Astronomers: Billions of 'super-Earths' in habitable zone of red dwarf stars
An artist's rendering of sunset on Gliese 667 Cc, a previously-discovered super-Earth.
March 28th, 2012
06:30 AM ET

Astronomers: Billions of 'super-Earths' in habitable zone of red dwarf stars

If you're trying to count how many planets could be candidates for harboring life in our galaxy, this might blow your mind: Scientists now say there could be billions of them.

Astronomers working with the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) HARPS instrument estimate that in our galaxy, there are tens of billions of rocky planets not so much bigger than Earth orbiting red dwarf stars within the habitable zones of those relatively cool stars. A habitable zone is the area in a star system where liquid water can exist on a planet's surface without boiling away or staying frozen.

Specifically, the planets that have astronomers so excited are called super-Earths, meaning they can have up to 10 times more mass than our planet. That's important distinction because some scientists believe these super-Earths have a better chance of being habitable than planets about the size of our Earth.

While scientists have previously concluded that every star in the Milky Way has at least one planet in orbit around it, this is the first time they've been able to get a good count of just how many super-Earths might exist.

Still, scientists haven't concluded what "habitable" means in this context. Sara Seager, a professor of planetary science and physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told CNN in an e-mail that while the ESO result is exciting, there's a lot more work to be done. Since a super-Earth would likely have a more massive atmosphere than Earth, such a planet would be much hotter than Earth and liquid water on the surface might not be possible.

Xavier Bonfils, of the Observatoire des Sciences de l'Univers de Grenoble, France, said in a release that these new observations indicate that 40% of all red dwarfs have rocky planets orbiting in their habitable zones. Our own sun is a hotter G V, or yellow dwarf, star and is more than twice as massive as a red dwarf.

Because about 80% of stars in the Milky Way are red dwarfs (also referred to as M-class stars), this leads to the conclusion that tens of billions of rocky planets exist in habitable zones in our galaxy. The Jupiters and Saturns of the galaxy, which are more massive and gaseous giants, are more rare around red dwarfs.

A lot of these promising planets are relatively nearby neighbors. The estimates suggest that there are 100 super-Earths in habitable zones around stars 30 light years or less from us.

Seager says having a quantitative estimate of the number of red dwarfs is a "great stride" in the science of exoplanets.

"We are sure, though, that because there are billions of stars in our galaxy alone, and because planet formation is a random process, many stars will end up with potentially habitable planets," she said.

The next step for the ESO team is to identify more super-Earths using both the current HARPS as well as other instruments, to study their atmospheres, and to search for life.

Follow @CNNLightYears on Twitter

soundoff (1,104 Responses)
  1. Colin

    The "talking snake theory of planetary formation," that about 40% of Americans still believe in, has got to be looking a little shakey -:)

    March 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Clinton

      That a reference to Genesis? It's funny how idiots like yourself can discount the creation as depicted by the Bible and yet not realize these are people trying to describe the creation many thousands of years ago. In other words, they did the best they could describing events they couldn't possibly relate to... go tell a toddler how a Jet Engine works and let me hear their rendition of it... if it's spot on you have a point, if not, suck it and shut your mouth.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
      • Brandon T

        The difference is, we know have science that describes fairly specifically how the Earth could have formed without divine intervention/inspiration. Not to say that Genesis isn't a good story (and even the Church embraces the Big Bang and being consistent with "... and then there was light"), but for so many people to believe that Genesis is true, word for word, and insist that it be taught in science classes as a competing theory.... now, that's kind of a sad state of affairs.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
      • Colin

        You said "It's funny how idiots like yourself can discount the creation as depicted by the Bible and yet not realize these are people trying to describe the creation many thousands of years ago."

        That's why we dismiss it.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
      • Daryl

        You are correct, the writers of the bible didn't have the advantage of modern science. You do. Wake up.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
      • john

        yes, but what is more intelligent? basing your ideas about the world / universe on 3000 year old knowledge or present day? i know people still speak in tongues, handle snakes, and put witches on trial, but this forum is for the scientific.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
      • Slain

        Other life forms look at Earth and see an ant hill. Unlike human beings they see no need to step on it

        March 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
      • John

        The difference is that science demonstrates how God created everything. And, according to the scientific faithful, since we know how God did absolutely everything, and how absolutely everything works (especially the weather), there can be no God. Just like our parents can't exist. We know and understand everything the did, can duplicate it ourselves using better, more efficient methods. Therefore, your parents can't exist. Isn't logic grand?

        March 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
      • Clinton

        Colin, My point is, Scientists over the years have proposed many theories later proven incorrect. Should i throw out all of what science has to offer because they were wrong? Even the greatest of scientists I.E. Einstein has his detractors saying that what he proposed may be incorrect. So why believe in ANY science? If you apply the same principle, perhaps you will understand why it is frustrating to hear folks like yourself try to discount the entire Bible, which has been constructed throughout the ages because the books in the old testament came from an age where something as advanced as an Airplane would be described as a dragon. Does it mean that all of it is untrue? No, not in my opinion at least. I feel that the books of the bible describe as accurately as possible for the age, God's interaction with Man. I believe Christ and the New Testament is a more accurate depiction because of how far civilization had advanced from that point... they were able to record events with writing as they happened with writing... Again, I'm only applying the same logic you used. Be open minded. God is real in my view, and he has interacted with us throughought the ages.. We are not alone in my opinion, we've always had him.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
      • lolsigh

        so you are saying these ADULT bible thumpers who are NOT living over a thousand years ago are comparible to toddlers?
        I 100% agree you and your church's are dumb children.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
      • Evolve Already!

        Clinton,

        Do you make it a habit of contradicting yourself within the same sentence? You made the perfect argument for someone railing against creationism. Man's early attempts to explain how we got here without the advantages of modern science sound ridiculous to most anyone with an IQ over 40. We have SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE to answer questions that could only be left to the imagination of our ancestors. I don't blame them for doing their best to explain away phenomena by throwing God at it but are we really so naive to take the "Holy Books" at verbatim in this day? We don't have scientific evidence to support that God DOESN'T exist but the point is that there are now more logical explanations than that of a burning bush. For someone that doesn't want to let go of what he/she believes can't you incorporate some logic as opposed to just saying "the Lord works in mysterious ways"? <– This obviously manifested when someone hit a wall in their argument and had nowhere else to go. It's time to evolve people. Stories are stories and science is science. Try to recognize the difference.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
      • Rob_s

        I am not a theologian, nor am I religious, but it is my understanding that God guided the hands of those who wrote the bible. It was "divine inspiration". If that is true, or truely believed, why would God need science to accurately describe how our tiny planet and species were created? In theory, he would have known and then had it written correctly so we wouldn't doubt it now. In Genesis, they write about God in the first-person plural; perhaps "they" disagreed on what we would figure out. Anyways, very exciting dicovery. Cheers all.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
      • Tom

        Ok. But whatever the toddler's answer is, it will be a better than "God did it"

        March 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
      • magnus

        Clinton has anger issues.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
      • Jason

        The bible is an excellent means to sort out the baby-brains with underdeveloped personalities and self-esteem issues from the adults among us who actually advance our species.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
      • Rick

        Clinton, I believe in God and science at the same time. Creationism truly doesn't belong in a classroom though. It belongs in a church unless creationists can provide scientific proof to back their hypotheses, then those hypotheses can be tested. The universe wasn't made in 7 days. That's what I believe. I believe humans have made a huge mistake when writing bibles of the world to even try and describe the process of how God works. No HUMAN knows that! We should stop guessing and learn how to embrace our own logic, backed by the scientific method, to figure it out on our own. God isn't going to tell us and being an expert of one single book (the bible), doesn't make anyone an expert in my opinion. Most of the bibles were written by man anyway. Whose to say that most of what has been said by Jesus, if you believe in Jesus, is the truth anymore. Mankind has really messed up the original versions of the bible with constant revisions. To believe in the bible verbatim is absurd. It's a guide how to live a good life, not a scientific journal. I suggest taking some college level science courses.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
      • Rick

        And any religion that incites hatred or infringement of any other's civil rights, needs to be looked at with a skeptical opinion because it is contradictory to the whole message of religion in the first place. I personally don't know of any religion on this earth that doesn't codemn or judge others. That's why everyone needs to meet God, Allah, etc. their own way without the influence of mankind to mistreat other people that don't share their same religious beliefs. Extremists in religions are the plague on this earth and the reson there will never be peace.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
      • Tim

        Fair point, but Religion is still for the dogs and needs to be done away with. Religions may have been needed in antiquity to help deal with the unknown, but, today, Religion is used as a cop-out, a crutch, an excuse and a "reason" for people's idiocy, bigotry, ignorance and hate.

        DOWN WITH RELIGION!!! DOWN WITH RELIGION!!! DOWN WITH RELIGION!!!

        March 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • Dave g

        Oh, Brother..let me tell you something. 1. I have full confidence my toddler can (correctly) describe how a jet engine works FAR clearer and with less born again, right wing, bred-from-the-cradle Bible nonsense than you can so desperately spout creationism. 2. It's so obvious to the real world community of thinkers how ancient your thinking is. I cannot wait for the day, (and I know it's coming) when life is found alive and well on another world. Despite any and all attempts to deflect what the good book says, it will Immediatley contradict so much of what folks like you hold onto as your "truth."

        March 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
      • alien

        i would guess you apply a less critical lens to those musings of the ancients because you were installed with the imagery as a child. It would be no different if you were raised in an Islamic country. You appear to have critical thinking skills, but please apply to ancient religion as skillfully as you might apply to Science throughout its history

        March 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
      • clearfog

        I think the point is that people still believe in creationism, with or without talking snakes. Maybe a few thousand years ago, that did not make such a person stupid. Today, it does.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
      • diablo

        Go on page 3 and read comments by bhavilu2... it's eye opening. Merges Science and Religion.

        March 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
      • maggie112

        yes LOL THANK YOU

        April 1, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
      • maggie112

        yes! LOL THANK YOU............. CLINTON

        April 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Jack O'Fall

      It's closer to 55-60% who believe in it...

      March 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
      • Cupid Stunt

        And the other 40% don't work on Christmas

        March 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • cja

        I think it is a mathematical fact that exactly 50% of the people on Earth have below median IQ.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
      • mike

        cja, you would only be correct if there is an even number of persons in the world. if there were an odd number of persons in the world, then 50% or total-1 individual would be below the median, as that one person would be the median. so you're half right.

        anyway, i thought that science was the study things that are observed in an attempt to explain what is not currently known. the scientific method has only been around since around 1600 BC. currently, our planet is estimated to be somewhere around 4.6 billion years old–and the universe much older than that. given that we humans have only had around 3600 years to study the universe scientifically, what makes us think that we have enough emperical evidence to come to an accurate conclusion on the origin of the planet or the universe? i'm not saying that science is wrong and the bible is right, i'm just saying that we as humans are not nearly as wise as we claim.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Pauly the B

      Just because you see things one way doesn't make it true.

      After reading the bible and adding a modern view of my own to the context, I conclude that God and Jesus drove some really cool UFO's.

      This doesn't mean that I do not believe in God. It simply means that I am using my God given intelligence to think for myself and draw my own conclusions on what he wants me to do and be here on Earth. I ponder the universe because that is what God wants me to do, and that is why I have the ability to do it.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
      • Jeff

        Pauly,

        I agree and belive exactly what you stated!

        March 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Clinton

      lolsigh – Nope, i'm saying that technology has advanced to the point that what we do today would be concieved as magic back then, I am making an analogy, and apparently your stupidity and hate-filled response indicates that they were at least smarter than you... Seriously, you're dumb and you have nothing to add to life. Since you don't believe in God why don't you go off yourself for the betterment of humanity? Since you think there is no God, then this life is nothing but a dream anyways, there will be no mind to remember it, basically, you've never existed, like a dream you don't remember when you wake.... so go... do us all a favor and end your ignorance for all of us.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
      • delrocko

        Hi Clinton,

        You seem to have established a few times that you don't really understand the scientific processes of exploration and discovery, of mathematics and theory put to the test; that have led to your refrigerator's ability to cool your food, the sturdy material used to make running shoes, the lenses in eyeglasses, the motors of our cars, the eletricity processed in such a way that we can use it to light our homes.

        These things weren't developed because someone read instructions on how to do it in the Bible, we weren't taught how to do it because of Jesus' teachings. So... scientists may not be able to proove that there is no God, and that's okay, but it doesn't invalidate their processes, their math, their theories, their tests, or any of the products of these theories and tests.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
      • Bohnd

        You seriously have no idea what you're saying, do you? As a Christian, you just asked another human being to commit suicide, a mortal sin. And for the "betterment" of humanity, no less. You're an insult and embarrassment to your faith. Shame on you.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
      • Snow

        sniff.. it brings tears to my eyes at how the self described "devout" christians show their "love" and "follow their god's teachings". Clinton.. what was that your god told about those slap on cheeks thingy? and how well you follow that advice.. your god must be really proud and must have a seat reserved for you.. at a suitable place for you.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
      • Jackie

        Thank goodness you spoke up Clinton! When I read this article, I couldn't help but affirm my faith in God. Of course he would have created more than one inhabitable Earth, afterall, he had originally created the Earth to be perfect, filled with humans...and had the original sin not happened, eventually, mankind would have filled the Earth. I've always believed that once the Earth would be filled, God would have intended us to move on to other planets.

        So I still believe that someday He will fulfill his purpose for a perfect Earth, without war, sickness, death...and at that time, once we've filled the Earth...we will find our ways to other planets, if it be His will to do so.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
      • sam

        Damn, Clinton – reach back and snag your BVDs back out of your crack. You're coming off like a world class troll.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
      • alien

        how does it follow that life is a dream if there is no God?

        These are just words, strung together, and i cannot fathom what you mean

        March 28, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • John

      Clinton,

      My great times 60 grandfather knew Jesus. They were next door neighbors. Jesus was really a magician. He showed great x60 grandpappy a few of his tricks. Resurection was his best one. This was passed down from generation to generation. I'm sorry... you are probably contributing 10% of your salary to the church for nothing.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
      • Chuck Steak

        LOLOLOL

        March 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Lancem

      I love how people make up statistics. Just because someone is catholic does not mean they have to believe the bible word for word. However, we do not truly know how the earth formed, although we can be pretty sure it was a round 4.5 billion years ago (although that does change slightly depending upon whose results you look at). We have no idea how or why the universe formed. Sure we have the Big Bang Theory, but no theory on why it happened or how or why there was this large infinitely dense point of matter/energy. We can't even really comprehend it. So to dismiss all religion because some people believe every work of a book is just as stupid as those who believe every word of the book.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • Joe T.

        So you get to pick and choose what parts of the Bible are true? That's awful convenient for you. If I had a history book that was full of errors and the writers or adherents refused to admit those errors, I probably wouldn't base my life on that book, the people who wrote it, or the opinions of its adherents.

        Science is not religion. There is no scientific doctrine. Science never stops progressing. We take things we see and we try to determine why and how. We take the information we receive and keep building. We throw away incorrect things and replace them with things we know to be true or are reliable. Adherents of the Bible follow a book that is flawed and they refuse to acknowledge the flaws or just sweep them under the rug.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Luther

      LOL..."we now know how planets could be created WITHOUT devine intervention". Hahaha....so, please tell me how you would recognize devine intervention/ Oh...a big hand reaching out of the sky smooshing some mud together and floating it there as the hand disapperas into the sky? Hahaha. So...since I know how the post I am responding to was created it means you did not do it. It just happened. How about if a man blows on a snow flake and the snowflake ,elts, since we know that hot air melted the snowflake we know there was no man? I think we are assuming more than we truly understand. This article does certainly prove there still may be a couple things we need to brush up on though. 🙂

      March 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
      • Science Crusader

        Luther – you are truly an idiot, and I don't mean that as an insult, just a statement of fact. Knowing how something was created, like this post, or how an event occurred, like melting a snowflake, does not imply that the person (creating the post) or the mechanism (warm air melting the snowflake) ceases to exist. There is a consistent set of rules and principles that are used to explain both phenomena, and that system of rules and principles is constantly tested, corrected, and advanced, using the scientific method.

        Now, if you said that the words were miraculously transferred to the glowing screen in front of you by the bogeyman, or the snowflake was melted by the wrath of god, you would be consistent with Clinton and the other idiots that blindly follow the words of a fairy tale that cannot comprehend how the real world works. Am I going to fast for you?

        March 28, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  2. Etheras

    THIS ARTICLE IS INCORRECT.

    Life as-we-know-it is unlikely to be plentiful. And since life-as-we-know-it (protein-based) is currently the only form of life we can assume to exist (science requires evidence to the contrary before we can assume otherwise). The Earth is in a very unique (one might say "lucky") position. It exists in an abnormally low ambient-radiation pocket of the galaxy. We are in the "sweet spot" of the universe (not too young like the outer rim, not as debris/radiation-filled at the center). We have an abnormally strong magnetic field (this is required for atmospheric formation to block the solar wind) generated by an independently spinning iron core. We have an unusually large gas-giant comet-catcher (Jupiter) and an unusually large meter-catcher (the Moon). Our moon (as a comparison of its mass to Earth's size) is huge. It also provides tides, which is important for spreading the materials of life around. We have liquid water, which is both a function of temperature AND pressure, meaning that the Earth had a thick atmosphere long before the cyanobacteria began to produce the oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere we have today.

    If you keep adding-on all the vital elements to the evolution of life as-we-know-it (the only life we can say for sure exists) it becomes increasingly plausible that life (at least "complex life") in the universe is very rare. Its just a numbers game.

    So why do scientists constantly talk about life on other planets? Money. They want headlines because headlines means publicity which means grants. They're telling people what those people want to hear, because if they didn't people wouldn't give them money.

    Now... I'm not saying life doesn't exist on other planets. I am saying that, its more likely than not, humankind will never find another intelligent civilization, even if we could colonize half the galaxy. Sorry chums, we're alone.

    March 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • BS

      Article states "in our galaxy"....

      March 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
      • Etheras

        Yes, and the Universe is bigger than the galaxy, so if life is likely to be rare in the Universe, what does that tell you about the galaxy?

        Its just a numbers game. The number of things that have to go right for life as-we-know-it to evolve is astronomical. Carl Sagan stimulated our imaginations with his famous "if 1 in 10 stars have a planet, and 1 in 10 of those are in the sweet spot, and 1 in 10 of those evolve life (etc) there are millions of civilizations" thought experiment. But in reality, its incredibly naive. We're lucky even ONE civilization evolved in this galaxy. Most of the universe is just a wasteland that will never be inhabitable.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Brandon T

      As an astronomer studying exoplanets, there are still too many unknowns to even consider evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Viewed statistically, however, it is EXTREMELY unlikely that the only planet known to harbor life would ultimately involve life intelligent enough to ask this question. Therefore, it's likely that there are many planets out there with non-intelligent life, at the very least.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
      • Etheras

        Hi Brandon,

        I agree with your assertions that, statistically speaking, we could find life someday. We might find simple organisms, but they will still be rarer than mainstream science has lead us to believe. When I said "Sorry Chums: We're alone" It was meant as intelligent species (note the word "civilization"), not microbes. Enrico Fermi once posed this question, in response to the Mediocratists: "If extraterrestrial life is common, why isn't it obvious?" The simplest answer is of course "extraterrestrial life is not common". So rare that, in 50 years of searching, we haven't found a shred of evidence.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • awasis

      I am sure glad that you kow it all and have let us in on your genius.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Robbo88

      Sorry Chumly, it's people like you that can't think outside the box. Humankind will never find another intelligent civilization? Really! What planet are you from?

      March 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • awasis666

      I am sure glad you know it all and are letting us in on your genius.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
      • Brandon T

        Wow... OK, whatever, Awasis. I was hardly being arrogant, just matter of fact. Sorry you took it so poorly.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
      • Etheras

        Its really funny how you respond to my specific and scientifically-verifiable post with sarcasm instead of trying to combat it with reasoned argument.

        And of course that's because you can't find holes in my argument, but you want to believe in aliens, so you sling your crap at me like the primitive you are, because that must make you right, right?

        March 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • dac

        There are a lot of stars.
        Most starts probably have some planets.
        Some planets are in the habitable zone.
        Some of the Earth life forms are fairly exotic (look up Methane Ice worms, or volcanic vent life)
        Even planets that are not in what we consider habitual zones may have some form of life.
        Most planets that have life will not be in the tiny window that we consider intelligent life, but will be probably simple life forms.
        But somewhere out there is probably intelligent life. Unless they have corrupt politicians and narrow minded priests in which case they will probably die off a religious nuclear war

        March 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • nettkitten

        "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams..." I think a true scientific mind must necessarily incorporate a certain amount of creativity and vision that goes beyond the cold, hard facts. Otherwise what inspiration would there be to question our world; what reason for trying to find out the how's and why's if not to dream of something more?

        March 28, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • ipayattention

      this is exactly the kind of idiocy and hubris i am talking about....

