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. Spiffy

    Smoke me a Kipper, I'll be back by Morning!

    April 18, 2012 at 3:20 am |
  2. Chronicle

    Ok this is about the FACT that planets have been found which are in range of supporting life as we know it. Why does religeon and politics always come into play.

    Yes I believe in god
    Yes i believe in science
    Whether one has to do with the other is not my concern.
    God is an Idea that sits in the hearts and mind of those who are religious. Did we evolve, Sure. Did god use his/her divine power to Create us? Sure.
    Science and Belief in God don't have to conflict.

    Being a believer in God i don't go to church because of all the Changes that were made in the history of man and the writings that were removed for some reason or other.

    Even in Genisis it states that God came to eart and it was without form and Giants romed the Earth (Dinosaurs maybe?)
    I am no science nut or religeous nut. I believe what I will and who cares what others think. If God turns out to be an Alien then so be it. That still falls under Creationist theory and intelligent design.

    Well, Bad spelling and grammer aside.

    Loved the Mass Effect reference. I Agree the ending needs work (why did joker run away and all).

    Believe what you will i won't fault you. Everyone has Valid reason why they do. Don't bash someone because it isn't your Ideas or reasonse.

    That goes for both sides. (just a suggestion, i am in no possition to give orders)

    April 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Chronicle

      Wow please disregard the horrible spelling mistakes lol. Enjoy

      April 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
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  6. MDAT

    Planets will have life.habitable planets are the frontier

    April 2, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
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  8. GatorALLin

    I love the discussion from the Fermi paradox... I think there must be life out there, but sure is quiet......huge difference if there is intelligent life out there that is building radio towers that we can detect (who cares if some 100% water planet has extra intelligent fish...they would never have a written language or build a radio tower, heck come to think of it we have only explored 5% of our own oceans).... Maybe we are so rare that there are only 10 or so of us radio tower building planets out there...but we are so ridiculously ...ridiculously far apart it does not matter as it would take millions of light years to send a message just one way. What if we are first.....?....... maybe not by much, but by a few hundred thousand years.....just saying..

    ...check out this thinking of rare.... maybe Goldilocks Conditions are way more critical and rare than we appreciated....... Universe is 14 billion years old... and earth is about 4 billion...so maybe we are quite young......especially that our star is Not a first generation star and materials that earth has is complex chemicals, so lets assume we need full periodic table here to create intelligent life down the road..(and you dont get that from planets around first gen stars)...so that takes a while to have a older star...and earth, so lets say 14 billion years is early in the cycle... ....then you need a solar system as a real system....remember big planets like saturn or jupiter help vacuum up the other big rocks out there ....you need the right kind of solar system and right kind of sun.....and you need earth to be just far enough from sun so it does not get too hot and burn the atmosphere....or too far away an orbit we are too cold... then we need to have a nice orbit, not too elliptical or seasons to out of whack, then we have to spin, but not too fast or slow... then we need lots of water, but no too much... we need a molten core that stays warm.... we can't be too big or too small a size as too big we are a gas planet and too small maybe our gravity cant hold an atmosphere....then we need at least 1 moon to help create tides to push life faster in the shallow seas...mixing the amino acids...forming layers and layers of more complex life.... we need a magnetic shield to help reduce some radiation from the sun (not just for auroras).... we need tectonic plates...we need lots of separate and connected land masses... we need a billion years for the earth to cool and then create an atmosphere....then we need rain/clouds and weather system to create fresh water. we need life to start of course.... not sure if that is some magic mix of chemicals..or lightning strikes..or...and then we need life to develop on a massive scale... we need diversity as billions and billions of experiments will fail...and a few succeed... we need reptiles and fish and birds and mammals, just to eventually get to humans, but before that we need some odd luck of a meteorite to hit the planet so hard it forces a new smaller series of mammals to take hold... then maybe some luck with mixing species of monkeys...then we need a mammal that has an opposable thumb and can make tools...and create a language...and then record that language to pass on knowledge...and then we need that mammal to eat meats to grow the brain size as protein helps with that and maybe the more complicated need to hunt in packs or create strategy then forces us to think even more or pass on more tools or knowledge...we need to create organized farming... we need to be aggressive enough to go to war as this advances technology and sparks change...but not so much aggression we kill each other completely... we need to create a money system...we need to live longer.... keep advancing knowledge for the next generation, so they don't start from scratch...we need to invent machines that do the work of multiple men... we have to avoid diseases that wipe out everything...we need fossil fuels and industrial revolutions and computers... we need to avoid another meteor or mass volcanoes or climate change that reset life from almost zero...... Maybe these levels and levels and levels of complexity are 1/1000 x 1/10000, x 1/10000000 x 1/1000000000. btw.. how many different species did the earth have before humans (thumb/tools/written language)...millions or billions of species and were the ONLY one that could ever build a radio tower... ..

