. But, in the absence of the human mind, obviously we can't know if a rose is beautiful or not, can we?

        January 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • SayWhat?

      Wow, how did you come to that conclusion? Perhaps people are just curious? Obviously, you're not.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Sue

      Oh, please. Why drag religion into EVERYTHING? Feeling a bit insecure, are we? Go say some prayers. Maybe pray that God continues to guide the hands of scientists that find ways to feed the hungry and cure the sick every day.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • HanzJager

      You have it backwards. Science does't have to prove god doesn't exist. It is up to people who believe in that fairy tale to prove he does. There has yet to be someone who can prove it. Hence, it's a fairy tale.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Ackadamius

      Scientists, for the most part, could care less about the implications science has on religion. It is generally the religious that combat science, not the other way around. Science is about discovery and gaining a better understanding of the world/universe around us. There are hundreds of billions of galaxies and hundreds of billions of stars in each galaxy. I don't see how knowing that many/most stars have planets orbiting them has anything to do with God's existence or religion in any way.

      New knowledge is a good thing. We can take what we know, what we are currently learning, and what we are hoping to know in the future to help paint a more accurate picture of our world.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • anon

      No, "they" don't make that stretch at all. And anthropomorphizing science make you look like an idiot

      January 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Will

      I have never heard once a scientist saying that if life exists elsewhere in the universe that god does not exist. In fact, a real scientist would never say that, because is would be a false conclusion – one does not disprove the other.

      I don't understand why this debate continues at all – there's no contradiction between science and spirituality. You can 100% believe in science and believe that all the laws that we know exist were put in place by a supreme being. The only point of contention is between science and religions, where some remarkably short-sighted religions (basically all of them) attempt to co-opt science by saying that they know what really happened (ie, the world is flat, the earth the center of the universe, etc). But even there, I haven't seen religions lately come forward saying that there's only life or water on our planet.

      Please use your brain here. There is no argument. What you perceive the protect your faith is your business, but projecting it upon all of science is just... wow...

      January 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      yeah, thats the whole purpose of nasa, to prove god doesnt exist.
      How do people like you even function in society?

      January 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
      • SayWhat?

        I hear they are close to finding the "There is no God particle". Very exciting stuff.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Scott

      We're not trying to disprove the existence of any of the gods. To make that a goal would be to lend scientific credibility to a supernatural phenomenon. The goal is to figure out if life can exist on another planet, because one day in a few billion years, the Sun will die and take us with it. We need to move before that happens.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • ed galbraith

      Okay, Chris, please explain how trying to find what our galaxy consists of (means...opening our eyes) equals we think we are "gods". Don't you ever get tired of that peanut-brained crap?

      January 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • galaxy101

      Dear Mr. Troll,
      The bridge is thataway >
      Though suspended hundreds of feet in the air, please feel free to jump off it once you arrive.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • intothemoonbeam

      @Chris Horney You do realize the reason you are typing your stupid comment on a computer is due to science right?

      January 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Mike

      While the search for life elsewhere in the universe is quite serious, the reason has nothing to do with disproving God. Thanks for playing though.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • The all potent one

      There is no scientific way to prove something doesn't exist. Most scientists know this so don't bother trying.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  77. Sam

    Did any rational person really believe (that with 100 billion stars in the galaxy) only our solar system would have planets?

    January 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • SayWhat?

      I did.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Will

      Take it to the next step – I heard once that the odds of life evolving to as high a complexity as it has here is about a billion-to-one. Well with 100 billion planets, doesn't that make it darn near impossible statistically for us to be the only life out there?

      January 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
      • Alfred Einsteen

        Yes, it is utterly impossible that we are the only intelligent life in the universe.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  78. James

    It is statistically impossible that we are the only intelligent life in the universe. The day will come when we will be able to travel faster than light. When that happens the universe will be get a whole lot smaller.