      March 28, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Norm

      Wow, perfectly stated Etheras. I wish all the posters would read your educated comment before they start talking about visiting Jar Jar Binks. Truth is with every disappointingly nasty exoplanet NASA/Kepler discovers (over 1000 plus now?) this place looks more and more unique. Like the saying goes "Follow the money..." That Drake equation is also looking more and more irrelavant as well. Still filled with a lot of zeros.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
      • Joe T.

        When scientists talk about life, they aren't talking about Jar Jar Binks. They are talking about simple life forms.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • nettkitten

        Intellectual debate and factual analysis serves no purpose if it is not, indeed, to better ourselves and to find our place in the grand scheme of things. Those of us who do believe that we can't possibly be the only intelligent life out there don't worship aliens nor do we spout nonsense just for the benefit of the dollar signs. We believe in this because we know that mankind is great but can be greater. We know that humanity has much to share and we yearn to do so. Please don't impose your personal bitterness on those who seek to fulfill our true purpose for being: learning and growing.

        March 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
      • Norm

        Well netkitten you do have some learning and growing to do. You missed my point. I wait impatiently for the next astronomical discovery. It is my hobby, and favorite activity. However, I have read/reasearched and personally observed the cosmos for thousands of hours. These astronomers, whom I usually respect greatly are either overestimating for the sake of their careers, or are overly optimistic. The research of their own peers has shown that life is a tenuous thing, and the earth is unique in so many ways. At first I was dissapointed Kepler (space telescope you may have heard of) was only discovering hellish worlds (over 1000 so far). But then I came to a much greater appreciation for the planet we live on. I know now this is likely the only world humans will ever live on. It's made me appreciate life, and the beauty of this planet all the more.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • WorkingMan

      Thankfully, not many people listen to idiots such as you. Most older civilizations thought the earth flat, using similar 'rational' thought as yours. At least someone had the guts to check it out – that's the good news. The bad news is, because someone found America, so many other things became possible, including giving idiots like you a voice.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Stephen

      This week, on broadcasts from within the bubble....lol. Your attempt at logic is cute, but the bible will only make you sound like a jacka ss in civilized conversation.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
      • Norm

        Who mentioned the Bible. Just because the science to date does not support alien life, what does that have to do with religion? Sounds like you want to worship aliens. They've discovered 1000 exoplanets so far, each nastier than the last. I'm sure there is another habitable planet out there somewhere, just not everywhere.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
      • Etheras

        Nobody said anything about the Bible. These are actual scientific facts. You wanna debate that jupiter is a great comet catcher? The radiation and longevity of our sun compared to other stars? The strong magnetosphere? None of this stuff is disputed. You should try reading. It makes you smarter, friend.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Ziggy

      Sorry, but, I think I'll put more credence in the article than in your opinion.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • ed

      Here's a video explaining how big the galaxy is.

      http://www.khanacademy.org/science/cosmology-and-astronomy/v/scale-of-the-galaxy

      Here's a video explaining how big the universe is.

      http://www.khanacademy.org/science/cosmology-and-astronomy/v/intergalactic-scale

      March 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
      • Mango

        Here is a better example of the size of the universe.
        http://dingo.care2.com/cards/flash/5409/galaxy.swf

        March 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • ed

      Here's a video explaining how big the galaxy is.

      http://www.khanacademy.org/science/cosmology-and-astronomy/v/scale-of-the-galaxy

      Here's a video explaining how big the universe is.

      http://www.khanacademy.org/science/cosmology-and-astronomy/v/intergalactic-scale

      I wouldn't put money on that we are alone.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      A lot of what you said only adds to the possibility of life, but doesn't negate it if it isn't there. For example, a large planet like Jupiter isn't really needed if the planet is in an area with fewer asteroids. And the goldilocks zone that everyone talks about is much larger than most people think. Mars would be fine if it had a better atmosphere, pretty sure Venus is the same way. My point is many of these values that people use to say its impossible (or improbable) for life to be on other planets actually have a very wide range of what they could be and still harbor life. I agree its a numbers game, but with the number of stars in our galaxy with each most likely containing at least one planet, we're not alone.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Courtney Couch

      The issue here is that you are making assumptions about how rare those various conditions are.

      We once thought exoplanets were rare.. Seems we were wrong about that.

      We once thought amino acids were hard to come by.. Seems the galaxy is teeming with them.

      We once thought protein formation was extremely difficult. It seems proteins spontaneously form with not much coaxing.

      We once thought planets acquiring enough water to fill oceans was difficult.. Turns out this is rather easy to happen.

      We once thought life had fairly strict requirements... Turns out life can exist in some of the most extreme conditions (sulfur ocean vents for example)

      Judging how rare and difficult it would be for these other conditions to occur without data to back it up is naive.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • john

      heh heh, it's not as dismal as you may think. right now we do have a veil of sorts over our senses. we are trapped by our lack of ability. you should open your mind a bit more to the possibilities, if scientists already did not have an open mind or a curiosity they would not even bother to observe any farther than our own solar system.

      if there is a planet out there that can harbor life it will/does. if enough time has passed more than likely intelligence has evolved and taken a foothold.

      some asteroids appear out of no where with in days of rendezvous with earth and they have no technology whatsoever, imagine the possibility of some space faring civilization surely they would have the ability to cloak their presence maybe even their entire planet from prying eyes...

      i mean really i would not want to investigate a planet teaming with intelligent life in plain sight... especially if i knew about what my own civilizations weaknesses were. such as paranoid tendencies, diseases, fear, greed, hate, curiosity...

      [Let's face it, more than likely to be able to travel through space you'd need to be passionate, curious, creative, etc... You would have to have emotions, you would have to have something in common with humans to evolve technologically, you have to suffer, you have to want for better ways of doing things. Just as cavemen took on fire, shelter and weapons, eventually using plants to soothe cuts, and stomach ailments, even splintering broken limbs.]

      March 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
      • nettkitten

        I *really* wish there were a "like" button on this blog! I would hit it about a thousand times for your post, John.

        March 28, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Sam

      Who should I believe, anonymous internet poster or credentialed scientist? Let me think...

      March 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Willis

      The universe is infinite correct? Inside the universe is materail that can only be put together in a finite amount of ways correct? If that is true, based on numbers, it is more than possible that after traveling far enough in the universe, the universe would start repeating itself with the same combinations of matrial. Meaning that there is another you out there that is exactly the same. Before the universe repeats on itself the material would be assembled in every possilbe way, based on numbers the chance of life and intelligent life has to be just as high as anything else existing in the universe. I have a very limited understanding of this though so if I am mistaken please correct me.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • cja

      I agree that life may be rare but we don't have any data yet. One sample point is not enough. But we do know that live just happened as soon as conditions were right. My guess is you will find self-replicating protean where ever conditions allow. But intelligent life will be VERY rare. Look how long conditions were right for it one Earth but it did not happen. Why did Dinosaurs not build airplanes and cities? Why did nearly modern cave men live for a million years and only develop sharp rocks as their only technology. Conditions were as good then as now. My guess is technological civilization is very rare but "life" happens when ever the conditions are right. But we just have to accept that we don't have good numbers yet

      March 28, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Chuck Steak

      Speaking of numbers...

      There are probably hundreds of BILLIONS of galaxies just in our *observable* universe, each with HUNDREDS of BILLIONS or even TRILLIONS of stars. Just because we haven't seen complex, intelligent life in our own ultra-miniscule backyard, doesn't mean much.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Always_50/50

      I like your input even though I have no problem with finding planets that MAY support non-intelligent life. My question is, how are we going to get there??? Do you really think 20 or 30 light years are relatively close??? One light-year is equal to 63,240 AU (1 Astronomical Unit is equal to approx. 93,000,000 Miles) So to get to the nearest planet we need pass a distance of 93 Million miles multiplied by 63,240 then multiply that by 20 or 30. Good luck!!
      And better luck even if we are able to pass through the Hypothetical Oort cloud which is a spherical cloud of trillions of icy objects that is believed to be the source for all long-period comets and to surround the Solar System ( The Oort cloud is around 1 light-year, and possibly goes to as far as 1.87 LY). It is believed to be composed of comets that move very slowly, and can be perturbed by infrequent events such as collisions, the gravitational effects of a passing star, or the galactic tide.
      Once we manage to maneuver and beat all these obstacles and once we manage to go only as far as 1.87 light year away, then we might have a chance of passing through the remining 18 – 28 light years.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
      • Aaron Crossman

        since there is no air to slow us down in space, our maximum speed is the speed of light. lets assume we can get something the size of the space shuttle up to 90% of the speed of light. the energy required is 1/2mv-squared, which given the mass of the shuttle and .9 times lightspeed, we get 24.9 terajoules.

        lets say we take our shuttle, powered by the current largest solar sail ever built at 1444 square meters, and then drop into orbit around the sun just out of range of those pesky solar flares. the solar energy is much greater when so close, the flux at 0.15 astonomical units is roughly 60.75 kilojoules per second per square meter.

        therefore, to save up enough energy (24.9 TJ) it would take 788 hours (roughly a month) to fill the batteries and then carry ourselves the 30 light years in about 33 earth years time. plenty of time. and that is all with modern technology (not including the high density batteries we would need). this length of time will decrease as we get better at what we do.

        furthermore, if we are flying around in a spaceship, the stationary rocks we can see (proverbially) miles away! i dont think hitting an iceberg will be as big a problem as you think it will be...

        March 29, 2012 at 12:54 am |
      • Aaron Crossman

        nevermind, forgot the square the V, hah! math... and i didnt even take into account the efficiency of the solar sail, it would take well over 30 million years by current tech, not a month.

        shame, got my own hopes up. guess we just have to wait another 300 years for science to help us go faster

        March 29, 2012 at 12:58 am |
      • Always_50/50

        @Aaron Crossman,
        Thanks Aaron. Even if we managed to get there in 33 years (after 300 years of advancements without major wars or major climate changes🙂 ) That space shuttle better be equipped with 33 years worth of food and medical supplies for that ONE Way journey. Is it really worth wasting 33 years of our short lives in a space shuttle?
        I really think that chances of escaping our solar system to other habitable planets are super slim. I think we are trapped in our solar system and I have no problem with that.

        March 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • Aaron Crossman

        who said it had to be one way? columbus certainly planned a return trip🙂 dream big, my friend

        March 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • rbloom

      I have to agree with Etheras that the chances of finding other intelligent life are vanishingly small. But not zero. A quick analysis is that in an infinite universe operating according to a finite set of physical "laws," anything that happens once will happen an infinite number of times.
      But looking closer – at what we know about how life evolved on Earth – you have to conclude that our existence as an intelligent and technological species is an almost unbelievable fluke. The question is, is it a one-in-a-trillion, one-in-a-trillion-trillion, or one-in-a-trillion-trillion-trillion fluke? The sample size is too small to make that estimate.
      Then there's the timing question. What's the average life of a civilization, compared to the 13.5-billion-year age of the universe? If they're confined to a single planet or planetary system, they will sooner or later be extinguished by external forces, if not internal. So what are the chances of two civilizations being extant at the same time? Again, the sample size is too small to tell, but clearly this factor lessens the chance of us finding another technological species.
      Simple life, however, arose on Earth rather quickly – and I seem to remember reading an article that indicated it may have happened more than once before it stuck – so even though we haven't been able to replicate it ourselves, there is at least some reason to believe that the "spontaneous generation" of simple life forms could be fairly common given the right conditions.
      Meanwhile, the latest research has identified several Earth-sized planets in their stars' habitable zones, which is the greatest astronomical discovery since at least Galileo and arguably ever. The next step is to push the technology to be able to get spectroscopic readings of those planets' atmospheres. If there's atmospheric oxygen – bingo! – there's life.
      To my mind, though, the point of identifying and surveying exoplanets is not to find other civilizations – I just don't believe that's going to happen. Rather it is to find Earth-like planets that we can terraform and colonize. Only that will ensure our survival as a species, and it's worth every effort and expense.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
      • john

        our first contact with other worldly intelligent life is going to be made visually, not personally... haha

        They might not even know they've been noticed, and the same goes for US.

        it also goes to WONDER, do you want to be noticed? i mean there is a good chance that someone / something already knows we live here. They just can't get here due to time and distance, and plausibility. our distance to each other is probably the best demilitarized zone you could have.

        March 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • wat

      1. The presence of liquid water is accepted as the only necessary criterion for life as we know it to exists, which is what the article is addressing.

      2. A magnetic field is necessary at all for life to be able to exist on a planet; pole flips on Earth don't cause mass extinctions, at worse we'd get sunburned more quickly.

      3. Comets aren't attracted to gas giants and meteors aren't attracted to bodies of rock; they're just gravity wells. It's likely that most solar systems have multiple of each anyway

      4. In our own solar system, only Mercury doesn't have a moon, and many are a significant percentage of their host's mass; it's like this is the case elsewhere.

      5. Earth isn't the only planet in even our own solar system with a thick atmosphere (though the other has issues).

      March 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
      • Joe in Texas

        Wrong -- carbon, water, and Amino acids (DNA raw material) are all needed for life as we know it. You said just water.

        March 29, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • LukeS

      Etheras, you forget one thing...your feeble mind cannot imagine the billions of planets in JUST our galaxy, let alone the Universe!!..To then dream we are alone and it was all made for us to go OOH AHH at when we look into the night sky is simply ABSURD. We have aliens performing anal probes on our planet while SETI sends messages to faraway places go figure LOL.

      March 28, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  3. Clinton

    Just a question, If Stephen Hawking is a brilliant and amazing scientist, how come he's stuck in a wheel chair and can't talk? Why do so many people blindly follow scientific theories and throw out religious theories because of what these men say? Seriously, you come at me, a person who does believe in Christ, as we not only have a historical record of his existence but eyewitness reports to his life and teachings and resurrection, and you tell me that these "great men" of science have answers to the riddles of the ages, the beginnings of the universe, it's age and all it's wonders, yet... they are still unable to solve simple anomolies within their own bodies... I find it ridiculous... that many of you bash people of faith for believing in a creator when many of these very scientists you speak of, haven't discounted the idea.... open your minds weak ones... Religious theories of creation are just as valid as any of these scientists... show me a scientific man with "all the answers" and i'll show you a liar

    March 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Etheras

      if I remember correctly, Stephen Hawking fell down a flight of stairs and was crippled while he was in college and that's why he's in the wheelchair and needs to talk through a computer.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • Clinton

        Etheras, i personally don't know, either way, if he is such a great mind, why can't he solve that? or solve the issue of mortality?

        March 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
      • Jake

        Stephen Hawking has motor neurone disease, it has nothing to do with falling down stairs:\

        March 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
      • Ira

        Stephen Hawking has Stephen Hawking's disease, a variant of Lou Gehrig's disease. It was long thought Hawking had Lou Gehrig's disease – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – but people with ALS never live more than a few years, and Hawking has lived for 40 years since his diagnosis. Eventually scientists had to admit that Hawking's illness was something new.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
      • countryboi

        Hawkings suffers from ALS and has been extremely lucky to have survived as long as he has.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
      • Jonny

        you guys are both stupid he has als.. which is why most people know him because he is like one of the longest living people with als..

        March 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
      • M.Patrick

        @ etheros: "if I remember correctly, Stephen Hawking fell down a flight of stairs and was crippled while he was in college and that's why he's in the wheelchair and needs to talk through a computer."

        Good god son, I take back everything I said about you being intelligent.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
      • Etheras

        For the record, because so many people have tried to correct me, he did fall down a flight of stairs and received a head injury. From Wikipedia:

        Symptoms of the disorder first appeared while he was enrolled at University of Cambridge; he lost his balance and fell down a flight of stairs, hitting his head.

        I don't know much about ALS, and I never claimed to. I thought this head injury is what caused it, but I guess I got it backwards.

        March 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
      • Jake

        @Etheras the disease didn't happen because of the fall. The fall happened because of the emerging symptoms of the disease.

        April 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Andy Anderson

      So the fact that a scientist has to live with a disabling motor neurone disease means the science he does is incorrect?

      You just invalidated your entire post in the first sentence!

      March 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
      • Clinton

        Andy,
        It only points out the obvious.... Stooges like yourself believe in every single word that renowned scientists utter, yet you don't take the time to step back and realize, these are just men, and they are only proposing theories... they fail to grasp the full concept... or even come near it... and my point about Hawking is, you're trying to tell me that a guy that can't solve a neurological disease in his own body with all the instruments and technology available, has solved the riddle of the universe? I think not.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
      • John

        Which is exactly her point. You scientific faithful rule out, bash, insult, and belittle anyone of religious faith because science knows and trumps all. Until something new is discovered (then how could scientists know it all?) or proven wrong (usually by other scientists).
        Science dictates that theories apply universally to all systems. So when they don't, does that mean all science is wrong?
        The logic the scientific faithful use to "prove" religion is wrong, proves that scientific theory is wrong as well

        March 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
      • Diogenes

        You hit it on the nose John. Scientific theory is built on building models from what we understand and then collecting information and testing the model/theory in every way possible. To be fully accepted the EVERY test must conform to the model. If the testing results do not fit the model, then the model must be modified and tested again. People do not just throw ideas in the air, everything is constantly being tested and retested. Academia can be cut throat. We do not just accept what others say, but rather if their data does not sufficiently convince us of its validity, we take the idea and test it ourselves. Scientists are humans too, they make mistakes... but it doesn't take long for others to notice and publish scathing reviews.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
      • sam

        Saddens me to say Clinton is one of the biggest dumbasses I've ever run into on these blogs. And that's really saying something.

        March 28, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • David Descoteaux

      ... and the world is flat.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • intothemoonbeam

      Science almost always ends up being correct. 400 years ago scientists were executed for saying the Earth isn't the center of the Universe and it revolved around the Sun. Who ended up being correct on that one? Even a great scientist like Galileo was put under house arrests for stating what ended up being a fact. You never hear of any scientists executing a preist for his beliefs.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
      • John

        Scientists argued with Christopher Columbus about the world being flat. Who was right about that? Every single solitary scientific theory is fact until the next generation of scientists prove how fool hardy the previous generation of scientists was.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
      • mb2010a

        Perhaps they should...

        March 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
      • intothemoonbeam

        @John that's what's great about science. New things are always being discovered and old theories are always being improved.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        "John – Scientists argued with Christopher Columbus about the world being flat"

        no they didnt, that is complete and utter nonsense. The educated men of the day knew it was spherical, and had done since the ancient greeks had figured it out.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
      • LetsThink123

        Science does correct itself if new experimental results disagree with its theories. But science has proved many things that will not change, such as a round earth and order of creation. These two that i mentioned, the bible has already gotten wrong!
        There are many places in the bible where a flat earth is implied by stories about Jesus. (Revelation 1:7: "Behold, he is coming with the clouds! Every eye shall see him..."). EVERY eye will see him if he comes through the clouds? Sure, if the earth was flat. But with a round earth Jesus's re-entry will not be seen by all. Too bad he thought the earth was flat.
        Matthew 4:8 says, "Once again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world (cosmos) in their glory." Obviously i dont have to explain this one, and this would be possible only if the earth were flat.
        Astronomy also tells us that the sun is about 4.57 billion years old, while the earth is 4.54 billion years old. The 0.03 billion years difference is large (30 million years)!
        However, in genesis, on the 1st day god created the earth. And on the fourth day (three days later), he created the sun and the stars. This is a huge error and the bible again has got something wrong! Why would god create the sun after the earth?
        U have to realize that no one in the future will show that the earth is flat, and that the sun was created after the earth. These are all hard facts that will stay; unfortunately a supposedly 'divine' book got it wrong.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
      • Demiurge

        Columbus was lambasted because the leading scientists of the day knew he was wrong because Columbus underestimated earth's size by 30%. If North America wasn't there, he wouldn't have run into anything because he and his crew would have died from lack of supplies.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • luke

      Hawking has a motor neurone disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a condition that has progressed over the years, moron.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Colin

      Clinton, you are right. Scientists don't have all the answer. There is another theory that really irks me that those OH SO SMART scientists believe. It is the va.ginal birth of human beings.

      It is OBVOIUS to me that storks bring babies! I have never seen a woman giving birth, but I have seen a lot of storks, especially on margarine containers. If you ever go to the beach, you will lots of storks carrying babies. They look just like pelicans because they carry the babies in their mouths. If women gave birth to babies, there would be no need for a navel, but that is how the stork picks the babies up from HEAVEN.

      There is no REAL evidence that women give birth to babies. It is just a THEORY. If they did, why is it that men never give birth to babies? Why just women? Where do boys come from? It makes no sense. There is also the problem of the missing link, because there are only ever midwives and never “mid-husbands”?

      If women gave birth to babies, why are there still women and babies? And why is it you never see a half-woman, half-baby!! Explain that evolutionists and va.ginal birth believers! Bet you CAN’T.

      If you look at a stork, it is INTELLIGENTLY designed to carry babies. Why would that be if it didn’t deliver babies? And what about twins and triplets? What, do some women have 2, or even 3 uteruses? That is stupid. A stork can EASILLY carry two or three babies, but a woman couldn’t.