    maybe some cool planet with 90% water and really smart fish that never..ever advance to build a radio tower... so who cares about those planets, we can never find them or they never develop life we could chat with... Heck we are so far apart, we can Never...ever talk with anyone a few galaxies over... ....yeah I do believe there is life out there somewhere...but what if it is so very, very rare to get the conditions just right...and then most of the time it is just wiped out... everything does not have to be perfect, but there are tons of factors that may prove critical to get the Goldilocks conditions just right... and even then it has to go well for millions and millions of years.... sure is quiet out here.... what if we were first? How many others never got off their rock to escape their solar systems and their gained knowledge was forever lost?

    March 31, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • GatorALLin

      so they think there may be 300 x 10 to the 22nd power...of stars in the universe, organized into only 80 billion galaxies...

      so if you think Earth is 1/1000 planets that have the right orbit.....that have the right size...the right ratio of water/land, the right diameter, the right core...the right magnetic fields...the right sized or number of moons, .the right other planets in the solar system to protect us...the right meteor to hit us to wipe out the dinosaurs...and so on... it only takes 8 cases of 1/1000 to take every star in the universe down to the answer of 3.... I know there seems like 3 septillion stars would have radio tower level intelligent life on planets by some of them.... what if we are one of 3 for the entire universe....(then some of us may still be a million years apart in forming...crud). It would not be 1/1000 every time of course...

      maybe a few 1/10's.....or 1/100.... but what if you had just a few 1/billion... like how many species of life have been on earth to get to modern humans...... the other thing to appreciate is just how many things are critical.... so if you have 1/100 times only 13 things you can reduce every single star in the universe to 3, so yeah a lot of stars... but only 13 levels of 1/100 complexity to narrow it to 3, so that makes the universe a bit more quiet. I am guessing they can get seti to get their new radio array going in 12 years..and at least prove we are alone in our own galaxy soon.....

      March 31, 2012 at 1:48 am |
  9. myme3ending

    Stop that religion arguing. We all know the hannars considered the protheans their gods. We need to stop fighting each other and unite if we will ever stand a chance against the reapers.

    This is what will happen:
    http://myme3ending.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/my-me3-endingw/

    March 30, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  10. michaelfury

    “The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, but it is not the path to knowledge; it has no place in the endeavor of science.”

    – Carl Sagan

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/between-us-and-the-enveloping-darkness/

    March 30, 2012 at 7:39 am |
  11. Peter Culbert

    It wouldnt surprise me if God created (or designed a universe that would produce) different forms of life on other planets, though I think humans are unique (made in his image). There seems to be the usual confusion about creationism in these comments – the belief that God created everything in 6 literal days is only one strand of it, with which I do not agree – I believe God 'started' the Big Bang millions of years ago and that the earth is indeed millions of years old. Perhaps the theory of evolution is correct though it has many flaws which science still has to explain. If it is true, that does not preclude God from the equation which the likes of Richard Dawkins would have us believe. Id recommend a book by John Lennox, 'God's Undertaker – Has Science Buried God?' as a good summary of the arguments.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:33 am |
    • Primewonk

      " I believe God 'started' the Big Bang millions of years ago and that the earth is indeed millions of years old. Perhaps the theory of evolution is correct though it has many flaws which science still has to explain."

      Then you "believe" wrong. The universe is 13.7 BILLION years old, and the earth is 4.54 BILLION years old.

      Also, please post the citations to peer-reviewed scientific research that discusses all these flaws.

      You are certainly free to believe whatever you want. But we have perfectly good and valid science that confirms the theory of evolution. Adding any god to the mix adds no additional power to the theory, and it only adds a layer of complexity that is not needed or warrented.

      March 30, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  12. Irish B

    Here is an new and exciting idea, maybe if we discovered a new inhabited planet, we could send NATO in to "Liberate" them. If they had oil of course. I dont think thats ever been done before !