    January 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Uncle Owen

      Unless you're talking about an Alcubierre drive or something, I wouldn't hold your breath. The laws of physics aren't called "laws" because you can go about breaking them willy-nilly. The best we can hope for in even the distant future are nuclear pulse detonation engines or nuclear salt-water rockets that could, at best, get us up to .15c or so.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
      • d5150r

        Didn't the Large Hadron Collider just prove that the speed of light can be surpassed.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • Alfred Einsteen

        Yes, they did.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Tom

      The problem is we tend to use our technology for destructive rather than productive means. It is much more likely that we will completely destroy our planet long before we would ever be advanced enough to travel to another solar system.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Alfred Einsteen

      Or lensing gravity which distorts time-space and brings two distant points in time-space together instantly...as discussed by Einstein. Also, the speed of light has been proven that it's not a limit boundary as thought earlier. Scientists have transported neutrinos from one place to another in a time that is faster than the speed of light. The experiment has been reproduced several times and has been opened to peer review.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
      • anon

        The jury is very much still out on the neutrino thing. Every scientist involved is still operating under the assumption that there is an error that they haven't yet accounted for, because that is FAR more likely than having stumbled over a loophole in physics.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
      • Howie

        And don't forget about quantum entanglement in which two quantum particles can be linked so that a change in one is instantly reflected in the other regardless of distance. Limited to tiny particles at the moment, but maybe the direction toward some form of teleportation in the future. Still have to take the slow road to get to the destination and set up the receiving equipment, but later travels could be instantaneous.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Spock

      Judging by comments on CNN, I am not sure we have proved there is intelligent life ANYWHERE in the universe – especially here.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Rick

      While I agree with your sentiment the fact is that you are either exaggerating by using the term "impossible" or know nothing about statistics. The likelihood might be incredibly low but it would never reach impossible.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  79. Henry

    This tends to be the pattern. We spend a log time thinking we are special an unique just because we don't know then we find out that, as our knowledge expands, our experience is likely to be the norm.

    January 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  80. Thomas

    So if the chances of another planet supporting life are "one in a billion", then there are 100 planets out there with life. :)

    January 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • LivingInReality

      In our galaxy alone, yes, assuming the one in a billion is a given.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • galaxy101

      Just because a planet is capable of supporting life does not of course mean that it currently has life upon it. Further,if in the near future we were to actually find life on other worlds, what would it mean? If we find many life forms all less intelligent than ouselves, what have we really found, other than another critter to be cherished and studied. As for myself, I'm thinking there is INTELLIGENCE on at least a hundred planets in our galaxy, and hoping for more than that. If only we could shorten the distances between us now ;-)

      January 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • wowser

      Thomas, yes you are right. Get ready to be amazed. 100 billion is the number of planets in only our Milky Way Galaxy. Take your results and multiply that by 100 billion, because that is probably how many galaxies are in the universe!

      January 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  81. itoldyouso10

    Very nice...look's like we are getting closer and closer everyday now to finding Earth 2/Terra Nova whatever you want to call it. Now given this logic, I wonder if there should be special observations of, let's say, the five closest stars to Sol and analyzet them like crazy as targets to begin with? Especially if the 100-year starship project gets underway, we'll hae an easier time picking a target location.

    January 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  82. Commonsense

    Wait! All this created in just 6000 years? Amazing! Hard to believe.... (the 6000 years part, that is...)

    January 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • itoldyouso10

      @Commonsense, also remember that 6,000 years is a relative number, so that time scale is what we say. So, if we we're created in 6,000 years, then who said that that was the number to begin with anyway? With all the different base number systems, the idea of creationism is absolutely absurd! Well, let's hope the world moves past this garbage this century...

      January 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
      • ahhhh

        Typical Cyclical Fundie Logic to help themselves feel better about Science and reality.

        January 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
      • Aaron

        @ ahhhhh: 6000 years is an absurd number and completely baseless. Science doesn't have to make itself feel better, it's quite content knowing that it doesn't know everything and is willing to explore it. it is religion that is always trying to make itself feel better b/c its dogma likes it to believe it knows everything when it truly doesn't know jack so it get defensive when better explanations, other than a magical sky daddy, come out as to why the things are the way they are.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  83. Chris

    Yet we think we're special.

    January 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • SayWhat?

      That's what why momma always said.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  84. Uncle Owen

    Ah, the Drake equation butts heads with the Fermi paradox once again.

    January 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • ready

      aren't you supposed to be dead?

      January 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Alfred Einsteen

      The Fermi Paradox is considered ancient dogma. They are here. They will continue to come here and they have been coming here for thousands of years. Even our government admits it.....indirectly.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Aunt Beru

      He has too much of his father in him.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm |

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