      Why is it that for every 50 boys born, there are 50 girls. What, can a va.gina count? Ha, how stupid. But a stork could. And, what about all the GAPS in the birth record. One time I took a peek at my mother’s va.gina, and it was so small and babies are SO BIG.

      You evolutionists are so dumb. Your think babies JUST HAPPENED in their mother’s womb. What, do you think they just appeared out of yucky, slimy blood and stuff ? Fred Hoyle once calculated that the chance of a baby spontaneously appearing in a woman’s uterus was the same as a storm blowing through a junkyard and creating a Boing-747. That’s harder to believe than that the stork brought them!

      You might like to think you came from a mere zygote, but I KNOW I came from a glorious stork.

      My father insists that I was born because he slept with my mother. I derisively call this the Big Bang theory, because he cannot tell me what happened BEFORE the Big bang. And what caused the Big Bang? It must have been a stork.

      You might ask, ok “what caused the stork?” Well the stork was always there.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
      • porgat

        Brilliant.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
      • John

        Colin,

        Jesus created the stork. They found a rock in an archeological dig that had step by step instructions on how to create a stork literally scratched into it, and it was signed by Jesus. God created everything else.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • clw

        Sorry, if it's not in the bible, then Jesus didn't write it.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
      • zoraklives

        That's really poor satire because it totally ignores the few grains of intelligence in the original poster's comments.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
      • Wouter

        I laughed really hard on that one.

        personally i think there is more evidence proofing there is intelligent life in our galaxy. Then proof that Jezus ever existed

        March 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • I Am God

      I am God and I tell you Aliens exist in the universe, because I created them.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
      • I am Zeus

        Oh Jehovah, you so crazy!

        You gonna hang out with the guys at that bar on 5th Street tonight? Loki bet Shiva that he can drink his blue butt under the table!

        March 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
      • I Am God

        No, really! This is God! Why don't you people listen to me. Thats it, I am going to work on my super-earths and leave this silly little planet to the Repub . . . I mean . . . satan.

        March 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Kevin

      Scientists don't claim to have all the answers. They propose theories and then test them. When a theory is proven wrong, they accept that, change their view, and try to learn enugh to come up wit ha better theory. It's called learning. You should try it.

      And regarding Hawking's wheelchair, wow. Just wow. So no religious people get sick, because God can heal them, right? If God can't heal them, he's not all-powerful. If he can but won't, he's a sadist. Take your pick.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Feltch

      ALL religion is pure crap. Fairy tales concocted by charlatans to control the rabble.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • John

      David Copperfiled walked through The Great Wall of China. You send a guy of that calibur and skill of deception back 2,000 years in time and people would probably believe he was a god too. There really is no hard evidence Jesus was the son of god, or there is a god, or that a god created the universe. Its simply people that are afraid of death and afraid there is no afterlife, that dreamed up this church idea to get everyone to beleive everything will be fine when you die...at a small price of 10% of your salary. It's a good business model...if you can get someone to fall for it.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Citropolis

      Hawking has ALS and it is nearly a miracle he has lived this long.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "If Stephen Hawking is a brilliant and amazing scientist, how come he's stuck in a wheel chair and can't talk?"

      because he isnt a doctor?

      and no scientist will ever tell you he has all the answers, whereas a believer like you will wave around a little black book and claim to have them all in there.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Dan

      Clinton, so you are saying that we shouldn't believe a guy in a wheel chair, but we should believe people from 2000 years ago? They can prove that Jesus did exhist, but there are no "eye witness accounts" of the events. There are stories from thousands of years ago that were written on a rock and that is what you believe. At the end of the day science does not know the answer either so you should just stop trying to push YOUR religion on other people. The Bible was just people trying to figure out why we were here before we had science, it's still not fact. There is no way to prove the point one way or the other so why don't you just focus on believing what you want to and stop trying to convince others that your way is the right way.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Jeff

      You're completely correct; which is why there are ZERO christians in wheelchairs.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • BuckeyeHerman

      Clinton, you are the worst sort of retard. Shut the front door bro. You have noo clue what kind of crap your talking. None. You sound like a complete and utter tard from your very first post and response...bro! Keep it real and just admit your a lazy nut with no education and way too much free time.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • odysseus1965

      It's not about having all the answers. It's about seeking scientific truth. If you need spiritual Truth, have at it. I'm not here to disprove the existance of God. I'm here to challenge the things we can experience through these mortal eyes, and keep challending those things. Why the hell else are we hear but to seek Truth. Anyone trolling for the mysteries of the spiritual universe by reading an article like this needs to move to a different forum.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
      • odysseus1965

        Oh...sorry for the mis-spelling(s)...in a hurry!

        March 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Jeff

      PS: there are ZERO "eye-witness" reports of a Christ. All accounts of a Christ were written by people who did not exist during is supposed life. (if you think I'm wrong, name one!)

      You might want to actually read a book or two, before you put your foot in your mouth again.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Guy32

      I find it annoying that people like you are representing the religious community. First of all, get off your high horse and get back on topic, which is the the discovery of other planets that may one day become populated by the human race. Secondly, there is no need to start verbally degrading people by calling them "idiots" or "Weak Ones" (which by the way sounds very arrogant, so much for the practice of humility) and start to realize that this whole IN YOUR FACE religious banter is the very thing that is weakening faith and turning more people away from the church (or organized religion). Though I disagree with your point of view I respect it (and you) enough to avoid petulant name calling.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Mick

      Your first question shows your intelligence level. Secondly, if you think hard about many of the stories the bible tries to convey, you will realize how ludicrous they are. I am not saying there is not a creator, which I do believe there is, but the one the bible tries to convey, absolutely not. Noah's Ark is one good example. How ridiculous it is to actually believe the entire globe was flooded and then miraculously the waters receded and everyone and everything came off of the Ark onto a sunny, green terrain. Hello.....it never crossed anyone's mind that the flood waters would have also destroyed all of the plant life, and there would have been no means to get food and desalinated water, as the rivers would have merged with the oceans and salination would have been worldwide. Think a little. That's why I laugh when I see these little churches putting up messages like "Free thinkers are satan's slaves!"

      March 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Cam

      Clinton, I think Hawking has done a great job adapting to his problem. At least he's not waiting for a fictional being to send him a miracle from the sky.

      These scientist are using laws and theories that are way beyond you ability to comprehend, so keep following that ancient book of your.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Mike M

      I agree that scientist's don't deny creationism. However, they believe quite confidently that we have evolved from an early man/ape existence. No one can explain how the universe came to be so a creator is as good a theory as any. Even the Big Bang Theory evolved from some sort of land mass with an origin no one can explain. The issue with religion are these fanciful stories of a woman being created out of a McRib, and that humans don't evolve physically, that a boat carrying a male/female of every animal species floated in a boat, etc. etc. Religion aims to explain our past and countless evidence has been found disproving so many of these religious theories.

      Oh and I'm curious who this "eyewitness" you speak of was that saw the "resurrection"

      March 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Chasity

      christ doesn't exist either sorry to burst your bubble but keep telling yourself that

      March 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Furbarb Von Quackyballs

      "Just a question, If Stephen Hawking is a brilliant and amazing scientist, how come he's stuck in a wheel chair and can't talk? "

      That is the dumbest question I have ever, ever heard. You should be ashamed at your own stupidity.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
      • clinton is a Troll

        Can't you guys see that Clinton is a Troll.

        March 29, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • cja

      Your mistake is to think people follow science for the same reason they follow religion. Maybe some dull and un-thinking people do just "accept science on faith" but that is just wrong. The difference is the science is "falsifiable". That means it can not say something unless that is a way to prove that something wrong. It science can not even talk about some subjects. Science can say "electric current produces a magnetic field" and no one has to take that on faith. They can prove it be a simple test. A religiouos person might say "The Fly Spaghetti Monster made first a mountain then a midget who was dress as a pirate and there is a beer volcano in heaven" Many of us believe this but it is based on faith and we can never test it. There can NEVER be an argument because science and religion talk about different subjects.

      The ONLY way to have an argument is when people think science is faith based and the we accept science "just because". Then you have science even with religion. But that is a perversion of science. Science is based on being skeptic and saying only things that can be disproved. Religion is the other way, no one here can disprove my faith in the beer volcano. (but we can wonder about the type of beer wonder how it can be that everyone will like that one type.)

      March 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Chuck Steak

      @Clinton & Etheras

      LOL...you guys want people to believe your crack smoke theories of the universe, yet you post this nonsense about Hawking? You guys are dumber than phucking dirt. I suspected it all along, but now I have proof (proof...something religion strugles with...lol).

      March 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • magnus

      wow Clinton. Your premise is so illogical. Philosophers for thousands of years conclude that one should never argue with a person who implements illogical premises because they do not have the intellectual capacity to reason.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Aaron

      Wow the ignorance of such a question and the compassion-less statement made about a great man solving great questions of reality shows how little like Christ you are, christian. Hawking is suffering from a genetic disorder that has physically incapacitated him. Regardless of his physical disability many scientist find what he has to say either intellectually provocative or correct in his assertions through empirical evidence he has studied. This shows he is mentally capable.
      I'd like to ask what other books besides the bible have you read? I studied physics, and I have all of his books, among other scientists and I can say without doubt or reservation the Bible is utterly wrong is every aspect of the physical universe and I have yet to see a religious argument be based on EMPIRICAL DATA AND ANALYSIS and thus offering a better theory to the observable question at hand.
      Religion is pathetic and it clear that it has stifled your mind. I can't believe we let people like you vote.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • manofscience

      There is a curtain between you and your understanding of science. You can't help it, but if you are lucky, you will pull down that curtain to see things as they are. If you look at the order of creation in genesis, you will see that it is clear that the people who wrote that book had no idea you needed hydrogen first to create water. That you needed stars to create hydrogen and that would mean light would come before the earth and water. If they were devinely inspired, they would have got the order correct because it would become important later. (Or maybe God just hates smart people and makes this wrong order in the bible to trip us up). But if they were just men trying to make sense of the world around them...there is no need to care about what they believed thousands of years ago.
      I was once as closed off to the obvious truth like it is so clear to me that you are. There is hope for you and all who believe in a figment of some thousands year old man who didn't know anything about science.
      Good luck!

      March 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Snow

      Ok you crackpot nitwit.. if god is so powerful and all seeing, why doesn't he cure amputees? the devout ones at that too.. does he take joy in sufferings of men? what kind of masochistic god is that? Answer that without the "he works in mysterious ways" BS and I will give you the answer about Hawkins..

      see yourself in the mirror and you would find an idi*ot with superiority complex

      March 28, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Lisa

      Clinton, this is truly one of the most embarrassing posts I have ever read. I have forwarded your comment to several friends so that they too could get a good laugh out of your ignorance and stupidity.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  4. Colin

    One can imagine, if we hit the home run and are eventually visited by an alien civilization, one of the creatures staring incredulously at the Vatican and asking its human hosts, “so, you REALLY thought it was all about you?”

    March 28, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Clinton

      Colin,
      that is your hope isn't it? that you don't have to answer to anyone for your life... you are hoping upon hope that nothing exists beyond our physical realm so you can simply live as you please and do as you like, good or evil.... at this point, you should know it's just as likely that they would say.... We believe in Christ too. He visited our world as well.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
      • Andy Anderson

        This is coming from a person who believes that God sacrificing himself to himself to save us from him torturing us forever gives him a free pass to "forgiveness of sins".

        Those of us who don't believe a magic man makes everything okay have to answer to the people we wrong, and the community around us. Or do you have some other explanation as to why the overwhelming majority of the US prison population is made up of Christians?

        March 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
      • Clinton

        Andy,
        your hatred of my religion is interesting. You think the overwhelming population of prisons is Christian? you're an idiot, based on what? Based on your own decision that they are? See andy, simpletons like yourself are the reasons people write books on scientific theories.... you're in love with science fiction but refuse to admit it's fake...

        March 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
      • Thedunmyer

        And You are Hoping beyond Hope that you are also in fact right – it's called your faith – what if you're wrong? What if someone else follows the right faith and it differs from yours? Faith is hope and hope is not fact. Give it a rest – no one here has a "definitive" answer about where we come from and who and what is out there or not.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
      • odysseus1965

        Clinton = troll (and a darn accomplished troll at that). Bravo.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
      • ronjon

        Hope is all you have as a Christ believing Christian. Why is your hope any better than anyone else's? Because you say it is or the Bible tells you so? Stop trying to make everyone else believe what you want. God gave the power of free will to us all. If some of the world chooses to use it not to believe everything in your Bible, then so be it.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
      • Thomas

        Clinton, why are you even on this board? I think CNN has a "belief" page. People like you are the reason we haven't gotten farther faster. I hear Tennessee is nice this time of year.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
      • Jackie

        amen to that....people who close their eyes to the Bible and God's purpose, serve their own purposes, and do not want to live a Godly life.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      "no" I replied to the alien. "It's all about God"

      March 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Gonzoaster11

      I actually imagine one of them saying, "Ah yes. I remember reading about those days for my people in history class. Don't worry. I expect you'll figure it out eventually."

      March 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • sam

      Clinton, is your mommy home? Does she know you're playing on the computer before your homework is all done?

      March 28, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  5. WIlly

    This is cool but I wonder how long it will take before we can send a probe to a planet 30 light years away and after it gets there decide whether we can live there and if we even want to go to the trouble to go there. On the other hand, mars is kind of nice this time of year. . .

    March 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • cja

      To send a probe and get data back would take longer than 60 years and that assumes technology level that aproaches "magic". Using foreseeable technology it woud take hundreds of years. BUT there is no need to send a probe if you have a big enough telescope. The light from the planet has already reached Earth. We will have an answer sone after building the huge telescope. My guess is that we will build one later this century maybe in the next economy "up" cycle when we are feeling rich again.

      So sending a probe would take hundreds of years and would be pointless because we can have the data in 50 years without sending a probe.

      The telescope I'm thinking of would be a very wide baseline infrometric device using spacecraft in orbit around the sun.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  6. Kire

    This stuff is truly fascinating. When I read articles like this I always think back to that line in the movie Contact... "If it's just us... seems like an awful waste of space".

    March 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  7. D_MAND

    Artificial Intelligence is the only intelligence necessary

    March 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • James

      No doubt. This string of comments is full of artificial intelligence.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  8. ipayattention

    the infinity of existence alone dictates that life is everywhere....not just in the places we think it should be.....i love how top minds of the world seem to think to find life.....the exact criteria on earth must be semi duplicated.......i am not that smart at all and even i can see life is crazy good at adapting to any and all sorts of environments.....someday....far into the future.....this "maybe there is life, but only on planets like ours" mentality will be as laughable as the world being flat...or us being the center of the universe....hate to be the dumbest person in the room and be the one to point this out...science is becoming just as close minded as religion....shame on you

    March 28, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Mark

      Science is far from being "closed minded"(?). However, you fail to grasp the basic tenent of why we focus on "planets" like Earth...we already know that life exists and how it exists and what type of chemical and biological makeup allows for it to exists. Once we learn more about those areas of space that have a totally "alien" life supporting capability then we could focus on them. Right now, it is easier to focus on what we have a fairly good grasp on.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
      • ipayattention

        it is close minded.....because of its hubris....

        March 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • thekai

      Actually, most of the "top minds" already recognize that life does not require a planet just like Earth. However, they also acknowledge the obvious fact that there is life on Earth, so it's not a bad idea to start looking for life on other planets similar to Earth.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • ipayattention

        honestly i cannot stand any knowledge gleabned where the end result is "this is right, we know this to be true no matter what" because history dictates that we are constantly and horribly wrong about almost everything we at one point thought was right....science is so sure of itself as the answer to everything....the implications of a mentality where no one else can come up with the answers to questions like this without using said mentality to reach a conclusion is, for lack of a better word.........stupid....and arrogant.....a horrid combination..the same kind of stupid that thinks the best and only places to look is on earth like planets...but again....as i said....i am not that smart....and this is just my opinion

        March 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • David Descoteaux

      Bravo to you ... excellent comment🙂

      March 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "i love how top minds of the world seem to think to find life.....the exact criteria on earth must be semi duplicated"

      You totally missed the thinking behind it. They do not say the conditions must be duplicated for life to exist. What they say is because we know the conditions here have produced life then anything similar could also have a chance for life. They havent written off other criteria, just focusing on the known instead.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • deidramt

      There are known knowns. There are known unknowns. And, there are unknown unknowns. Take your pick.

      Lowest common denominator says that since we KNOW we exist (debatable with philosophers) with this criterion on this planet, then we could reasonably assume that there MIGHT be life elsewhere with matching criteria on similiar planets. We've already proven that there are lifeforms on this planet that are not carbon-based, and we can make another assumption that there is life outside of our known criteria. But, the safest bet is that we start with the areas we KNOW life exists and then branch from there.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • magnus

      we need to clarify life. life – a lipid bilayer surrounding nucleic acid that is capable of replicating itself is probably abudant in the universe. intelligent life capable of communicating with other words is the question. not unicellular protocells, but sentient intelligent life. the latter is likely to be rare, much much rarer than the former.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • cja

      Life if you define "life" as a self-replicating chemical system then it does need to exist within certain limits because we must assume any self-replicating thing is complex. It would need at least something like RNA. As the temperature goes up it breaks chemical bonds so there is a limit at the high end. As the temperature goes down the chemical reaction rates slow and stop. the upper and lower limits might be wider than we have on Earth but they can't be far off from what we have here. Self-replicating chemistry needs a world that is neither really hot not really cold. It also needs water but water seems to be very common

      March 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  9. MyTake

    I wonder what lies the zealots will come up with when life is confirmed on another planet then ours. The ones they come up with now getting a little boring ...😉

    March 28, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • John

      Since there is life outside of earth, there can be no God? So following your logic, every single person alive is an only child because if you parents had you, there is no way they could possible have other children.
      I never understood the logic behind that. It isn't logic, it is a deep desire by scientific faithful to prove religious faithful wrong.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        lol, nice try but no cigar.
        The whole concept in the bible is that man is a unique god creation, that this is it, the whole point of creation. No mention of other planets, with life, or anything.
        What you are doing is a deep desire by religious faithful to prove scientific faithful wrong.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  10. JB

    haha a "God". stuff like this blows ideas like that out of the water. pun intended. if you say there are 1 billion super earths that may have house life, lets take the tiniest # and say only 1% have life. That leaves 10million planets. Boy heaven sure is crowded.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • magnus

      no heaven.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  11. vince

    This article really struck a nerve. look at all these comments!

    Do you realize how unlikely it was for life to start here. It was like hitting the lottery. The odds of finding life on other planets is very rare even if we could go there and look.

    In regards to this religion stuff.....purely an invention of man and a nice little business isn't it?

    March 28, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • MATT

      Too bad you cannot prove it's a nice little invention of man. Just as I cannot prove there is a God.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
      • mcore

        Except that extraterrestrial life will be proven one day – possibly within your lifetime. Whereas the proof of god will never be found.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Gonzoaster11

      People win the lottery all the time. Life itself may not be rare. We still don't have any idea what it takes for life to spontaneously initiate.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
      • Joey

        well we have theories. Primordial soup.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Brandon

      Matt

      Of course you can. Thats why they all say they are right, but all different. Best case scenario one is right the rest are made up. Worst case, they're all made up.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • tluke25

      Yes, the odds of life evolving to the extent of which we have even on a habitable planet may very well be the odds of winning the lottery. But, even if it was lottery like ( say 1 in 150 million of all habitable planets), that would still mean there are billions of planets in the universe that have evolved to the point we have or beyond.

      People have a hard time getting a grasp of just how big the universe is and just how many planets there are in it.

      We are never likely to get a signal from a distant planet simply because we are so far apart. Furthermore, we are not likely to have an alien spaceship land here because they would have to create a way of traveling beyond the speed of light, which means they would have to bend space. Bending space would likely turn anything that has mass into broken spaghetti pieces.

      If an alien race is a mere 1 million years more evolved than us (and thats just a smidglet), they likely would have evolved beyond spaceships and even their own host body. They likely would be a mass-less being. A spirit. We can see the process already beginning with us. We see now how things such as cars can supplement our legs and that eventually how our own brains will be hooked up to computers.

      People think we will still be humans in 1 million years. We absolutely won't. We are on a fast track of evolving beyond that. We are the dinosaurs of today. An alien race has no need to communicate with us, nor could we possibly understand anything.

      There is an ant hill sitting in a jungle in South America. There's ants that live on this little piece of dirt. How come you never went and bought a plane ticket to go to the piece of dirt and pick up the ants in your hand and say "I am here. I will teach you now how to become a better ant. You probably didn't even know I existed, did you?"

      We are the ants. We can't even imagine what advanced aliens are like. We are still naive enough to think they are like us and they ride in spaceships like we do and have eyes and feet like we do.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • magnus

        you don't have to artificially bend space, you could use the bent space to connect regions of space that are very far apart. there are mathematical theories called worm holes that states that two points that are thousands of light year apart can be connected by just a year of travel. finding these worm holes – astronomical short cuts – will be the key to feasible space travel.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  12. Mar's God

    I decided to kill all of the life on my planet. Join the club...