    March 30, 2012 at 4:18 am |
  13. Reverend Dondi J. Cook CAM (BATH)

    Heres science for you non believers, try reading :the god code

    March 30, 2012 at 4:05 am |
  14. Jose Ortiz

    Ancient Vedic scriptures clearly talks about plenty of planets plenty of life and that the real space traveler is your soul they clearly talk about higher planets and lower planets all of them in the material realm with different oceans of different fluids and so on....the only way we are going to get there is by incarnating ourselves into the bodies suitable for the different atmospheres and climates....but of course scientists need to see to believe....we will never be able to travel there physically ,we will never acquire a vessel to go there....we can only observe and realize that this planets are there and they were there since time immemorial..... that's as far as we are going to get....just accept they are there and that we are one more...amaze yourselves in the vast creation...

    March 30, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  15. Reverend Dondi J. Cook CAM (BATH)

    Alright, Time for me to weight in on this subject... considering That I do hold a (BATH) and am an Ordained Minister, qualified to teach theology.

    I can say this with [A]ll confidence. [A]ll science that is accurate and well researched fully supports both itself, and the scriptur of Judaisim and Christianity. all false theory is based on mistaken Hypothosi or outright intentional deception.

    If you want to know if a theory will hold true, look for it's presence in those writings, they are there, just not in the terms of the overeducated, it is written in terms of [T]his is the way it is, [n]ot this is how it happens, God owes explanation to none.

    That is why we are instucted to study and dwell, meditate and pray for revelation and guidence. Here's a for instance;

    In the book of genesis there is a key that undermines the theory of Human evolution... and when you grasp this it will undermine everything you have been taught.

    First Rule:God only repeats Himself when He is is either making a point or is emphisizing.

    God Created Man,[1], God created man and woman[2], man and woman created He them,[2]. Man was lonely, and could not find a seemly mate so God caused a great sleep to come over the Man and took asunder from his side,[2]. (not necessarily in this order, and Some teachings of the rabinical schools point out this fact also, Adam was first formed as a hemaphrodite).

    I think this will suffice for explanation 1+2+2+2=7 Gods Number which also happens to be perfect prime.

    After the great flood there was Noah, His wife, His three sons and thier wives.
    this would make 8, one of Noah's son's being offended when seeing his father i his nakedness after his passing out from being drunk on wine, took and He casterated him 8-1=(oops) =7 again. like I said, God making a point Perfect prime twice.

    On this subject I have aproximately 700 hours of material just supporting this factual accounterment of God the Great Architech and Mathmatician.

    The important thing to remember is that for all ones education,in the eye's of the Lord God we are simple minded and not infalible.
    God is the creator, God is perfect,and knew from the begining that when the time came for us to understand, we could use His word for guidance to do exactly that.

    Christoher Columbus Knew brfore sailing the earth was round, Why?
    Because it is written in scripture Isaiah 4-;21-22:

    "Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the very beggining? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
    It is He that sitteth upon the [c]ircle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out of the Heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

    Gee, This just descibed the earth as being round, and descibed the
    Van allen belt, magnetic field that causes our atmasphere and the entry of light thereof.

    So, tell me again with all of your higher scientific education,
    Why is it you had not noticed this little gem that was penned over
    3,000 years ago.
    Arrogance and ignorance, You're choice.

    "For the Downfall of man shall be through his lack of knowledge".

    Reverend Dondi J. Cook Christian alliance mininstries, Worldwide Church of Jesus Christ.
    (P.S.)
    To you the commentor whom stated that ours is a religion that will kill any who will not convert, This is an outright lie. Islam and Catholosism will do this in the name of their GOD claiming to be religions of peace, we do not.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • Primewonk

      Sorry, but you're a nutter.

      There was no global flood 4000 years ago.

      And a circle is not a sphere.

      Other than that, the rest of yout post is inane drivel.

      March 30, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  16. fineartguru

    The intellegent inhabitants of many of these worlds will look and act nothing like us here on Earth. Since we humans can't live together amongst ourselves because of race, money, ego, language etc., we should stop thinking about contacting our new found neighbors. We would only infect them with our sick, godless minds.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  17. Lexi

    This is Amazing!!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  18. Lexi

    Okay, when I grow up I BADLY want to be an astronomer. This stuff is really cool!!!! I think in the future there will be some way we can transport people on to those other planets. I would die just to go to the NASA company and see the things they do, and go into space like they do. For a matter of fact when I'm older I want to work in NASA....hopefully it will be around. Plus those who find this stuff scary its not...seriously, think about it. You know what gets me mad....that crap about the world ending in 2012 ignore it its bologna.