    March 28, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • I Am God

      How dare you call yourself God. I am the only God.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:55 am |
      • Mar's God

        What about Zeus and the crew? Where did they go? People just get bored of them or something? Those guys were pretty cool.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • I Am God

        Exactly Mar's God. What happened to like the Ancient Egyptian Gods, Babylonian Gods, Mayan Gods, and etc. etc. etc. It is just something wrong to have multiple Gods in the past and then all of a sudden have one God (after forcefully converting people).

        March 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
      • Universe God

        What the heck are you talking about? I have the last saying... I am the God of all Gods...

        March 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
      • Chuck Norris

        I am your God.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
      • JMO

        How dare you, blastphemer! Lemmy is God.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
      • When Worlds Collide

        Now, now, children. Play nice or I'll have to take away your lightning bolts and send you to bed until Andromeda after collides with the Milky Way.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
      • I Am God

        I am the only God. I will smite all of you to oblivion. LOL.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  13. Sark

    I don’t get this emphasis that life outside our planet would need water to survive. We need water to survive because we evolved on a planet that is abundant in water. Had we evolved on a planet that had an abundance of liquid methane we might have needed that to survive instead. It’s just such an absurd assumption considering we know NOTHING about life outside our planet.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • brick177

      A liquid provides the best medium for cellular life to exist. And water is one of the few media that is liquid at temperatures that don't break down protein chains (too hot) or lacks latent energy to promote the chemical reactions needed to create protein chains (too cold).

      March 28, 2012 at 11:57 am |
      • mb2010a

        For a carbon-based species, yes. But what if the alien life form is not carbon-based and instead based on copper or silicon or any of the other known elements?

        March 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
      • Artanis

        Because it isn't possible to have complex life forms based on an element other than carbon, and any cellular life based upon anything but carbon would be very bad at performing the chemical reactions nessesary to stay alive.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • pinostabaum

      we arent just looking for alien life. we are looking for worlds to colonize.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:57 am |
      • neal kelley

        thats right.. because at the rate the earth is being ruined we need some where else to go to pollute and rage war

        March 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Chuck Norris

      I require nothing in order to live....

      March 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • mcore

      The emphasis on water has to do with the fact that organic molecules (like those that make up all life on earth and probably on other planets) need to be suspended in a liquid solvent to interact and form new molecules. Water is a perfect solvent in that it stays liquid over a broad temperature range, among other useful properties. This doesn't exclude other solvents, it's just that water is the best one we know of to date. That and the fact that the building blocks of life are found to be pretty uniform across the universe. Everything we see out there is made of the same stuff and is governed by the same laws of physics that make up and govern the physical world here on earth.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • john

      true, to be truely alien to humans it would make sense that some other form of life might in fact need methane to survive... Scientists aren't stating that life can't exist outside of earthbound life's parameters, they just look for life similar to our own. I mean it's only logical to search for life based on what you know. Haha, i mean i would not have the slightest clue what exactly to look for other than what i know about life... lol

      Would you? What's more plausible, basing your research on evidence or imagination? lol

      Now once the Wolftons come down to bark "take us to your farms" don't think every scientist on the planet will start booking tickets to the landing site...

      March 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • JMO

      Water also floats when frozen. This is a rare property that prevents the solid form from sinking and killing the life that is trying to form on the seabeds.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • mb2010a

      Thank you and I agree...what you're talking about is called "Human Conceit". We humans have a tendency to think that we are the only "intelligent" life form and therefore the only planets in our galaxy that will have intelligent life will have humans as the dominant species. It's silly, really...

      March 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
      • john

        conceit, don't mistake that for lack of knowledge. you can't blame humans for "not knowing". Ignorance and conceit are two totally different things.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Eli

      There are places on earth devoid of water and only the simplest microbes can live there. While it is possible that other planetary conditions contrary to earths may exist the best chance for a life infested planet will be water and oxygen. Methane only takes liquid form at extremely cold temperatures.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son

      It has nothing to do with needing a liquid medium or chemical reactions. It’s because scientist believe water is necessary due to the only evidence we have of life requiring it. This is discussed on a number of educational programs. You are correct in stating it is an emphasis but it is not absolute. A scientist is open to all verifiable fact. We will look first were it is most likely to be based on our observation.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  14. the logical centrist

    I wonder how many potentially habitable planets are in the Pleiades part of the sky. This is where 'contactees' (whether you believe them or not) claim their aliens came from. This includes the controversial Bob Lazar who claimed he worked on a UFO at area 51.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Stephen

      I wouldn't be surprised if ole Bob was actually from mars...

      March 28, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • john

      contactees... pfft... the worst evidence. Most if not all of those types of people have some type of mental flaw, or commonality...

      Anybody can pick up an astronomy book and point a finger at a page... You could just as well pick another "random" star and state the same.
      Bob Lazar... lol. Whatever he worked on no doubt might have "seemed" alien to him if advanced enough. There's a big difference between fact and observation...

      March 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  15. Stephen

    How would a Christian respond if life is found on another planet? You'd think that might have been mentioned somewhere in the Bible.

    "Um, Herp Derp Derp..."

    March 28, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • I Am God

      As God I would say "I told you so."

      March 28, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Adam

      Actually, extraterrestrial life isn't mentioned in the Bible at all. This isn't a religious debate at all.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:50 am |
      • Stephen

        Adam...That's the point buddy. Good lord...I lose faith in humanity every time I read the comment section.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:53 am |
      • pinostabaum

        steven, there is no mention of the new world either. didnt stop missionaries from proselytizing in droves. i recommend reading the sci-fi novel "the sparrow"

        i am not a believer, but i fail to see why the absence of a topic in a holy book condemns the book or the belief.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
      • Vic

        I guess Stephen thinks the Bible needs to reference everything.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
      • xesor

        What about the Mormons? It is mentioned in the Bible.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
      • Stephen

        Yeah omitting the fact that God created life on other planets seems like a pretty darn big omission. It isn't as though we're talking about the Bible omitting the mention of a bowel movement that Jesus had two weeks before he was crucified.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Teddy

      I would say I still believe

      March 28, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Vic

      I'm not a Christian, but this is a horrible reason to dispute Christianity
      Just because it wasn't mentioned, doesn't mean the bible states Earth is the one and only.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
      • xesor

        What about the Mormons? It is mentioned in the Bible. You go Mitt !

        March 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
      • LetsThink123

        Hi Vic,
        Christianity has already been disputed and lost when it comes to astronomy. No point in disputing it in this article. Here's an example where astronomy easily shows that the bible is wrong.
        Science says: The Sun is much much older than the earth. Agree? Everyone knows this and astronomy proves it. The sun is about 4.57 billion years old, while the earth is 4.54 billion years old. The 0.03 billion years difference is large (30 million years)!
        However, in genesis, on the 1st day god created the earth. And on the fourth day (three days later), he created the sun and the stars. This is a huge error! Why would god create the sun after the earth? It's because genesis is a fairytale myth, and science proves this.
        There are other problems too. For instance, as mentioned earlier, god creates the sun + stars on the 4th day after the earth was created. We also know from astronomy that some stars were around much before our own solar system and sun existed. I can go on with the errors made by 'god' in genesis, but i'll leave it at that.
        The story of Christianity has now been moved to fiction as more and more truths about our universe are revealed by science (in this case astronomy).

        March 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
      • CB

        You may know Astronomy but you obviously don't know Christian apologetics. I suggest you read "God's Undertaker-Has Science Buried God?" by Oxford professor and Mathematician John C. Lennox. As far as your expertise about the "mistakes" made in Genesis, not every Christian believes that every word of the bible is literally literal. Much of it is allegorical and metaphorical.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • John

      The bible is a book about the relationship between God and humans. Very similiar to if you wrote a book about one of your parents. It would be from your perspective and expierences. Would that mean there is no way for you to have any siblings?
      There could be a million different intelligent lifeforms out there. How does that prove that God didn't create humans?

      March 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
      • JOHN

        And why would it be so far fetched to believe that one of these "old, evolved, super intelligent beings" did not come to our monkey world and open out eyes. AND THEN THERE WAS LIGHT! Then he instructed us that he gave us these gifts of conciousness, of love, and that it was him alone. A SCIENTIST NO DOUBT FOR HIS PEOPLE. And then he told them he would return. But knowing there are billions of other civilizations out there he warned them of them. He warned our new feeble minds about other evil cicilizations that may come seek us out. He warned us they would enslave us and that he would not be able to present us to his ruler if we have the competing mark"THE MARK OF THE BEAST" That we would be told by these "ALIENS" that it was them who helped evolve our brains so we could speak and remember. So we could have a life. He warned us and we passed it down for generations until it was written.

        He was a scientist in search of life when they found us. All of the UFO are probes. We send them out into space, why wouldnt they. we set up cameras and satellites so we can see creatures without disturbing them or contaminating them. Why wouldnt other intelligent ciclizations also send out probes and cameras. WAKE UP WE ARE NOT ALONE!!!!!

        March 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • mcore

      I had a Christian friend admit to me once that if they ever found extraterrestrial life anywhere, it would completely undermine his belief system. I told him it's only a matter of time before that happens. I also know fundamentalists who poo-poo the latest discoveries every chance they get because it does threaten them as it threatens the ridiculous notion that humanity is somehow "special" in the natural order of things. That's what it really boils down to: they are uncomfortable with the fact that humanity may just be an insignificant blip in the life of the cosmos.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
      • Universe God

        Jesus is gay... and he had two dads

        March 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
      • CB

        Universe the next time you feel like openly mocking God you may want to read Gal.6:7-8 first.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Marc

      "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

      The Bible doesn't define everything that was created, and where or how long it took. The word earth is not capitalized...therefore you cannot assume it means the planet Earth...it is lower case, for earth, or dirt, or the layers of ground below the surface. There could be earth on more than one singular surface that was created as part of the creation of the Heavens, as one could assume that the heavens mean all of the universe. Everyone assumes, and I think wrongly assumes, that the word earth is used to define our particular planet, but that may not be true.

      I'm no Bible thumper...and not 100% sure what I believe, but I also don't take the words of the Bible to mean exactly what they mean and that it is open to interpretation. Just because God said let there be light, doesn't mean that all the sudden the sun appeared and there was light...and when He differentiated Light and Dark, it doesn't mean that it was created on a 24 hour clock with 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark.

      Also, the Catholic Church has already provided an opinion on the matter: http://catholic.net/index.php?option=dedestaca&id=410

      March 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Bryan

      As a Christian, I find the likelihood of life on other planets to be exciting. I would be fascinated to learn about their spirituality, their sense of meaning, their sacred texts, awe, etc. No person of fiath should feel threatened by ET.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
      • xesor

        Well we would have to wage war with them, because I'm sure they are not worshiping our God.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  16. David Bowman

    All these worlds are yours – except Europa. Attempt no landings there.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • phearis

      My God.... It's full of stars.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  17. Truth

    With all due respect, regardless of how many planets are out there (of which there are an INFINATE amount that can sustain life...as our Universe has been scientifically proven to be expanding constantly...and the conditions to provide life aren't as complex as fist thought, considering the various forms of life possible)... shouldn't we really be more concerned with the one we're on -NOW-?

    Our planet is falling apart in the hands of our neglect and lack of empathy. She is being radiated, manipulated, and raped of her resources. Embrace Earth with love and compassion, and let's heal this beautiful rock before we worry too much about infecting another eden.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • intothemoonbeam

      Yes we should take care of our Earth but we should never abandon projects like this. As I've said in about 4 other replies today, we are taking the first step in discovering these worlds and the generations after us will take the next step. The first step is possibly the most important because the next steps will never happen without the first. Research like this is very important.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Jon

      Or you know... we could just wipe the earth dry and move on. Ya know... because we can.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • brad

      Actually, no, we are not destroying earth. What we are destroying is habbitat. Destroying habbitat will destroy species, including humans, but the earth will continue on even after our sun burns out. No, we are hurting nothing but ourselves.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • RocketJL

      Your thoughts have merit. However, under UN Agenda 21, if we don't act right away to reach the stars it will be too late. The environmentalists in the UN plan to 'eliminate' 90% of all humans living on planet Earth. UN Agenda 21 calls for an utopia that is limited to 500M people only on planet Earth. Think about that and do some research.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • MATT

      Go hug a tree hippie!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Russ

      Nice thought, but billions of people live on this rock and they require food, water, energy, and minerals to support them. Until the population decreases to a much lower level, the earth will be "raped" as you call it. I believe mankind has 200 years at most before one of the support systems crash and civilization comes to an end. Then, it will be back to the cave man days.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:54 am |
      • Darren

        So the solution is pretty simple. Limit and then reverse population growth. Loss of habitat is directly proportionate to human population. The world's resources are limited. 3rd world countries and other uneducated people are having 4,5,10 kids. People can't afford to support the kids they have, but they keep having them. It doesn't make sense. Humans are like parasites. We consume and consume leaving nothing but a wasteland in our wake. We should all feel a little guilty.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • jd

      so true.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  18. Michael

    Planets around red dwarfs would be tidally locked, one side always facing the star the other away. Weather at the terminator line would be ferocious. Planets that are tidally locked would be unlikely to have life.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Evskie

      False, if you know how being tidaling locked works then you know there will be some that are not.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • intothemoonbeam

      However, Red Dwarfs can live a very very long time. Much longer than our Sun, which means life has plenty of time to form, evolve and adapt to the very different conditions.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:47 am |
      • Schnauzertdad

        We've had 4.5 billion years to adapt...how well are WE doing? Not that much time left on planet Earth before the resources are gone and the surface is too hot to sustain human life. Would adding an extra couple billions years to our suns life really help us that much at this point?

        March 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Antares

      True. However, a moon orbiting a planet within the habitable zone of a red dwarf star would be tidally locked with that planet, not the star. So just like our own moon, it would undergo a period of rotation relative to the star which was roughly the same as its orbital period. So in the case of our own moon, one "day" is some 29 terrestrial days long, but it does nonetheless undergo diurnal temperature variation.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • spacenutz

      why would they HAVE to be tidally locked?

      March 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
      • Antares

        Because the thermal output of a red dwarf star is relatively small compared to its mass, the habitable zone (the distance from the star in which planetary surface temperatures are commensurate with liquid water) is very close to the star itself. Any planet-sized body close enough to the star to have liquid water on its surface would then necessarily be close enough to the star to be tidally locked with it.

        HOWEVER, it is not impossible that a planetary body outside the habitable zone and beyond the distance of tidal locking could still have liquid water below a layer of ice. This is the case in our own solar system on Saturn's moon Enceladus, three of Jupiter's moons (most notably Europa) and probably the asteroid Ceres.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  19. I Am God

    In my honest opinion (as God lol), they predict over a billion galaxies out there and maybe more. In each of those galaxies there are hundreds of billions of stars and they predict around each star there maybe a planet(s). Anyone that denies the fact that life is not remotely possible out there is just denying facts. NASA all ready believes they have found microscopic organisms on Mars (dead or alive who knows), but it proves that life out there exists. Although the chance of finding aliens in tribes, civilizations, or some sort of advanced race farther along than we are maybe remote; the fact remains life can exist in the universe. Denying things is just what holds back the human potential to move forward.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • iamnotgod

      Yes, I agree wholeheartedly . . . it would be absolutely absurd - and arrogant - to think we puny little humans are the only lifeforms to occupy the universe.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Russ

      Based simply on probability, there is civilized life out there. There are possibly a trillion stars in the Milky Way, but let's say the average per galaxy is 500 billion. There are possibly 500 billion galaxies. If only one in1 in 1000 stars had a solar system with a life sustaining planet, there would be 25 to the 19th possible places where some kind of life could exist. If only 1 in 1 trillion of those had a civilization, then there would still be 25 billion civilizations in the universe!

      March 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Schnauzertdad

      "Although the chance of finding aliens in tribes, civilizations, or some sort of advanced race farther along than we are maybe remote"...finding them would be remote because of the vast distances between stars, however,WITHOUT A DOUBT, we are not the most advanced species of life in the universe! To think we are the most advanced would be a kin to saying we are the only life forms, and to think that is arrogance at it's most extreme.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  20. jojo

    Isn't a red dwarf a dieing star? Doesn't a Red Dwarf already go through it's Red Giant stage proir to becoming a Red Dwarf, thus probably killing off all life on the planet like ours will do when it happens? The humans have to be long gone by then? Thus didn't life start because of the Nucleic Acids formed in the volital storms of the cooling of the earth. Am I missing something?

    March 28, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • brick177

      No. You are thinking of a White Dwarf (remnant of a supernova) and Brown Dwarfs (remnant of a red giant). Red Dwarfs started out as Red Dwarfs. And they are also the longest living stars since they burn through their fuel the slowest. Red dwarfs are actually the most stable systems for life, more stable than our system.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:42 am |
      • brad

        Actually, a supernova destroys a star, a white dwarf is the remains of a red giant, and brown dwarf is really just a giant planet that almost became a star, it just didnt have enough pressure to begin fusion.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:51 am |
      • MIkoid

        A red dwarf is the politically incorrect term for a Native American Little Person...

        March 28, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Andrew

      A white dwarf is a star that has died (usually via red giant then collapse phase). A red dwarf is a small cooler star that has the potential to exist longer than even our star because it burns it's fuel at a much slower rate.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • shane

      yeah, we get there, set up camp, everything is cool, and then a couple of weeks later... boom! lights out no more sun and we all die.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Stephen Ruhl

      No. A red dwarf star is a smaller star that's life time will exceed the current age of the universe. You are thinking of red giants, large stars which have exhausted their supply of Hydrogen and have switched over to burning Helium and other heavier elements.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • freeme10

      Yes, you are missing billions and billions of years between stages. Plus, why do you think there are humans on other planets? We are talking about life here, not just humanoids.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Paul

      No... a red dwarf is still main sequence.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  21. Evskie

    What humors me is all the naysayers out there that want to dispute exoplanets or the POSSIBILITY that life exists outside of earth.

    We have inderectly spotted hundreds of exoplanets true, however we have DIRECTLY spotted 2 super earths with our current telescope technology which the naysayers convienantly ignore.

    With the next generation of telescopes slated to be built and one that will be launched we will be able to DIRECTLY see even more planets and see even deeper into the universe. Since naysers will no longer be able to dispute that exoplanets exists our arguments will be about wether there is life off the planet earth or outside our solar system.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  22. John

    Okay, so they are light years away.... I don't think we will ever be able to get to them, so it's not THAT exciting.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Bilbo Boomerbottom

      If that doesn't excite you,you must be a slug!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:41 am |
      • John

        I mean its cool and all, but we will never live or get there. It's like, looking at a sweet cherry pie, but not being able to smell/touch or eat it!

        March 28, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • brad

      I can see your point, but we will reach them someday, me and you will be long dead before we even have the technology most likely. I read about science discoveries every day, and the rate at which we are learning is amazing. Trust me when I say, this technology could actually be found by the next generation. Technology will allow us to not only get their longer, but extend human life via health, and by maybe putting the crew to deep sleep, lowering their body temperature and so on. If it was a case of us leaving our plantet to keep out species alive, then we would have reason to build ships large enough to grow crops and raise families. The potention in the future is limitless.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Mr. Bojangles

      We'll never fly.
      We'll never break the sound barrier.
      We'll never put a man on the moon.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  23. Rick

    Considering the expanse of the universe, let alone the multiverse, this is by no means implausible. Billions would certainly seem to be a legitimate estimate.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  24. Rick

    Considering the expanse of the universe, let alone the multiverse, this is bu no means implausible. Billions would certainly seem to be a legitimate estimate.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  25. Righton

    Will Jezus have to visit each one and save their souls. He be one busy M.F.er.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Funky

      Funny

      March 28, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • CB

      Not judging your soul, but before you openly mock God, you may want to read Gal. 6:7-8.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  26. A

    I wish we didn't light up the night so much, we can't really even see the stars anymore. This modern world gives us the ability to calculate the locations and analyze the conditions leading to habitability of possible planets. But we have also lost our sense of all the possibilities that the stars present. Is not seeing them out there stopping us from wanting to reach them?

    March 28, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • IT Guy

      Get in your car and drive outside of town. It's really not that hard to see a starry sky.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  27. High Way

    If we ever get in contact where there is a planet with life, lets hope that we are technologically far advanced. Imagine being conquered and enslaved by an alien race. Risk and rewards will be at their extreme.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • momoya

      How can you possibly assume that?!? What if their "risks and rewards" are better than what we have now?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Varun

      Well, what if they had these creatures who look like our bikini super models and the punishment for us to make love to them?

      March 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  28. Dave

    Yeah. But the intelligent life on those planets are likely smeg heads...

    March 28, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Rimmer

      Whatever, Lister.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  29. DUH IS THE ANSWER

    "DUH"!

    March 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  30. RAGNAR RULER

    THE ONLY POSSIBLE ANSWER TO SUCH A SILLY QUESTION IS:

    "DUH"!

    March 28, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  31. Irish B

    When we discover a new being we would do the same thing we did every time we discover a new species...taste it.
    Lets just hope the species that discovers us is not as like us too much........

    March 28, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Davethecanuck

      We maintain good hygene, diet and health compared to other animals...
      Perhaps we are the Kobi beef of the galaxy!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:36 am |
      • vulpecula

        Most animals won't even eat humans because we are so nasty. We pollute our bodies like we pollute our world.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  32. WASP

    i say we need to stop wasting time and build a starship. we know how to do it and even have the resources. i'm certain plenty of people would be willing to take the trek to another world. as a planet it would galvanize us as a whole, leading to a hopeful new peace. if it takes a few life times to make the voyage so be it. machines in space could do most of the building and assembly, the finer things could be done by remote control robot or by humans in suits. we have the technology, we have the ability, question is do we have the drive to commit to such a task.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Chase

      I think we're 100 years from that. Good luck getting people to volunteer for such a mission. Living on a ship for the rest of their lives and making their children and grandchildren live on a ship is not something people will do. In 100 years if we can perfect cryogenic freezing or hypersleep or something like that while having the ship being run on automation for the 100ish year journey (assuming speed of light) then we'll make the journey.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Jake

      I Volunteer! Time to gear up🙂

      March 28, 2012 at 11:30 am |
      • Rob

        I'm with you Jake, lets do this!

        March 28, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Seraphim0

      Actually, we -don't- have the technology for such a long trek.

      Between needing to recycle oxygen for the extreme length of time it would take to get to another solar system, providing food and nuitrition, beyond radiation shielding being adequate for such a trip, beyond having to solve the issue of bone and muscle deterioration from such a long trip, beyond the fact that we would need massive storage space for fuel, food, and repair supplies, and beyond the fact that any hull breach from any accident could kill -everyone- on board... how many people would sign up for the one way trip? One that they would probably die on and not even reach the planet in question–their children, or children's children would.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
      • WASP

        @seraphim: i said in my orginal post that it would take generations to get there, but why wait until we are dead any how. a hule breach can be sealed, it's called human imagination we can see things in our minds and then create them in this world. if we can use our brains to build weapons of mass destruction that will out live all of human existance, why couldn't we build a starship?

        March 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Gumby

      Oh really? We can build a starship? We have lightspeed or faster-than-light speed travel all worked out? We have the technology to build a gigantic spacecraft with a self-sustaining ecology for centuries-long journeys?

      ROFL

      March 28, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Rick

      Ummmm we haven't even colonized a world in our own neighborhood yet let alone one that would take so long to get to. Besides, being on a spaceship that long would certain lead to negative physical repercussions. Already they are finding that just being on the space station for 6 months creates problems with peoples vision due to the retina changing its shape.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Bilbo Boomerbottom

      Let Starfleet Academy begin!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • WASP

      no we have the ability to build a ship. no we wouldn't be traveling faster then light or anywhere near that speed. yes we can create oxygen and sustain a large population of both plants, animals and humans; ever heard of a greenhouse or garden. equip each floor with green zones that have plants that absorb more then their share of carbon dioxide or have the walls with plants in planters running the length of the walls to provide oxygen. air filters are easily set up and can be cleaned and reused, most use charcoal anyhow. waste management is nothing that difficult to deal with, urine can be used for none consumption purposes after purified. artificle gravity can be created by a spinning internal hule. radiation shielding could consist of a thick lead plating with a water based section inbetween, any radiation level higher than that;ie gamma ray burst; you wouldn't have enough shielding reguardless how much shielding you applied. fuel isn't going to be gasoline run generators, we have nuclear submarines that never have to "refuel"; have back up reactors stored in a safe compartment on the ship and an ejector device incase you have a problem and need to get rid of the old one. humans have the tech and the ability but short sighted people hold back the human species.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
      • Community College Over Achiever

        You know humans can't survive in space for extended periods of time right? Our bones hollow and our muscles deteriorate as well as our brain.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
      • WASP

        @community: our bones don't hollow, they lose density; there is a difference. our muslces attrify due to lower than earth gravity. our brains work just fine. our eyes have problems due to lack of gravity......re-read my post. artificle gravity can be achieved to prevent physical attrify......plus it may the way most americans look i would say they could use the exercise; that's how astronauts combat loss of muscle mass.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • vulpecula

      I'd go. NASA would have to provide the women though. I like nerdy girls.🙂

      March 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Chanceofflight

      Nah, our so called "leaders" would rather spend money on wars to gain personal profit, rather than look for the best for humanity. And it's possible to set up communication satellites at random locations in space space now so by the time a ship gets out we can have fluent communication

      March 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  33. mommaearth

    Hopefully none of these other planets are infested with humans,maybe they have more intelligent species in charge like snakes and frogs.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Sarah

      Ummm, did you see "Body of Proof" last night? Your comment was freaky. Humans are not infestations. You're scarry.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:29 am |
      • Gumby

        Any group of organism that wreaks the kind of havoc on their surrounding environment that humans do can rightly be termed an "infestation".

        March 28, 2012 at 11:34 am |
      • Rick

        You're right, a virus is a more accurate term.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:41 am |
      • Agent Smith

        Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague, and we … are the cure.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
      • WV Gleeman

        We are more like a fungus.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  34. Doug

    Arthur C. Clarke said the end of religious belief would mark "Childhood's End" for the Human Species.
    Konstantin Eduardovitch Tsiolokovsky said Earth is the cradle of mankind but one cannot live in the cradle forever.

    The science fiction of Firefly, Star Trek and Babylon 5 are fairly good examples of our Destiny.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Jake

      Too bad we are slowed down by money hungry corps and politicians who only give a damn about themselves instead of moving civilization forward. Shame on our flawed and badly built economic system.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Bilbo Boomerbottom

      Right on,bro' and don't forget the late great Carl Sagan!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  35. rjp34652

    It is a constant source of humor to me to read and watch otherwise intelligent people hotly debate the formation of the universe.

    These folks quote all sorts of theories and facts. So far so good.

    Then they take a leap of faith into the blackness of outer space and just as willingly accept science fiction stories and myths as reality, stating firmly and seriously that there are, indeed, lots of little ET planets everywhere. Then, to justify their daydream, they cough up exhaustive numbers that no one understands to support their fantasy.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that any planet except our own is capable of supporting life. Period. If there is, please supply celestial co-ordinates. I'm sure the world will eagerly await your special revelation.

    Someday we may discover another earth type oasis in the emptyness of space, but for now any conjecture is simply unsupported irresponsible guesswork. You might, however, be able to take your theory to Hollywood to be used in a new blockbuster screenplay. That's where dreams live. Not in the real universe, though.

    Wake up people. Elvis is dead and ET doesn't exist.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Davethecanuck

      Someone needs a better understanding of probability and the scientific method.

      However, the fermi paradox does seem to support your skepticism... so far.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • wmskadder

      You need to come from the confines of your cellar and take a class in "Positive Thinking". I take it your life is going nowhere fast my friend and that your not a progressive thinker, just a boring shell of a person not able to communicate one on one, your bravery comes from the written form.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Golden Record

      I think it's fair to say that you think very small.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Chase

      Trillions of trillions of planets in the Universe. You're right...ET doesn't exist. We're the only ones.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:24 am |
      • Sylar

        Because that is what Jesus told him.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • JonnyJive5

      They're not saying it's not guess work. Are you aware that all concrete scientific theories, such as the theory of gravity, were originally just "educated guess work" on paper until tests could prove them? It doesn't seem all that outlandish to the scientifically-minded that clear evidence of billions of planets in our own galaxy alone raises the chances of life being out there somewhere. True, we haven't found it yet but you're nay-saying echoes of "the world is flat, just look at the horizon you idiots!"

      March 28, 2012 at 11:25 am |
      • Falling F A R from the Tree

        Last time I checked, they aren't really sure what causes gravity...it doesn't really fit into the standard model nor do they understand why it is so weak. There is speculation about gravitons and Higg's Boson particles (which make for very entertaining science fiction). And while it is one of the weakest forces in the universe, it has a huge impact. So just because we don't have scientific evidence how something works, doesn't mean it doesn't work. Just because we don't have evidence of life existing somewhere else, doesn't mean it's not there. It just means we don't have evidence.

        Think about it, a guy in the 17th century was daydreaming out into a garden when he saw an apple fall. From that little inspiration he eventually developed very good equations for describing gravity's effects. All it took was a little imagination. He didn't have to understand the mechanism for why it worked, but he could observe how it affected objects. Now we've discovered that life on this planet is tenacious, and we're still discovering new life forms here, and in places we never thought life could exist. The calculations of the number of wolds out there has some basis in fact (which is ever-changing based on our growing observations), as well as imagination and outright guesswork. But the numbers in any case are staggering for the amount of worlds out there. Even the most basic understanding of stellar development would undertand how likely it would be for planets to form in most systems.

        Then it is simply considering probability...with all of the combinations of planets and environments, it becomes almost statisically impossible for life NOT to exist out there. It's a big universe out there, so Fermi's Paradox while a good question, doesn't surprise me that we've not yet seen evidence for life. It's likely that life takes about the same amount of time to develop everywhere, and even if there are systems with head starts due to being formed earlier than our system, those might be far out of reach even if the life had evolved faster than light travel for us to ever have contact with them. Even in "nearby star systems" the distances are vast. So the lack of evidence doesn't lead to the conclusion that therefore there is no life out there. It just means we have no proof that life doesn't exits somewhere in some form, only that we've not seen any evidence to support that life exists.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Seraphim0

      Wow. It cracks me up to read a post like yours. Statistically, the probability of one planet out of trillions in the universe supporting life, and being the ONLY planet capable of supporting life is utterly laughable.

      They are not saying there is DEFINITELY life on these planets. Read it again and practice your comprehension. They are looking for planets within the habitable zones of their stars– this means planets that can sustain water without it being permanently frozen or boiling away. Mercury, for example, is NOT in the habitable zone of our solar system. Earth, however, is. They have not said that "yes, we know for certain this planet can contain or does contain life." Read it again if that's what you think you read in the article.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • intothemoonbeam

      I agree that intelligent technological life is probably pretty rare, but it's out there. However, life itself is more than likely very prevalent in our galaxy as is the probability of a planet with earth-like conditions.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Al

      You state that life beyond earth doesn't exist so definitively. Likewise, unless you can prove it, you can't say for certain that life doesn't exist beyond earth. People used to be just as certain that the earth was flat or that it was the center of the universe...

      March 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Rationalintn

      It is a constant source of humor to me to read and watch otherwise intelligent people hotly debate their faith in an inerrant bible.
      These folks quote all sorts of scriptures as facts. So far so good.

      Then they take a leap of faith into the blackness of outer space and just as willingly accept mythological-like stories as reality, stating firmly and seriously that there are, indeed, a father, son, and holy ghost who are actually just one person in a holy trinity. Then, to justify their daydream, they cough up exhaustive "evidence" from a book compiled by a group of men locked in a room 341 years after their supposed savior sacrificed himself for their sins, that no one understands to support their fantasy.

      There is no evidence whatsoever that "Mary" was a v ir gin or that Jesus was born on December 25th, and is the biological son of God. Period. If there is, please supply the DNA evidence. I'm sure the world will eagerly await your special revelation.

      Someday we may discover another earth type oasis in the emptyness of space, but for now any conjecture is simply unsupported irresponsible guesswork. You might, however, be able to take your theory to Hollywood to be used in a new blockbuster screenplay. That's where dreams live. Not in the real universe, though.

      Wake up people. Elvis is dead and ET doesn't exist.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Davethecanuck

      I'd also add that there is plenty of evidence to support the existence of a planet CAPABLE of supporting life...
      see extremophiles and Kepler-22b.
      Whether life would spontaneously develop on other planets is another story.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • DUH IS THE ANSWER

      What a silly post!

      Simplye because we have NO evidence so far , does NOT mean "aliens" do NOT exist. Simply by the laws of parobability, THEY MUST EXIST.

      YOU NEED TO WAKE UP AND THINK A LITTLE!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Rick

      You are wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start. Just recently it was reported that a planet was found circling a star similar to ours at a distance which could support life like ours in terms of temperature. Whether it had an atmosphere we'd like is another matter but considering the infinitesimally small number of planets seen so far and the enormous amount out there I'd say that's a pretty good indication that billions of inhabitable planet is in the realm of possibility. You do know how big our universe is right?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Michael Belanger

      Not that I agree with rjp but he raises a decent point We do actually have to know where we are going, especially if we're all asleep in cryo tubes. From our point in space we'd need to head directly for a planet that we "KNEW" could support life. Being off by even a fraction of a % of a degree might leave us eventually stranded, or waking up at the designated time in deep dark space with no way to any new home. No, the time is not ripe to head to the stars. The time is however ripe to figure out how to do it by colonizing close to home. The moon and then Mars...just tell the petroleum industry that Mars once had an Earth like environment and they'll be figuring out how to drill there within a few years.

      I'm up for that although my wife will take some convincing. I'm at least ready for Moonfleet Academy!

      March 28, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  36. mecatfish

    Aliens dont come here from distant star systems. Their star (Nibiru) comes to us every 3600 years (the bible calls it wormwood). When they come near, its just a skip to our planet...we all will see, Very Sooon.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • intothemoonbeam

      Please never mention Nibiru again. It's not real

      March 28, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • DUH IS THE ANSWER

      THE BIBLE? HA HA HA HA HA HA. POOR YOU!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • lolwut

      With as many telescopes pointed at the sky, folks would have seen it by now if it exists. One current solar system formation theory holds that Sol has not been part of a multiple star system for a very long time (Billions of years).

      Your mythical star does not exist.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  37. B

    You do know that "M class" is a term made up by Star Trek.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • I Am God

      You do know that Star Trek got "m-class" from NASA way back then right?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Okie

      M Class in reference to planets may be a term made up by science fiction, but M class in reference to stars is from the Harvard Spectral Classification system and has been around a lot longer than Star Trek.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Bobby

      I'm pretty sure that stellar classifications, including the designation of M Class stars has been around since the late 1800s, just a wee bit prior to Star Trek.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  38. AmericanFreeek

    What I am looking forward to most, is when we establish contact with some other intelligent species and they inform us that they have the exact same God. Yes, that will be a very good time!

    March 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • mcp123

      ...and if they have determined their is no omniscient omnipotent omnipresent being what will you do then?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:22 am |
      • brick177

        Theoretically, it is possible there exists a species that is omnisicent, omnipotent, and omnipresent. We might someday be that species as well.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Montello

      Which god are you referring to? Every religion seems to think that their god is the only god, which has provoked more conflict, death, and misery on this planet than any other factor. Hopefully if we ever make contact with another civilization, we will find that they have progressed beyond all that.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • WASP

      @freeek: you do know your very statement makes god irrelevent seeing in genesis god only created two humans; not a single mention of another species anywhere in your fantasy book. so if alien life does happen to show up on our doorstep......i'm heading underground because the dark ages will return as religious folks realize they have been lied to and used by their religious leaders.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  39. Search for Exoplanets is Gay

    The search for exoplanets is really a gay space quest:

    http://syncmyworld.blogspot.com/2010/01/china-bans-camerons-gay-avatar.html

    March 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Evskie

      and in other news, the earth is flat and at the center of the solar system.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  40. Richard

    Hinduism has been saying this from thousand of years! It also has the secrets and knowledge of universe and how it is infinite! Look in to those scriptures of this world's oldest religion rather than spending trillions of dollars! Why reinvent the wheel?

    March 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Seraphim0

      For scientific advancement, for one? The universe is also not infinite.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Oberver

      richard, you are so right about Hinduism

      March 28, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  41. JustPlainJoe

    Perhaps:

    The human race is unique......just like all the others.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  42. Golden Record

    What if in 400 years we have the ability to make it to one of these planets. We do, and find a humanoid species that is equal to that of the ancients here on Earth thousands of years ago? And what if we give them a little technological boost to see what they're capable of and study them? What if they come to believe we're “the” Gods? As civilizations disperse and through millennia the story changes, the history, and accounts vary from one civilization to another until they all have their own unique version of the same story. Through the millennia this humanoid species advances well beyond the expectation of their "Gods". In time they develop the capability to reach out and search for others with in their solar system. Ultimately they do, and find a humanoid species that is equal to that of the ancients from their own planet thousands of years before. They decide to give them a little technological boost to see what they're capable of and study them.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • marty

      That was done already.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:14 am |
      • Jovan

        Uh...I think that's what he was inferring lol #facepalm

        March 28, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Jane

      We cant even take care of our own planet. I do believe there is other lifeforms "out there". My hope is that before we are capable of sustainable space travel that we will start taking care of the home that we have

      March 28, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • intothemoonbeam

      Sounds like Battlestar Galactica. Except you left out the part of the intelligent robots revolting against their creators.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • MEDONE

      please take your meds!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Baggs

      Yes, that would be quite a Space Odyssey.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Golden Record

      LMAO!!!! you guys need to chill out.. I was entertaining myself.. Everyone knows storks dropped us all off in our parents house.

      Or was it an invisible cosmic Jewish zombie can make you live forever if you eat his flesh, drink his blood, and telepathically tell him you accept him as your Master, so that he will remove an evil force from your soul which was put their because a woman made from a rib was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. I see no problem with that theory... do you?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  43. Garrett

    I think we are getting setup here by the government. They are slowly leaking out and hinting the possibility of discovering extra-terrestrial life that is just as or more advance than us. Well.. that just a possibility... How can we ever know if the government is keeping a secret like that from us or not? Anyways though... Obviously that if there are billions of planets that may or could sustain life...that must at least ensure us that there are millions of different life forms out there.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • travislg

      I'd almost guarantee that life exists elsewhere. The Universe is just too big for us to be alone. We can't even see the full scope of the Universe as it is expanding faster than the speed of light.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:12 am |
      • Alex Eastman

        just so you know even if the universe is expanding faster than light we can still see all of it considering the speed an object is traveling has no effect on how fast the light coming out of it is going it will always travel at the speed of light

        March 28, 2012 at 11:34 am |
      • CJM

        Expanding into what?

        March 28, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • marty

      stop rambling – this is science not government. you can make up your own conclusions based on the evidence presented. I believe we are not alone, but I also believe the distances involved are an effective barrier.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Rogue351

      News flash – The government is not behind everything. There is not always a cover up. You along with the people that believe we never went to the moon are paranoid. I will admit that governments make mistakes. And on occasion they make big ones. But to distrust them completely is paranoid. They are not looking into your life ever second of ever day. They are not listening to your phone calls just so what you intend to buy at the grocery store. Get it ? Your just not that important. Now on the other hand if you are breaking the law then you might actually have something to worry about. But for the "NORMAL" person your statement sounds like you have been listening to Glenn Beck way too much.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  44. chip

    We will never go to one. Kind of pointless. We should focus on our own planet and solar system. It's ridiculous to think we'll go to another planet or make contact with aliens (if there are any; who may or may not be hostile; and may or may not be willing to communicate with us) when we can't even get a permanent base on our moon or a nearby planet.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Chase

      Humans have been on Earth for approx. 250,000 years. Only in the past 60 years have we turned our attention to space travel. These are the baby steps we're taking today so that in a few thousand years mankind will be able to travel to distant planets and stay there. We're not doing all this work for our generation, we're doing it for the future.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:10 am |
      • chip

        Pouring a bunch of resources into finding other planets when we cannot even get off our own is putting the cart before the horse. Like I said, focus on our own solar system. Technology will continue to improve and we'll be able to be more certain about the existence and habitability of distant planets. Faster than light travel would be necessary before we could even think about getting out of our solar system. At the speed of light it would literally take generations to get to the closest planet, and I don't think we'll ever achieve it. Indeed, I could be wrong. We should prioritize is all I'm saying, and if it does become theoretically possible, we will at least be more prepared.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Evskie

      NEVER is a bad word to use when describing the human race.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • intothemoonbeam

      Wrong. It's not pointless.Yes it's impossible for us right now to go to these places but we need to start somewhere. We are taking the first step by discovering these places and the generations after us will take the next step. We are taking the first step. Keep that in mind.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:11 am |
      • chip

        Going to the moon and creating a permanent base would be a lot more useful, and beneficial to space exploration and advancement than looking for planets hundreds of light years away.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:24 am |
      • vulpecula

        there is nothing on the moon to make it worth wild. How about the moon of Jupiter that recently was shown to have vast amounts of water under ice. There are volcanoes that cover much of the planet in what appears to be snow.

        http://www.space.com/8487-jupiter-moon-ice-covered-ocean-rich-oxygen.html

        March 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • BK

      None of them that could get here could possibly be hostile. Any tech that would allow that sort of space travel would be too easy to blow up one's own planet with, and thus any civilization using it for space travel would have to be alarmingly passive.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:12 am |
      • chip

        Really? We travel in space, albeit not very far, and there is certainly no shortage of crazies on earth. The idea that achieving distant space travel would change our human nature simply does not follow. It also does not follow that because they're passive to each other that they would exhibit the same behavior to other races.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:30 am |
      • JusDav

        Unless they DID blow up their planet due to hostile nature... in which case, look out!! they are coming here. LOL
        of course there is life elsewhere. How conceited could one be to think that they are the only smart "chimp" (or slug, or cricket or maybe even plant type) in the entire universe.
        cheers
        JusDav

        March 28, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • cptpooppants

      Golden rule: Never say never.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:13 am |
      • chip

        You just did.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • momoya

      A better baby step, in this case, is to go investigate some of the moons in our own solar system that might support life.. If Europa and/or Io have life (even if it is bacterial), then life is all over the universe.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:15 am |
      • WASP

        @momo: hello again. europa is being explored. nasa sent a probe with a drill/sub to drill for liquid water beneth all that ice. may find something cool down there. (fingers crossed) lol

        March 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • wmskadder

      With that kind of negativity I can why you live in the cellar of your home. Your such a positive person

      March 28, 2012 at 11:19 am |
      • chip

        Really? How could you possibly conclude that from what I wrote. I'm certainly not in a cellar.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Metropolisgeek

      Chip, you're right. We won't go to another "habitable exoplanet" in our lifetime, or in our children's lifetime, etc. But, 500 years ago the humans on this planet were convinced it was flat and the idea of traveling from Europe to America was nonexistent, because for those of that time, America did not exist. The first step is discovery. And that is what this is!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:35 am |
      • vulpecula

        Actually, for the natives, it did exist.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  45. Dizzy

    Regardless, in the grand scheme of thing's, we are but a mere speck.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  46. travislg

    I would love for Curiosity to find some type of life, at least an extinct microbe. This would prove that life is much more prevalent and adaptable than people think. I wonder if this would debunk peoples' religious views or at least open their mind to other alternatives.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • JusDav

      open the minds of religious people... umm isnt that an oxymoron? kind of.....
      of course not all religious persons.. only 99.9999999% of them.
      LOL humor people, humor.

      cheers
      JusDav

      March 28, 2012 at 11:39 am |
      • CB

        Religion is now destroyed. OK JusDav, please enlighten us with the "new" blueprint for a utopian society. (someone cue the crickets).