    March 29, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Taylor Swift

      Yeah I agree with you Lexi you sound very smart. Stay in school and I know you can make it happen!! Good Luck!!:)

      March 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
      • Lexi

        OMG thx a lot

        March 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  19. Daniel

    I laugh when creationist say that Evolution is just a theory, as it proves they dont know what they are talking about...the term Theory in the science world..is different than the term Theory found in the Dictionary...

    March 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  20. Maya

    But that would mean that the Bible is wrong. No, can't be.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  21. xxcromxx

    Yes.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  22. Friendly-neighborhood-atheist

    It is truly amazing just how "common" life-sustaining or life-creating conditions are within the universe. The more we learn, the more we learn that it is highly unlikely that 'we're alone' in the universe. As for those that think religion and science are incompatible – try looking at it this way. Science answers the questions who, what, when, where, and how; while religion / philosophy answers the question why. Whether you choose to be religious or not should not (but it does) get in the way of scientific understanding. Science is the pursuit of truth, of how things really are; but this frequently scares the religious (what if it turns out their religion is wrong). The beauty of the scientific method is that you observe something, come up with a hypothesis as to how it happens, come up with experiments to gather data (proof or disproof), make observations, then change the hypothesis if it turns out to be wrong. Eventually, the hypothesis becomes a theory once it has been widely backed up with evidence. Never-the-less, it can always be changed if new evidence is discovered. Where-as in religion something is observed that someone doesn't understand, therefore a story is concocted about how it had to be magic that did it. Once evidence comes to light suggesting a more reasonable cause, the religious tend to ignore the new evidence. There's a reason why the more education someone has, the less likely they are to be religious. Religion has existed since humans were first capable of thought, and will always exist because it allows people to answer the one question that science can never answer... "why". But I for one am really tired of the religious trying to silence science, just because it threatens their narrow belief system.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Reverend Dondi J. Cook CAM (BATH)

      I suppose Your another one of these wanttob athiest, So What Higher power do you believe in?

      A true Christion of knowledge know credible science is supported by scipture and vice versa.

      "He was in the world and the world was made for {di'} [on ... Hebrews 1:8-10 "But unto the Son he sayeth, Thy throne, O ... the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands" (KJV).

      March 30, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  23. DShadowind

    I dont understand why religious people have to chime in everytime anyone says anything about life on other planets. seriously we get it, and it goes against the bible and god yada yada yada. this topic has nothing to do with any of that this is science. none of us go running into your churchs or religious chats telling you what to believe. give it a rest go read your bible or something. otherwise leave those of us that are interested in life outside of our own planet can discuss this topic.

    March 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Reverend Dondi J. Cook CAM (BATH)

      nowhere in scripture is the idea that we are alone supported, in fact that is a false teaching perpetuated through ignorance of the whole word!!!!

      Reverend Dondi Jon. Cook (CAM).

      March 30, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • diablo

      because we are here in a human form...call us aliens, any way you like, but we are here.

      March 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  24. bhavilu2

    Lots of people are writing about God and Science here so i thought let me give you perfect answer to this question.
    God Swaminarayan or (also know as Sahajanand Swami Maharaj) took birth in India on April 3, 1781 at evening time of 10:10PM, and lived for 49 years then returned to his abode on 1829, but promised to remains on earth through his Above Akshardham until earths' bottom will exist. Akshardham is a above, that is, never created nor ever gets destroyed but other worlds such as heaven(s) and earth like worlds be it of Avatars, Heavenly Deities, Angels, Demons, Serpents and other human like beings; those worlds and their life has limit, means they get created and destroyed.
    While Akshardham is out side of creation or Above Maya, from there where God Swaminarayan reside; The Abode Akshardham will manifest as a human over and over through different mother in India and god will remain on earth through him to make each soul divine and liberate all souls in this galaxy.