        March 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Scott

      Really? Do people actually believe in a God so weak and limited as to only have the power to place life upon one planet out of billions? That's strange. And you actually think that life on other planets would shake people's religious beliefs, rather than confirm them? Is there some reason you yearn for an assurance that what others believe is not true?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  47. My two cents

    Not that I'm a very religous person (more spiritual then religious) but remeneber Newton's Laws:
    All things in motion stay in motion, all things at rest stay at rest. Maybe it was God who started the motion (The big bang theory)....
    My two cents

    March 28, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • KK Denver

      TEND to stay in motion

      March 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • DT

      ...a good two cents!!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Hiram

      Exactly ! This is why there is no clash between Science and Religion on these matters. It's some of the Fundamentalists that create a tempest in a teapot, when they try to limit God by their (totally Human) Dogma.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • jdr24

      This is pretty much the same logic Thomas Aquinas made in his first mover argument. And KK's response is similar to the atheist response, that a chain can be infinite and not require a first action.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:20 am |
      • jdr24

        Used, I should say, not made. But no matter which stance you take, it's always interesting to see scientific arguments for God existing. I really enjoyed studying Aquinas's philosophies. One of the few electives I enjoyed taking outside of my Mech. Eng. major.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  48. Chauncey

    To all those who are citing the bible.

    Your faith = My law of averages.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • DT

      Law of Averages=statistics=anything you want it to be= idiotically =belief=religion=God...ah full circle my friend. Any other mind teasers you need?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Dizzy

      Man, am I glad I came across you. Please answer this. No one else can. This whole "law of averages" you speak of, please explain to me how it is that humans were the only species on this planet out of millions and millions that "evolved" to the intellectual level that we posses today? I mean, no other species comes close to us. If we can go to the moon, why hasn't the chimp invented an automobile yet? I mean come on. You would think something would be close to us considering the "law of averages". Dude, I've been looking for an answer to this for a long time. Please......

      March 28, 2012 at 11:12 am |
      • marty

        Every race has a winner. Humans are merely the first to achieve this level of development. Please be assured if we disappear, some other creature will evolve to our level given enough time. Your question is meaningless.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:21 am |
      • Dizzy

        Marty....is this a fact that you can cite in a book or is this your opinion. The intellectual spectrum between us and all other species on this planet is huge. I would ponder your suggestion if something else was even close to us, but they are not. We are far, far superior and I don't think that was chance. But that's just me.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:25 am |
      • Astro Major

        Theoretically speaking, more than one intelligent species cannot exist at a time in the same space (planet) because one would feel threatened by the existence of the other and ultimately destroy it. In early stages of intelligence (in which I still consider humanity to be), hostility is the only response to the stimulus of another sentient species, as there would be no feasible way to communicate with one another early on.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
      • Dizzy

        And Marty, I forgot to point out that I speak of a species.....not a race.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
      • I'm The Best!

        Chimps come pretty close. Them and us are the only two with thumbs that have the dexterity to build something. A chimps muscles have evolved to have more strength than the precision to make a knife from a rock. Study evolution more and you'll have a better explanation.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
      • Dizzy

        Astro, you can understand why I have a problem with that taking into consideration I'm, nor is most the people I know, hostile people.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:34 am |
      • Kev

        Man became the dominant species first. Then caged and killed other species to make sure we stay dominant. We keep other species unintelligent as to show we are the dominant ones. Can you imagine what would happen if we found a tiger building a car? We would cage it, study it, and kill it. Thats just how evolution has made us. We kill anything that can make us look stupid. And to those that think there is no life on other planets, get a grip.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:39 am |
      • Dizzy

        I'm the best.....it appears that you and I have a much, much different opinion of "intellectual simularity". I mention going to the moon and you mention making tools from rocks. Please explain to me how that is simular?

        March 28, 2012 at 11:39 am |
      • I'm The Best!

        You first must build tools before a spaceship. Building precise tools is the first step towards the intelligence needed to build complex technology. The human race has had thousands of generations to build off a basic tool because we had the ability to do so in the first place. We as a species needed to build off our own ideas to survive. The evolution of the human race answers your question. Study it and you'll have your answer. (better than what I've supplied here.)

        March 28, 2012 at 11:57 am |
      • Sharkdude

        Law of averages can totally mislead one if the cross section being averaged is not large enough to create an accurate result. I would say we do not have enough information to assume that other species may evolve to be more intelligent. Keep in mind, one of the main reasons we are intelligent is by chance we learned how to cook meat which rendered large muscles in the front of our heads obsolete. This lead to the development of frontal lobes where we do most of our critical thinking. I think it is also safe to say the evolving into intelligence of environmental manipulation is luck rather than an end result so it is very likely that there is NO techo intelligent life in the entire universe but very likely there is life somewhere in its own evolutionary stages.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:59 am |
      • Chris

        Dizzy – we are only a few major tweaks in our DNA from chimps. Thats all the difference in the world. It does not take much. Neanderthal could have easily been here, or some other version of Hominid.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Yes1fan

      Law of averages fails to explain an original, initially launched, event.
      With a single event, there is no basis for statistics in that situation.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  49. Think about it

    So if space is infinite (which it must be because if it were to stop somehwere, what would be beyond that?) wouldnt there be an infinite amount of planets that could support life? Further, with an infinite amount of planets that could support life, there is not only a chance that there is a planet somewhere out there that has molecules arranged in exactly the same arrangement as earth does right now (thus creating a exactly parallel world in which i'm typing the same thing) but there are infinite parallel planets where exactly the same thing is happening as is happening here right now. Blow your mind?

    March 28, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Andy

      All this infinite talk is pretty basic. "Space" may be infinite depending on how you define it. The universe on the other hand, is probably finite since it is expanding and is flat (at least that's the current consensus).

      March 28, 2012 at 11:08 am |
      • DT

        Infinity is not reality here. The space that we can work within is, and space, time, and now the 11 dimensions that physics are working within. Space is not linear anymore. It has not 4 (x,y.z, time) anymore but 11...so, get your helmet on. All is changing.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Nodule

      No two planets would ever be the same. One choice by one person could change the entire outcome of a planet and the choices that people in that planet make.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:10 am |
      • KK Denver

        The concept of infinity contradicts your argument. If space is infinite all that exists has an infinite number of copies (I know I said infinity is not a number but I can't think of a different way of phrasing it)

        March 28, 2012 at 11:14 am |
      • DT

        ...true, unless parallel existences are in place. This is not Star Trek anymore. Pure physics. 11 dimensions must exist, and right next to us, pure math and pure theory. google it and you will see, and I am still catching up like the rest of the world. though, good thinking and observations on your behave. you will see what i am saying if you google the 11 demensions of modern physics. enjoy.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • notsofast

      absurd..................

      March 28, 2012 at 11:14 am |
      • DT

        not so much...

        March 28, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • JoJo

      What blows my mind is how humans create BS and assumptions to fill in the blanks of the unknown. It's entirely possible we may not have the intelligence or brain power to ever be able to understand some of these things.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  50. ChrisRhumor

    Interesting thing is that its only a matter of time before we are able to reach intelligent alien life. Once we are able to start pinpointing exactly where these possible" life sustaining" planets are, we can start directing communications in those exact directions. Exciting stuff! Unfortunately, we are still another 100 yrs or so off from doing this... =(

    March 28, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Scott

      Actually, NASA is confident that we'll be able to confirm an Earth-sized planet within the Goldilocks zone in the next couple years. We've already done the two seperately.
      As for directing comms their way, that is a subject for debate, whether we should do it at all.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • marty

      We can do that today. However, what if the aliens are really like the Borg – would we want to announce our presence and technical abilities ?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  51. momoya

    There's so much life out in the universe that our planet isn't even worth slowing down to get a closer look at. If "aliens" do know about earth, they probably think, "Who cares? There's 100 planets with more interesting life and geology within a few light years of us." Even if there's only a few planets per billion stars, and a few life-supporting planets per billion planets–that's still billions and billions of planets with life.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  52. Jeff

    billion's may be capable of sustaining life... but only one is stuck with an Obama. Why us....?

    March 28, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Chris

      Only a _____ would pollute a science topic with politics like that.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • KK Denver

      Because we have evolved to use reason and elected the most reasonable man in decades

      March 28, 2012 at 10:59 am |
      • Anon_Tama

        I don't think so Denver Boy....... Looks like an education may be in need here....

        March 28, 2012 at 11:06 am |
      • KK Denver

        Anon_Tama: you're pathetic. please educate me with any reasonable argument since you're oh so wise.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:10 am |
      • Scott

        killed osama, toppled gaddafi, Didnt screw up a hurricane, finally stopped what bush implemented before inauguration.Which is why for the last three years our deficit has been bleeding, prevented 2nd great depression, Oh and also is making people as of now pay back unemployment to state and the feds if there on it past a year. Everyone can find a job if they quit being lazy ass____s. Heres hoping that his proposed drug screens for welfare go through!

        March 28, 2012 at 11:22 am |
      • DT

        Anon Tama...political positioning, earthly BS, no matter what your vote or religion equates...and you couple that with universal thinking? One of two things are possible here. One, this is a job, and yes, it is funny!! Or two, you are serious in forwarding your most philosophical thinking's...and that truly would require some basic education....like grade...say...3..

        March 28, 2012 at 11:26 am |
      • anotherview

        welcome to the age of reason. great answer. old, rich, white men from the GOP have robbed us all for centuries.

        And, I'm a poor, old white man myself.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • DT

      You are obviously pure enlightenment. One who can really get to the core of the issue and sees outside of the box. NOT!
      My God, get your head out of your ass and see that the world is not alllll about the US of A, we are not number ONE, we are small in the universe, and you, being the smallest!! Oh, PS, I am a Republican.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • cptpooppants

      Go troll somewhere else loser!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:10 am |
      • DT

        ...okay banjo player..."getter' done"...see you in the coal mines...

        March 28, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Scott

      Its ok, he is probably a southern baptist as well! So lets just be glad he did not say that Jesus "aint" no alien life form or something of that nature.

      I was born, raised, and currently living in NC. So I can tell by the comment what group to lump you in.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:14 am |
      • DT

        Nope...Canadian, ...you know, liberal, and help there own, and don't eat their family, neighbours, excuse me, neighbors, companys and society for Wall Street....we love you guys to the south, believe it or not. You ARE our bread and butter. We know that, but come on...think man think. Its easy and free, well for a while anyway. God bless America. Dt

        March 28, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Scott

      Obama > MW3

      March 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  53. itoldyouso10

    I always find it interesting that red dwarfs are the most common type of star, yet Earth orbits a yellow dwarf, a rarer type. Anyway, I think it is rather exciting that red dwarves are a very likely candidate...if we orbit a rarer type of star and there could be billions of worlds around the most common M-class, then that also may increase the likely hood that there could be habitable planets around almost any class of star anywhere. Not that I am saying there is and we won't know until we look, but the odds have now increased for finding "Terra Nova" or "Earth 2" exponentially!!!

    March 28, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  54. Norm

    Let's find one that supports life first before we talk about millions/billions. So far Kepler hasn't even found one decent candidate. For the person who said there is nothing special about Earth, guess you don't read much. Earth is a "miracle planet:" (History Channel, Nat Geo or science channel?), and if these astrobiologists are honest they will admit there are uncountable variables that had to occur for any life, let alone intelligent life to arise. But of course they too have budgets to justify.
    I and many others think the universe is more complicated, amazing and awe inspiring than most of you realize. There is nothing easy, simple or inevitable about life here or elsewhere. Remember, "Star Trek" really is just a fairy tale. Though I love it so. Just don't be so gullible when someone tells you how important their research is when in all likelyhood they are justifying their careers. I do think it may solve one of the mysteries of the universe, but not yet.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • momoya

      We can't possibly know if earth is a "miracle planet' or not precisely because we haven't been able to study planets like earth for various reasons.. For all we know, planets like ours, with life, may be all over the place.. Your statements are ridiculous unless you have a lot more data than the scientific community.. In fact, they sound more like statements of faith modeled after similar ones found in some sort of god belief or other.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
      • Norm

        Everything I wrote above is based on my own education, readings, research and the views of scinetists. I am an accomplished amatuer astronomer. I do believe a higher intelligence is possible if not likely. I want to leave my mind open for all possibilities. The term "miracle planet" is from a series on History, or Nat Geo, I'm not sure. If you don't realize, or know the many variables that were needed for life to exist too, you need read/ watch more on the subject. Everything from the need for at least 2 supernovas, gas giants, tetonic plates, large moon, on and on were needed for our form of life to exist on this planet.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Otto

      We're barely smart enough at this point to be able to rule out that life exists or may have existed on Mars. Its entirely reaonable for scientists (people who actually study science, not just watch science based TV shows) to reason that if habitable zones can be found around other stars, that life on them is possible if not likely.
      Unless we get lucky (read: work hard), its unlikely we will find life within the solar system in our lifetimes. Only indirect methods of finding extra solar life is likely due to the distances involved.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:09 am |
      • Norm

        Not as hard as you think Otto. The next generation of telescopes will have spectroscopes that will be able to analyze an atmosphere of an exoplanet, which would tell us if there is methane, oxygen, etc in the air, which would be signs of life. We don't need to go there, just be able to "see" there.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
      • fu9l

        There is life on mars alreay been proven while its not life like a person it is plant life....

        March 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
      • Norm

        Not true Fu. Initially some NASA scientists said they discovered some microscopic life, and even had pictures. It was subsequently refuted by other astrobiologists as probably just a formation. Life in our solar system would not be as meaningful as around another star, though I agree still very profound.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  55. unafy

    yes even more than that, we came from another planet and we will going to another planet.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  56. stephanie

    There ARE planets that sustain life intelligent life and they have been visiting us for a long time.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Jeremiah

      That is not true, the bible would have told us of our brothers and sisters in the universe.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:55 am |
      • KK Denver

        Angels?

        March 28, 2012 at 10:58 am |
      • Guess What

        It did

        March 28, 2012 at 11:02 am |
      • Minniyar

        Ezekiel saw the wheel in the sky, perhaps it was visitors from another world.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:04 am |
      • YOUR MUM

        The bible is a pile of bollocks, and you are a complete retard for believing that utter nonsense. Your religion is about as viable as the tooth fairy. This is a Scientific debate, which means you and your stone age beliefs need to crawl back into you cave and keep the noise down.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:04 am |
      • Sanjay

        /\/\ Is this a joke or do you really believe that the bible would have told you the same...lol /\/\

        March 28, 2012 at 11:06 am |
      • DT

        Yea...see the attached and you will see it ALLLL over the Bible..Your welcome.

        http://www.openbible.info/topics/nephilim

        March 28, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • PushingBack

      Amen sista!

      March 28, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • serge

      Yes, and they all tell each other Don't stop there, they even kill each other, no wonder what they would to to us...

      March 28, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Chris

      Pull your tin foil down more – your ears are showing.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  57. Sid Airfoil

    Lots of commenters are concerned that we'll never see these planets unless we figure out how to travel faster than light (FTL). But merely traveling NEAR the speed of light will make it possible, it seems to me. At relativistic speeds time dilation would reduce the time experienced by the astronauts during the flight. It might take 100 years from Earth's POV, but it would take considerably less from the traveler POV. The math is too complicated for me to figure, but maybe someone could tell us how much time would be experienced by astronauts traveling at 0.95c over a distance of 50 light years assuming reasonable rates of acceleration and deceleration.

    Sid

    March 28, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Former Astronomer

      A slightly different approach is usually assumed for this calculation. Instead of a constant speed of a fraction of c, assume that the ship accelerates at a constant rate (usually 1g, so the passengers will be comfortably at their earth weight) until it is half-way there, then decelerates at the same rate for the second half of the trip, so it will be back to the same reference frame as the target planet. The answer turns out to be about two years of subjective time to make the one way trip–easily doable in a human lifetime. Bonus: It doesn't matter how far you're going, the time dilated subjective time is always about 2 years!. Downsides: Back home, the trip still takes about twice the full light travel time. So going 30 light years takes about 60 years, and a round trip would be 120. Everybody you knew back home has died of old age when you get back, unless they invented an immortality serum while you were gone... Also, the fuel requirements are enormous, making ships like this very hard to build.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:09 am |
      • Scott

        Exactly! Now if we can only figure out a way to build a propulsion system that is both highly efficient and provides the specific impulse needed for such an acceleration. I'm leaning towards solar sails with a backup nuclear engine. Lasers could push the spacecraft out-system, then it would slow itself down, then vice-versa on the return trip.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Rob

      54 years

      March 28, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Matthew Cerra

      According to the Time Dilation Calculator at http://www.1728.org/reltivty.htm?b0=.95 the Dilation factor would be 3.202. This means that for 30 years of travel from Earth perspective, the people on board the ship would only experience 10 years. Still a tough trip.

      I think more work should be done with deep sleep or hibernation type chambers. That way the people on board can just be sent out, and wake up in emergencies or upon arrival. You could sign me up for a volunteer once my daughter is old enough to be on her own.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:11 am |
      • Sid Airfoil

        Thanks for telling me about relativity calculator site. Also, the 30 year/10 year ratio assume that the ship is traveling CONSTANTLY at 09.5c, whereas in reality it would take about year (at 1g) to accelerate and another year to decelerate. So it would be an even longer trip. But not out of the question if we could develop a energy source to provide enormous thrust consistently for 10 or 20 years.

        Sid

        March 28, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  58. intothemoonbeam

    Fascinating articles like this makes me think I was born about 1,000 years too early. I would love to be part of the culture 500-1000 years from now that will actually be starting civilizations around these planets.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Jeremiah

      Our lord will return far before then and civilization will not be the same in 500-1000 years. You are living in this time, a remarkable time where you can choose to love our lord and have a enternal future with him. This is an exciting time for mankind.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:53 am |
      • KK Denver

        My lord can beat up your lord

        March 28, 2012 at 10:57 am |
      • intothemoonbeam

        Sorry but I disagree, human beings will around forever unless we destroy ourselves or become extinct because of a global disaster such as asteroid impact, gamma ray burst, global epidemic, etc.

        March 28, 2012 at 10:58 am |
      • Chase

        I'm sure people living in 1000 AD thought that Jesus would return any day now as well. Keep waiting...

        March 28, 2012 at 10:58 am |
      • daperkins

        1000 years from now will most likely bring to science fact the science fiction of Star Trek. Personally, I'd rather spend my eternity with Captain Kirk than your Lord. At least my Captain sticks around til morning after he has his way with an unsuspecting virgin.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:04 am |
      • Big Mac

        Please stop with all this drivel about your air fairy. The bible was written by bronze age scribes as pure myth and propaganda. Enter the world of science – it is much more fascinating than reading about some goblin appearing as a shrub on fire, or a staff turning into a snake. Oooooooh, such impressive "miracles" when compared to a super nova. Good grief.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
      • marty

        You can have your lord – I will take my science. History shows I will triumph. In 500 years from now there will hopefully be no more bible followers.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
      • DT

        KK Dever...you must be of the newest generation ...no respect for others opinion...just empty stupid, toad like comments. If you have nothing say in respect, shut up, and save yourself your own embarrassment. All the world are seeing your comments. Your parents are quite proud, I am sure.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:42 am |
      • DT

        marty...I get your point. But like science, we are all looking for one point of view and philosophies to cure and answer our answers. But all discoveries have been on the back of the failures of those that came before them. Multiple disciplines and theories are always the answer to our questions. Both, or many points of view are available, and valuable....in the Period of Enlightenment, most of the science was preformed by the church, imagine church scientists changing the church, ...and they did with secular scientists,...and it still goes on today. The Vatican has many investment into science..openly... cosmetology, evolution, etc...and they also have acknowledged possibility of aliens in the universe...so, answering many different issues from different sources of science, theology, politics, etc...is all good.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Joe

      That's on the assumption that mankind hasn't blown itself to bits or rendered the earth uninhabitable by then.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • serge

      I am sure people thought the same way in the middle ages about the year 2012 in the far and distant future...

      March 28, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Guess What

      You will

      March 28, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  59. Exciting

    Very exciting information.... somewhere there may be dinosaurs again.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • PushingBack

      Use your imagination! Infinite diversity in infinite combinations!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:00 am |
      • daperkins

        Welcome Trekkie. We are few in numbers but strong in will. Live long and prosper.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  60. Dizzy

    A radio astronomer by the name of Frank Drake devised a formula that could estimate the number of planets that could sustain communicating life and the probability of it's their existance in any given galaxy. Today, it is known as the Drake Equation and Carl Sagan was a huge advocite of this principal. Based on this equation, we should have approx. 10,000 civilazations capable of communicating in our Milkyway (our galaxy). Now, considering there are billions of galaxy's out there, well, you do the math.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Paula D.

      if you're going to quote Carl Sagan, please do it right: "There are literally Bbbbillions and Bbbbillions of galaxies out there."

      March 28, 2012 at 11:15 am |
      • Dizzy

        Not my nature to pick on people.....especially when they're dead.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:22 am |
      • DT

        Funny...agreed...there are not enough BBBBBBB's in your answer. Well done.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  61. Jaque

    Is it wrong that I BELIEVE that there are infinite planets that support life?

    March 28, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • KK Denver

      only in the fact that infinity is not a number. Infinite planets would mean an infinite number of you's existing

      March 28, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Joey

      When you ask if the Universe is infinite, do you mean does it strech forever? Or are you suggesting the theory that the universe curves, or folds over. Technically, all of these instances would fall under the category of infinite. As for you KK Denver, your community college degree in whatever field you struggle in doesn't qualify you to discuss matters about anything. Plain and simple, you are an ignorant, asinine twit.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  62. Charles Amico

    With 100 possible planets within 30 Light Years of us, if any had an intelligent life form, wouldn't you think that SETI would have received a radio signal from one of them over the past 40 years?

    March 28, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Jeremiah

      There is no life on other planets, God would have told us of our brothers and sisters if they existed. The planets in the solar system are for us to inhabit as followers of the lord

      March 28, 2012 at 10:51 am |
      • Dizzy

        Jeremiah.....with all due respect, you don't have a clue what God would or wouldn't do. And it's idiots that think they do know all about God is what gives possible existance of one a bad name.

        March 28, 2012 at 10:57 am |
      • PushingBack

        Well God told me personally that she has placed civilizations all over the universe for humans to find. And, you cannot prove that this did not occur so therefore you must believe or your faith is in question.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
      • PraiseTheLard

        Which "god" did you have in mind? There have been so many...

        March 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
      • RealityCheck

        Everyone is free to believe what they want, but science lovers arent in the religious forum forcing their views on life.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • AGuest9

      Within 50 ly, there are 22 planets. The odds that "anyone noticed" us begin commercially broadcasting TV in the early 1950s would have been within the last 10 years. If a response was made, it would take another 50 years from the most distant system to reach us. If you consider that of the 8/9 planets in our system, only one has intelligent life capable of doing the same, the pure statistics (based only upon one sample – our solar system) are that only 2 planets of those 22 might have intelligent life evolving on them. 50 ly is a small area when discussing the galaxy, or clusters, or the cosmos, but it's still a LONG way to travel.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:08 am |
      • Paula D.

        You forgot to take mankind's egocentric approach out of your equation. It may well be possible that other civilizations sent radio signal communications not merely as a response to ours 50 years ago but because they were first to do so millions of years ago. We could potentially pick up signals from ancient civilizations that went extinct long before dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Conversely, it is very possible that our current broadcasts will be received by civilization just beginning its evolutionary voyage out of the swamp, and that they will evolve to hear our "voice" long, long after we have expired as a species. By the way, unless there is some type of alien intervention (and don't hold your breath on that one), it is looking increasingly likely that mankind will not survive long enough to expand beyond our planet. Do the math: We're over 7 billion strong and growing exponentially. We continue to grow our military technology and nuclear weaponry is becoming increasingly viable and real in renegade countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea. While our population is exponentially increasing, our resources are exponentially decreasing. We're eating toxic, farmed fish because our oceans are not sustainable; the Middle East remains a hotbed of conflict; the ozone layer is diminishing and our fossil fuels are getting rarer by the minute. I'm not a doomsayer but, please folks...look at the reality. Do you think we're going to magically pull a solution out of our @s$ and solve these problems before its too late? The facts don't support it. However, being the optimist that I am, I would recommend that we all enjoy the time we are here and be remarkably grateful for our good fortune in existing on this amazing planet during the short window of time that we had.🙂

        March 28, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • JG

      SETI can only pickup radio signals if they're being made. Remember we only started emitting radio signals 90 odd years ago and had 6000 years of history behind us (with a theistic worldview, billions with an atheistic worldview).

      March 28, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  63. Sarah Stroud

    I guarantee you: If a habitable planet were found with intellegent beings, you'd never hear about it.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Chris

      You are SO So wrong. It would be impossible to keep it secret. Impossible.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • KK Denver

      is that a money back guarantee?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  64. hippypoet

    now lets get to the surface and do some testings so we can know for sure if it can truely support a form of life if any !

    March 28, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  65. Jeremiah

    I knew this for my entire life, the Book of Mormon tells us of the many planets thats God will place a faithful man on to populate with childen as his gift for being loyal and worshipping our lord. Science is still trying tyo catch up to the truth, the way and the life...to God.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Salty Bob

      Noooooo Mormans allowed rember Port Joe Smith.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:53 am |
      • Rob

        You kill bugs good...

        March 28, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Jeremiah

      Our next President will be of my faith, this is something America should celebrate.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:56 am |
      • Scott

        Obama? There is no way mitt romney will win

        March 28, 2012 at 11:32 am |
      • DT

        God is the faith. Not yours, not mine, not others. Open your room to others. God has many names as in the Bible to relate to many. Christ is not coming to SLC on his return, or Rome, or Mecca...he just coming. Okay, stay the course, walk the path, stay cool, live, love, cook, eat, drink, but "treat others like you would like to be treated"...the end. Athiest or non-thiest, or others, we all wish the same. THE END.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Newyorker

      I'm not on a religious blog trashing religion, so don't come here trashing science with your crazy religious mumbo jumbo.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Chris

      Mormonism is a cult devised by a con man. But then all religions are cults and equal views of the un-true.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:04 am |
      • DT

        ...what, like Wall Street is a science of screwing the world. Wall Street is a religion based on the wrong motive. Greet at the expense of the world. Got it stup? Which religion, of at all are you for?
        It is not about religion my friend. It is about truth. Financial, God, family, etc. and the right incentive's. The insensitive for the WS is greed...not jobs+profit...but pure great. Profit and Greed are two different things. Hello...anyone out there?? But, I guess, you are one of the sheep that "baaaaa" all day long at the alter of capitalization and the "number one" US of A BS that is not true any more...You are fertilizer for the rest of us profiteers...welcome to the fold.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • daperkins

      Wasn't it Mormonism that teaches that God (Elohim) lives on a planet orbiting the star Kolob? Don't believe me? Youtube the Mormon Hymn "If you could hie to Kolob".

      March 28, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Peng

      Seriously... the Book of Mormon never says that. If it does, where?

      March 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • BobBruff

      Jeremiah, thanks for mocking Mormons, but you're way off base with your evaluation of their beliefs. I say 'their' beliefs because based on your words it's evident that you're not LDS or if you do consider yourself Mormon you believe something far removed from what the mainstream Church teaches. The Book of Mormon doesn't say anything about putting a faithful man on another world to populate it. Also, I'm pretty sure the Church believes that there IS other life on other planets, something most Churches deny for some strange reason. To quote one of the Church leaders, Neal A. Maxwell, "How many planets are there in the universe with people on them? We don’t know, but we are not alone in the universe! God is not the God of only one planet!"

      March 29, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  66. vince

    I dont want to sound too jaded, because this is very ineteresting news, but keep in mind that these astronomers need to come out with news like this once in a while in order to continue to get funding.

    I am not against this funding, but it is what it is.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Bub

      You're right. And? Just let it be then, they continue to get funding and the research gets better and better. One of these years or decades will be a "huge" announcement.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • KK Denver

      you under populate your imaginary universe

      March 28, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Rationalintn

      "I dont want to sound too jaded, ........... but keep in mind that these religious leaders need to come out and instruct us how a higher power is personally involved in each of our lives......... once in a while, in order to continue to get funding......from their flock. It's about self-preservation of the religious community and the church.

      I am not against this religion, but it is what it is."

      March 28, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  67. kobra warrior

    Does that mean I can get my own planet. Kickars...I will have all the space I need for my paint ball games, ninja games...sweeeeet....

    March 28, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Jeremiah

      Head to your local LDS church and give yourself to the lord and you will one day have your own planet.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:48 am |
      • terry

        man... would U knock it off.. Don't push your fiction to distort the science of things.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:01 am |
      • getReal

        Whoa! I was told I could make my own!

        March 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  68. AZ Sky Watcher

    I'm no astronomer nor scientist, but I'm just trying to make sense of something... The cycle of human life on Earth is short as it takes 26 thousand years for the this planet to make a round around the galaxy; and during this journey we pass through zones that causes the Ice Ages or Glaciars; we also encounter magnetic fields that cause sudden polar shifting and consequently earth movement translating in catastrophic earthquakes; as a result, whatever technological advances one generation (10 thousand years of technological evolution we have) gets trashed and we have to start from zero all over again... Planets that have a longer orbit around a galaxy are able to sustent civilizations with much longer intellegent life span; imagine a planet that takes 500,000 years or 1 million years to around the galaxy it belongs to? how advanced those civilizations would get? Could they develop intergalaxy flying saucers? Furthermost, imagine that there's millions of those planets; what would be the chances of us being visited from those beings once in a while?

    March 28, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Chase

      There's no evidence that there has been a civilization on Earth nearly as advanced as we are now. If there were to be an ice age in the next few thousand years I'm sure we could survive it along with our technology.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:47 am |
      • Paula D.

        I like your optimism. We'll likely not make it another couple hundred years let alone a few thousand. Make a graph and chart the incline of population growth on the x-axis versus the planet's resources on the y-axis. We're not on a path to sustainability. Rather than pursuing the interests of science and exploration, we are putting a disproportionate amount of time into solving problems of our own creation: government waste and corruption, corporate greed, poor allocation of resources, war, war, and more war... does this sound like a formula for mankind's continuance? No. But we're here now, be happy. Love your family; be good to one another. Get to the beach; dabble in your garden. Rent comedies. Avoid politics, the news and negative people. Smile.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • serge

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox

      March 28, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Mark

      The period of the sun's orbit around the Milky Way is about 250 MILLION years, not 26 thousand as you said.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Clyde M

      "The cycle of human life on Earth is short as it takes 26 thousand years for the this planet to make a round around the galaxy..."

      First, it takes 230-250 MILLION years for our solar system to complete a galactic year ('make a round around the galaxy), so you are off by about 4 orders of magnitude. Second, that in no way implies anything about the "cycle of human life on Earth."

      "and during this journey we pass through zones that causes the Ice Ages or Glaciars; we also encounter magnetic fields that cause sudden polar shifting and consequently earth movement translating in catastrophic earthquakes"

      What? There are no "zones" in the galaxy causing these things. Where have you read that because I'd love to see the literature. These effects are a result of the tilt of the Earth on its axis, its relative distance to the sun, the sun's energy output, tectonic cycles, etc. etc. There are no magical space zones causing massive effects on Earth.

      "as a result, whatever technological advances one generation (10 thousand years of technological evolution we have) gets trashed and we have to start from zero all over again."

      Again, what? Why would all tech get trashed? Especially if you develop tech to survive such events which is something we CAN do now that we couldn't do 10,000 years ago. There is no natural law or process limiting our tech development or "resetting" us every so often.

      "imagine a planet that takes 500,000 years or 1 million years to around the galaxy it belongs to? how advanced those civilizations would get?"

      Multiply that 1 million years by 250 and you get Earth.

      "what would be the chances of us being visited from those beings once in a while?"

      Still pretty low, sadly. The distances and power requirements involved are MASSIVE. Not to say it couldn't be done, but it would still be an amazingly rare thing.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  69. Ken

    This speculation has been going on for decades. (I'm a professional geoscientist AND an astronomer.) Every time they find a new wobbling star (i.e., wobbling due to the gravity of another body) they start their gleeful singing as if they've actually found another planet "where no man has gone before." And why? I'll tell you why. It's because they're trying to fund their next "five year mission" (to borrow a phrase from another science fiction work, Star Trek).

    But have they really found anything to base their speculation on? No no. You just can't possibly see if there is another earth around a wobbling star from here. It's all mere sepculation, and that's all it is... with a healthy measure of wishful thinking. No no. The only statistic they're basing these specuations on, if you boil it down, is that the universe is so immense. But if you actually add up the other side of the equation, the number of factors that have to be JUST RIGHT, for there to be life, you will see that, even with the immensity of the universe, the possibility of another earth that would support life is, well, not a chance.

    There is not one, single solitary chance that a life-supporting earth could occur... withotu intelligent design (i.e., God). And many excellent scientists have come to this conscusion BECAUSE of the science (not in spite of it). Nevertheless, the idiots – which is what they are – who think otherwise, always, always, always black ball anyone who even suggests intelligent design, and they have to ignore the science to do it. Why you ask? Christ told us as recorded in John 3. "Men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil." (The Apostle Paul said something similar in Romans 1, that we supress the truth in unbelief." We do not like the implications of there being a God in the universe, because we would then have to answer to Him. So we push him to the outskirts of the very univers that is filled with His glory.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Jaque

      Funny. I've not met any scientist that can quote scripture.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:47 am |
      • Dizzy

        NASA just fired one because of his belief in intelligent design.

        March 28, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Bub

      Wow your arguments are flawed. I don't even know where to begin, so I won't. Just know that you are wrong – and I'm sorry that decades in your field has jaded you beyond mental recovery.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Chase

      Puh-lease. So God made Earth and give it intelligent life. He then created BILLIONS if not TRILLIONS of galaxies in the universe, each galaxy with BILLIONS if not TRILLIONS of stars. And each star with at least one planet if not more, all for....what? If you're saying God only made Earth able to sustain life, then why do all these other galaxies and planets exist? To think that there is no life out there is the stupidest position one could take on this topic.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Frank

      At least scientists have to prove their findings with cold hard facts, what do believers of intelligent design have to submit as proof, the Bible? Intelligent design is not a true science, it is religion confusing the facts.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Gaunt

      That has to be one of the most staggeringly ignorant, anti-scveince posts I have seen in some time, a zealot pretending to have an education. How unlikely.

      There is no evidence of intelligent design. None. lets say that gain, for the zealots in the cheap seats. There is not a single, solitary shred of positive, verifyable evidence of intelligent design. None. It is a creationist pipe-dream, the latest evolution of the young-earthers trying to shoehorn their version of their interpretation of their fairy tale god into the reality of science.

      Outside the south of the US, nobody in the first world does anything but laugh at your absurdist delusions, then go back to the business fo real science.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:53 am |
      • Noel

        Yeah & the earth was flat according to scientists for how long? All science is based on theory (a.k.a. faith) No one knows exactly how it happened, but it is extremely ignorant to shoot someone of the faith of God down without SOLID fact not theory based evidence from science, especially if you are not a scientist. Open your mind people you may be overlooking the most incredible scientist the world has ever known.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:18 am |
      • Paula D.

        By your argument, there is not a single, solitary shred of positive, verifiable evidence that there is intelligent life anywhere else in our universe. Therefore, it does not exist. This has nothing to do with the argument for or against intelligent design. But, by your own words, if there's no verifiable evidence, then scientifically it is not so. Science is supposed to seek answers, admitting that it hasn't solved every answer out there. I don't understand why "scientists" cannot grasp the concept that ideas around the metaphysical or spiritual may well be grounded in hard-face scientific theory. There may well be an intelligent designer who is comprised of intra-dimensional dark matter quarks and strings, distributed massively throughout the fabric of the universe, and that who's existence cannot be explained or described in a way that limited human intelligence can begin to comprehend. As a scientist, you must admit that there may be some scientific ideas that are outside our brain's ability to grasp, right? Or do you really think that our minds can wrap around everything? If so, that's pretty egotistical of you. Kind of like a microbe arguing that it is capable of describing nuclear fusion.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • truthordare7

      You, sir, need to either return your degree to the sham university that you graduated from or burn the degrees you purchased over the internet. Intelligent design is total bs because there is no intelligence in it.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Rob

      You are a nut job all it takes if for 1 of those countless planets to have life. We are here do you understand how slim a chance that is? We are here do to evolution. We have 8 planets in our solar system. All the left over rocks hav over 5 billion years crashed into Earth. Bringing water and other organisms that are frozen in space. Over time those organisms started reproducing and dividing.
      It doesn't surprise me that people can't imagine how we got here over 5 billion years. They don't understand how many things can happen in 1 year. Are brains just are not good enough to understand it all. But if there are billions of these planet sit just takes 1. Thats pretty huge when you stop and think.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • xirume

      What I think you are is a professional bible thumper who can barely spell the word 'science'. Misrepresenting yourself is a lie. Isn't that against your religion?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • ERIC H

      leave your preaching at your church.think of how impossible the god theory is

      March 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • terry

      intelligent design: I agree, I think aliens from another world put us here right? Not god, maybe another race or the same race from a different planet..

      March 28, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Aaron

      Brainwashing at its finest

      March 28, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Evskie

      If you were what you say you are, you would know that 2 super earths have been seen through telescopes without using the inderect method. Making everything you say following a waist of space. The next generation of telescopes soon to me made and launched in space will be able to see even more.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Chris

      You are no scientist. Don't believe it for a second. Its quite easy to tell by how you take positions on things that any true scientists would say – they don't know. Nice try though.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • JG

      I'm not going to comment on Ken's personal beliefs, just what he's stated about the science.

      He's actually being entirely truthful. There are many scientists who in their research into evolution and the big bang have decided that the tolerences within which the earth MUST exist in order to support life and that the universe MUST sustain in order to continue existing are too fine to exist by random chance. The position that these scientists take is that the odds are simply too low even if you continue to make the universe billions of years older there is simply too much complexity.

      In fact, real science cannot rule out the possibility of intelligent design. Why? because there is no observable fact that precludes it's possibility.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:30 am |
      • Jonathan

        In fact there is quite a bit of evidence that suggest that a god designer was not necessary in the creation of life. Doesn't exclude him but simply shows life could have simply happened. Why is everyone so fixated on why life came about instead of how. How seems much more important. A good starting place to find out, WHY, if there even is a reason. It's a weird human instinct to always ask why. Always assuming there actually is a rhyme or reason to why this is going on.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Mike

      I'm not for or against intelligent design or creationism or Darwin. Just open-minded. Unfortunately, it seems that many well educated scientists etc., have hard and fast opinions, which is strange given that they were not present at the beginning of time, except maybe as primordial soup.
      I do agree there is a lot of pseudo-science involved in declaring the existence of planets around other stars, because we plainly cannot see them, at least not with the instrumentation we have on hand in the 21st Century.
      But, taking into account the sheer magnitude of the Universe and all that lies within it, and even applying a measly .00001% chance of there being life out there, presents us with a lot of possibilites. Frankly, I would bet the there is a commonality to the Universe, and the chances of life being out there is considerably higher than 10%.
      What holds us back is obvious. The technology to travel to these distant places does not exist, and we cannot conceive of it at this time without resorting to science fiction and fantasy.
      Although, we cannot prove or disprove much about the details of what really lies in the great beyond, we can still suppose what may be, and maybe in generations to come we will attain the tools to reach out into the Cosmos.
      Just saying, it's a big Universe. Why impose Man's obvious limitations upon it?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Ken

      It's amazing to me how the people who accuse me of not providing supporting evidence are guilty of the very same accusation that they make, which makes clear their bias. (Their willful ignorance is already apparent.) This is not a forum for publishing theses. However, the facts I have referenced are far, far more substantial than anything these idiots have posted. The ones who suggest that there is life elsewhere only go by the immensity of the universe to make that guess, which is ALL it is. THEIR position that there is life elsewhere is nothing more than a leap of faith. However, you CAN show the statistical impossibility of such a ridiculous postulation by looking at all the hundreds, yea thousands, of factors that have to be just right for there to be life on earth. In fact, even if you look at just a dozen or so, the probability that all of these things would have happened by chance shows that it just couldn't happen by chance. That IS science and all the critics who vehemently deny it without offering it a fair assessment are the ones who are in no way scientists. And for someone to say that you can't be religious and be a scientist shows their utter foolishness. Just look at the greatest contributors in the history of science and you will see how most were religious. There is Luis Pasteur, Max Planck, The Curries, Isaac Newton (and especially Newton). And as of late, there is Ray Damadian, the inventor of the MRI scanner. So don't you dare say that you can't be religious and be a scientist. In fact, to say such a thing you must either be a liar or more ignorant than dirt.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
      • Clyde M

        "However, you CAN show the statistical impossibility of such a ridiculous postulation by looking at all the hundreds, yea thousands, of factors that have to be just right for there to be life on earth. In fact, even if you look at just a dozen or so, the probability that all of these things would have happened by chance shows that it just couldn't happen by chance."

        Actually the exact opposite is true.

        First, most of those things happen as a result of natural laws; if you have A and B, you WILL get C every time so you don't get to say A, B, and C all have to be present because that sounds like 3 things have to be in place when really only 2 do and the third will naturally follow automatically. So you can cut your "thousands" down to a few score of needs.
        Second, many of those factors DO have HUGE margins of errors. That we are 1.0 AU from the sun and thus "ideal" for life is meaningless because water can stay liquid ANYWHERE ranging from 0.725 to 3.0 AUs from the sun. Earth could have been 10 MILLION miles farther back and still be perfectly suitable for life. And even then, that's only talking stars. Life could exist on moons and other bodies, too. Europa is FAR too far away from the sun to be a "candidate for life" just looking at the star, but it IS close enough to Jupiter than it draws energy from the angular momentum and gravity of that source in such a way that it may still be able to harbor life.
        Third, not all life will be like life on Earth. You can't use "earth" as a gauge in many respects. Some, for purely chemical means, but not all. Not most in fact. Except that we've evolved to be oxygen-breathers, you don't "need" an oxygen atmosphere for life. Life could evolve to use a whole host of other gas mixes. Heck, you don't even technically need to be carbon based. A silicon-based species could arise on a world with no carbon whatsoever and if you were only looking for worlds "like" earth you'd miss it.
        Finally, the numbers are large enough that even statistical unlikelihood become not only achievable, but almost common place. There are an estimated 300,000,000,000,0000,0000,0000,000 stars in the observable universe (and that may be going up). Any one of those could have, heck, dozens of planets. Any of those could have dozens of moons. By the time you boil down what it would REALLY take to have life elsewhere and do the math, even if life was a 1 in one trillion chance, in a universe with 3 trillion times 100 billion stars, you could have hundreds of billions of places it exists.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Clyde M

      Funny, I've also worked in a tangentially professional way with astronomers and astrophysicists and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them said life outside earth was a statistical likelihood so close to absolute, that most accepted it as absolute. No details on how common, how advanced, etc, but definitely some forms of life out there somewhere. And every single one said that based on the SCIENCE, not a belief in a magic god being.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  70. Bob

    It doesn't matter how many other "Earths" are out there. Until we conquer the (basically) impossible challenge of interstellar travel, we'll never see any of them.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  71. hasc

    Was Krypton a super earth? Just wondering.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  72. Tim

    While this is all neat and stuff, it is utterly pointless to get to excited about this. Until we figure out faster then light travel, if it is even possible, we will never be able to send a probe to these planets, let alone visit them.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      We could easily send a probe now. It would just take a few thousand years. And if we can get close to light speed (0.7 or 0.9c) we could send people there. Just everyone they ever knew would be long dead here on earth.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • intothemoonbeam

      No it's not pointless. While I agree it's impossible to even send a probe there right now but you have to start somewhere and discovering these planets is the first step the generations after us will take the next steps.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  73. Andy

    The problem is Red Dwarf Stars aren't the best candidates to support planets with life – rocky or not. Because they're cooler, planets have to be so close to them that they stop spinning. This is just one of many problems with these Red Dwarf Stars. Better is to look for how many rocky planets orbit sun-like stars. A paper on this theorized there could be about 45 Million true earth-like planets (around sun-like stars) – much less than "billions" estimated here. We don't know if Red Dwarf Stars can support planets with life, but we do know of a lot of roadblocks with those systems.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Dizzy

      A radio astronomer by the name of Frank Drake devised a formula that could estimate the number of planets that could sustain communicating life and the probability of it's their existance in any given galaxy. Today, it is known as the Drake Equation and Carl Sagan was a huge advocite of this principal. Based on this equation, we should have approx. 10,000 civilazations capable of communicating in our Milkyway (our galaxy). Now, considering there are billions of galaxy's out there, well, you do the math.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:45 am |
      • Andy

        Dizzy – Props for mentioning Carl Sagan and "the Drake". That 10,000 civilizations thing, not sure if that refers to time – as in, there could be that many in our galaxy, able to communicate, right now. The 45 million number would just be planets suitable for life.

        March 28, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • intothemoonbeam

      True and if they are in the habitable zone of a red dwarf it's very possible that they could tidally locked. However, the good thing about Red Dwarf stars is that they can live for a very long time which means it would give the planets around them plenty of time to develop life and have the life adapt to the very different conditions.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:46 am |
      • Andy

        Yes, that's the good part about these stars. However, I've also read that Earth's magnetic field was able to form because the environment our star had for our planet was conducive for that to happen. Red Dwarf's I believe are very violent early on and, due to the proximity to their habitable zones, will make developing a magnetic field difficult. Don't have too much detail on this other than I remember the basic concept from articles I've read.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Dizzy

      Lol...now I've got to pull it up and see what all the factors are. Thanks, you gave me something to do at work today. 🙂

      March 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  74. BD

    Not really mind-blowing at all, seeing that the universe is infinite, so I'd say the number is infinite as well, not just limited to billions.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • hasc

      They're just talking about our galaxy.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • JV

      I disagree with your assertion that the universe is infinite.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • magnus

      the universe is not infinite, but it is limitless meaning that it is so large in comparison to our technology that it is by all intent and purpose 'infinite'. the universe probably has an 'edge', but space is curve is its not like you can fall off of the universe, just like you cant fall off earth.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  75. Kevin

    It's like being under a heat lamp!

    March 28, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  76. Draac

    This is interesting and good news except getting to one of these other planets is still a problem for us as a people.

    And to JB: Who said "JB
    This is a joke right, only 6 posts on this fascinating topic? And THIS is what is wrong with our society. It's going downhill in a cr@p shoot. You cut back in education and have a society dependent on the government and the Kim Kardashian crud they feed you."
    My Reply is: You are correct, I posted this on my Facebook page I think everyone should do the same.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • harold

      dependent on the government? maybe you'll be happier when we are all dependent on the whim of Halliburton and Bank of America – that's where we are heading. A modern society must have a strong central government because most individuals can't see beyond their own immediate self interest. The alternative is either total chaos (anti-government militias or drug gangs) or, as i said, Halliburton and Bank of America.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  77. ME

    I thought we settled that there were no Aliens because Jeebus.

    /ducks

    March 28, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • harold

      stop misquoting Jeebus, you twad.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:00 am |
      • ME

        LOL twad. But... Where did I even quote anyone? I'm talking about the general religious consensus that there's no aliens because only humans were created by God and all other creatures were created for humans. That's not a quote of anybody in particular.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  78. Michael

    The thing you have to remember about Earth is that life tamed it. It was not originally supportive of multi-celled life, single celled bacteria had to eek out a living in the violent oceans getting energy and nutrients however it could. It took almost 4 billion years for primitive life to terraform Earth into anything close to what it is today. So I agree that there could be billions of planets out there that COULD support life in its primitive state that COULD be terraformed, but I highly doubt we'll be tripping over a terraformed planet every other day like they do in Star Trek.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Bub

      I don't think you understand what terraformed means... Also every single other one of these billions of planets are themselves billions upon billions of years old, just like Earth. There is really nothing special about this rock that we're on, life is teeming elsewhere.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • magnus

      interesting use of the term terraforming. Terraforming by definition is humans making other planets habitable by altering the atmosphere, planet surface, temperature, etc. But, i think its OK to use an allegory that primitive uni- and multi-cellular micro-organism terraformed Earth for evolution to proceed.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  79. rudix

    all the truth about it at TheDimensionMachineDDT com

    March 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  80. Mark

    Will they speak English?

    March 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Spock

      Yes – and with a British accent.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:34 am |
      • Godfrey

        You call that English?

        March 28, 2012 at 10:39 am |
      • Alex

        They could be naked or all be wearing the same outfit and "can't" contract two words either.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  81. Neuteronomy

    God is just a bureaucrat among numerous others in the Universe, and like most bureaucrats, he started out strong and has now given up. He shows up late, drinks his coffee, takes a two hour lunch and a 15 minute nap, and goes home to his small, devalued home in the suburbs where his wife complains about her busy day as a stay at home mom of a kid in elementary school.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Godfrey

      You forgot to mention that he's bopping his secretary.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Draac

      More people have died on this planet in the name of some god, than all the wars put together.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • ChrisRhumor

      Speaking from experience?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • magnus

      "...where his wife complains about her busy day as a stay at home mom of a kid in elementary school.".

      Wow. Perfect description.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  82. Hadenuffyet

    Ehhhh , we , nor any of the next innumerable generations to follow will ever be able to go to one .

    March 28, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  83. Steve

    I love it when science justifies what some in the religious community have known for years, that Gods' works are "without number." http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/moses/1.33?lang=eng#32

    March 28, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Godfrey

      Do you also love it when science rips apart the primitive ravings of religion, as in the "worldwide flood" myth?

      March 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
      • CB

        What do have to offer Godfrey, apart from your idiosyncratic subjective reasoning? Easy to tear down religion, but never easy to replace with anything but naive utopian nonsense.

        March 28, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Joe Pearson

      Did god send jesus to all those planets?

      March 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
      • Kevin

        You should read the space trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength) by C.S. Lewis – fictional take on that question

        March 28, 2012 at 10:49 am |
      • bhavilu2

        More planets more Jesus. One Jesus per planet, that make god having many sons. 🙂

        March 29, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Tim in MN

      I love it when believers cherry pick their own holy book.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
      • Mennoknight

        He is mocking us Christians right now, not cherry picking the Bible.
        But sarcasm is hard to read on the internet.

        March 28, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • hga

      "justifies" is the key, isn't it?

      March 28, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • bff

      Glad you love it Steve. The rest of us see no relevance.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:31 am |
      • AGuest9

        Correct. This is the "Belief Blog".

        March 28, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Chris

      Can snakes really talk? 🙂

      March 28, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  84. JB

    This is a joke right, only 6 posts on this fascinating topic? And THIS is what is wrong with our society. It's going downhill in a cr@p shoot. You cut back in education and have a society dependent on the government and the Kim Kardashian crud they feed you.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Godfrey

      The story was just posted, man! Stop it with your "Hell in a handbasket" routine, Gramps!

      March 28, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  85. Mennoknight

    The problem is that these planets have to be super close to these planets and the habitable zones are very small. Some of the problems that come from this are:
    1. They are tidally locked.
    2. They are so close to the star that solar storms could easily strip the atmosphere and ocean away
    3. Solar radiation could easily sterilize the surface.

    While these are very exciting finds to show that earth sized planets are common, I am waiting for us to find planets around stars more similar in size to our own star, that way the habitable zone is much larger, further out and more stable.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • magnus

      really good points. CNN is that smart.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
      • magnus

        *NOT that smart

        (I guess that makes 2 of us.)

        March 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  86. krehator

    To think we are the only intelligent life in the universe is not only mathematically flawed, but also very arrogant.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Dizzy

      Are you paraphrasing Carl Sagan?

      March 28, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  87. Josh

    Any planet labelled as being a "super-Earth", is by definition, a planet that has been CONFIRMED to have liquid water oceans, dry land, and a N/O2 atmosphere.

    I hope these scientists are not deceiving us.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Godfrey

      Whose definition? That's not what "super-Earth" means.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • krehator

      I think they are making judgements based on very questionable evidence, and doomed to be inaccurate.

      We are still finding out new information about the planets in our own solar system, and we've had a better view. It is illogical and irresponsible to make such grandiose claims with the evidence at hand.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:26 am |
      • KK Denver

        math doesn't lie

        March 28, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  88. RV1982

    Interesting...the article seems to paint a picture of the earth being an anomaly with respect to size and our sun. I want to know what the estimate is for "earth" type planets with similar suns that might harbor life.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Godfrey

      The larger ones are more easily detected. Info on Earth-sized planets will come in time.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  89. Hemant

    How long before we find an intelligent life like humans and probably more sophisticated beings. At least some thousands of year ahead or may be even hundreds of year in future we might be able to visit some of these planets and make contact with the life on these planets. We won't have to look beyond our own galaxy to find if we are alone.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  90. DJCowboy

    Let me know when scientists find where the Hutts live. I want to party with Jabba

    March 28, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  91. LPortillo

    Sooner or later we will know ... In the meantime ... Can I have a latte, venti, no flavor please…

    March 28, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • AntDX316

      exactly, what goes on in the meantime is important

      even if the top space scientist happen to discover life on earth we still have our every day lives with the transactions of money and associations with friends & family an encounters with new random strangers to deal with while breathing air, staying healthy, eating, drinking water, and sleeping then doing it all over again the next day

      March 28, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  92. b

    The more they increase this number of potential life harboring planets the more embarassing it is that they can't find one

    March 28, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • sadtosay

      b, do you have the means to verify one?

      March 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
      • b

        I do have the means to verify ONE (i.e. you're on it), but other than that, no I do not. Truth be told, if I had the means to do so I'd probably waste it on other stuff

        March 28, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • tonio

      LOL, now that's the kind of thinking that i can appreciate!

      March 28, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • AGuest9

      Because you think, somehow, that the cosmos is an embarrassment?

      March 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  93. Godfrey

    This is just a variation of the same story we've been reading for a while now... but I love reading it. It stokes the imagination; what might be out there? Wonder if we'll ever find out...

    March 28, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  94. Tony

    "meaning they can have up to 10 times more mass than our planet"

    If a planet is 10 times the mass of ours, assuming similar density, it will only be about 3% larger in radius, but have 9.38 times the gravity. So, your normal 140 pound person would weigh 1300 pounds. They may be suitable for life, but certainly not suitable for *us*

    March 28, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • nate

      10 times the mass would be ~2.15 times the radius not +3%... assuming equal density.... cubic root of 10.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:38 am |
      • Tony

        Oops, did 1.1 not 10. Wondered why that looked so off. Sorry, too early to brain today!

        So that would be 4.64x the gravity of Earth, so a 140 pound person becomes 650 pounds. Still not realistic for the human skeleton to support

        March 28, 2012 at 10:52 am |
      • Grizzly

        "So that would be 4.64x the gravity of Earth, so a 140 pound person becomes 650 pounds. Still not realistic for the human skeleton to support."

        You obviously haven't been to a Wal-mart recently.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
      • comeon

        "Still not realistic for the human skeleton to support"... and there's your problem – human skeleton.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • jdr24

      On top of what nate said, gravitation force is g*m1*m2/r^2 so such a planets gravity would be ours times 10/(2.15^2) or roughly 2.16 times that of ours.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • kdb176

      That's simply not accurate. The formula for the volume of a sphere is 4/3 * pi * r^3. For a sphere to have 10 times the mass of the Earth (at the same density, as you stipulated), it would have to have ~2.15 times the radius of the Earth.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  95. anon

    If you took 1/2 of all the stars in the universe and the said 1/2 of those had planets, and 1/2 of those had planet at a distance from their star that would support life, and 1/2 had life, and 1/2 of those had multicellular live, and 1/2 of those had advanced life, and 1/2 of those had a civilization, and 1/2 of those had an advanced civilization there would be more civilizations with a greater degree of technological sophistication on other planets than grains of sand on the Earth.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • b

      You crunched the numbers on that huh? Go outside ...

      March 28, 2012 at 10:17 am |
      • justme

        thanks b, you saved me from having to tell it

        March 28, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Josh

      You're missing a few trillion 1/2's in your rough calculation.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Davethecanuck

      True.
      It's just strange that it is so quiet out there...

      I have a feeling we won't like the answer to the fermi paradox.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:15 am |
      • I Win

        It's because the reapers come along every 50k years to eradicate the universe of all advanced organic life.

        Fermi paradox de-bunked.😉

        March 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • magnus

      not a good way to caculate. for example, in our solar system, there are 9 planets (maybe 10) and only 1 is in the habitual zone. Thus, just using our example, it is not 1/2 the planets, but 1/10. If you do your math using 1/10 instead of 1/2, you might stumble onto an answer that makes us unique. Be careful with your math, you might not like the result...

      March 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
      • GatorALLin

        ....I agree with you... Plus... What if 1/1,000 is the real number... vs. 1/2. How many species on earth after 4 billion years that can built a radio tower..? 1/billion or so... Maybe we are not the only ones out there.... but what if we are first.... or OK maybe there are 10 others out there, but so ridiculously, ridiculously far apart that it would take millions of light years to communicate.... Just saying Universe is 14 billion... we are 4 billion on this planet ..to get to now... sure seems quiet out here.... what if we are a few thousand years ahead....? what if we are always alone just because we are too far apart? Maybe we can build the next version of us...Human2.0..... or maybe we build the robots that inhabit the next planet a few solar systems over....I think we will be judged on lots of things, but if we can get off this rock at some point to keep human knowledge alive and growing (beyond the death of our sun & planet) then it all is lost.

        March 30, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  96. peter

    Finally, now someone will believe me when I tell them I am not originally from this place you call earth!

    March 28, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Godfrey

      Who calls it Earth? I've always referred to it as Terra Minor 3.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:21 am |
      • GrogInOhio

        Sol 3

        March 28, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  97. cnnlicksit

    This is exciting but lets take this with a grain of salt. i.e. this is all theory for now. But I'm sure in my mind and heart that life exists elsewhere in the universe, and intelligent life as well. Whether we ever find them is another story. The vast distances and time scales, as well as the effects of zero-gravity on the body might preclude humans from ever truly journeying the cosmos... (e.g. like in Star Trek).

    March 28, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  98. rad666

    No, because God only created humans on earth in his image. Still not sure about the rest of the living things on earth though.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • peter

      Man's words as a means to explain his reasoning for ruining the earth!

      March 28, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Godfrey

      The Great Magic Book says nothing about other planets. Perhaps the tribal war god of the ancient Hebrew sheepherders was busy on other worlds as well, creating stuff, barking orders, smiting folks and whatnot.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:19 am |
      • Norm

        Godfrey, sounds like have all the answers, or just a closed mind. However, if you do have all the answers what is the meaning of life? Doesn't make sense to me that it is meaningless. And I can't grasp why enzymes would want to form into proteins, cells, organisms, etc... I'd love to hear an intelligent response.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
      • Maff

        Actually the term "heavenly bodies" refers to planets in the Bible. read it before you talk about what is and isnt in there.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:12 am |
      • MyTake

        Maff: There is NO reference to planets in the bible. This is just another made up thing that theist/zealots say to make themselves feel better about what they believe. There are references to stars which can fall to earth and as anyone with education knows does not happen. There is no end to the lies that theist/zealots will spew.

        March 28, 2012 at 11:57 am |
      • Maff

        Mytake – the word planet does not appear, but "heavenly bodies" does. "Stars falling to earth" can reference anything from fallen angels to the more literal sense, meteoroids. If you try to read the english translation of the bible and take every single word literally, you're stupid. If you and I were speaking and I said, “I’m so hungry I could eat an ox”, you obviously know that’s not true, but you understand what I’m saying. Heavenly Bodies refers to planets. Even the first verse of the Bible, "in the beginning God created the HEAVENS and the earth." The "heavens" refers to all of outer space (including planets and stars). But of course since the Bible doesn’t use scientific terms, you dummies who want to deny the Bible try to claim that even the basics of science cannot be found in the Bible... which is simply not true.

        March 29, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • patty

      I have a hard time believing that God would create a universe this massive, and within grant life onto only one planet

      March 28, 2012 at 10:30 am |
      • Godfrey

        Ditto! At least on the first half of your statement.

        March 28, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Tim in MN

      Uh, I think you have that backwards...man created God in his own image.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:31 am |
      • Aaron

        LOVE THIS!!!

        March 28, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • magnus

      well then, God has a small penis. Not cool.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Astronomy NOT Astrology

      Godfrey: Jesus said to the apostles before the Rapture: I go to the Father to prepare a place for you. The Father has many mansions." (i.e.: implying "planets", 'other worlds', "places of dwelling", etc.). So your posit is nonfactual, unprecedented, illogical, and myth bound as your miniscule brain. You would cower in fear at a tiny ant attacking you.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  99. I'm The Best!

    That's pretty awesome! I can't wait for them to be able to tell the type of atmosphere a lot of these have.

    March 28, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • Chase

      You'll be waiting a long, long time.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:25 am |
      • I'm The Best!

        I doubt it. I'd say 10 years tops.

        March 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
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