    Here is you answer:
    Either you can read on page 661 Bhugol and Khagol or Regarding Geography and Astronomy on this link or read my summarized answer. http://www.esnips.com/displayimage.php?pid=10246934

    According to God Swaminarayan there are 14 realms or worlds that are similar to earth. Life supporting worlds filled with culture and other things better or worse than earth. There are six heavens above planet earth and 7 other worlds below planet earth. Earth is in the middle of the list as the 7th world. Saint Peter resides in 3rd heaven with other christian saints and other religions.
    From top of milky way going down to bottom of milky way galaxy, this are the planets and living beings that reside in those realms. Happiness and more material or more spiritual life exist in top world Satyalok and it decreases as it goes down the list until the bottom of milky way galaxy, that is, Patal lok (lok means world) where serpents reside.

    1 Satyalok Where Brahama the (creator of Milky way Galaxy resides) Whose life span is 311, 040, 000, 000, 000 human years. Whose one day is 4 billion 32 million human years and whose one night is 4 billion 32 million human years. 6 day o f creation of milky way galaxy then 7 the day he rests; but he keeps on making changes every day of his (Brahama's) life.
    2 TAPLOK where Bhurgu and other rishies (saints) reside in this realm.
    3 JANLOK where Bhurgu and other rishies (saints) reside in this realm.
    4 MAHARLOK where Araym and other ancestral deities reside in this realm.
    5 SWARLGLOK (Heaven) Where Indra (Deity of Thunder) Angel's, Apsara (beautiful ladies) and other deities reside in this realm.
    6 BHUVERLOK where impure deities reside.
    7 EARTH or MRUTYULOK (death world of humans) where God Swaminarayan and his Abode Akshardham, Avatars, Deities, Angels, Demons, Satan, etc... Manifest as human in this world and everyone takes birth and dies here. (soul does not die but body does) on above earth and In hollow earth other deities reside and Yamraja deity leader of hell reside with Chitraketu, Vichitra, and Chitralekha, who read out loud sins recorded per soul then passes the soul to hell demons or satan within hell and it is also in hollow earth separate from locations of other deities.
    8 ATAL LOK where the demons reside.
    9 VITAL LOK where the demons reside.
    10 SUTAL LOK where the demons reside.
    11 TALATAL LOK where nocturnal beings reside.
    12 MAHATAL LOK where nocturnal beings reside.
    13 RASATAL LOK where nocturnal beings reside. Where Vasuki naga or Serpent is the leader and most poisonous.
    14 PATAL LOK where serpents (naga's) beings reside.

    Worlds of Avatars like Krishan and RAMA (Inifinite Krishna and Rama exists) are located outside of Milky Way Galaxy.

    This galaxy is located in belly of Maha Vishnu or Vairat Narayan who creates 3.5million galaxies per one hair follical of his body; whose life span has one day of 311,040,000,000,000 of human years and same human years for one night time.

    Maha Vishnu (there are countelss of them in the universe) works under his father Pradhan Purush (there are countelss of them in the universe) and Pradhan Pursh reports to Prakriti Prush (there is only one Prakriti Purush) and Maya (it is cause of attachment to everything and it hinders on path of divinity for each soul) and this is the creation, which is eternal galaxies is one universe.

    Such countless galaxies exist on one hair follical of Akshardham. Akshardham is God Swaminrayan's abode who has infinite galaxies per one hair follical. One hair follical makes one univese filled with infinite galaxies. In proportion to his body size one galaxy looks like a molecule, but it is not a molecule but the size of Akshardham is that big.

    sorry for long answer but this is just a short summary... rest you can read from link given http://www.esnips.com/displayimage.php?pid=10246934 or Ask God Swaminarayan and his Abode who are present in one human form on earth as a Pramukh Swami Maharj... http://www.baps.org/

    Jai Swaminarayan. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    March 29, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • bhavilu2

      Sorry for the grammar mistakes!

      March 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      Sold! Where do I send my checks from now on?

      March 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
      • bhavilu2

        keep it for your kids' education. 🙂 you will need it. we got enough money!

        March 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Reverend Dondi J. Cook CAM (BATH)

      You now your religion well My Friend, as I know mine. this is why they do not conflict inform, they stem from GOD.

      Avatars and Lesser Levels
      Avatars, vibhutis, minor emanations, geniuses, heroes, leaders seem to be the order. Avatars are known to be messiahs who come down from heaven to deliver a message of God to men. They are charged with a mission by the Godhead. Buddha, Krishna, Rama, and Jesus are called avatars.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:02 am |
      • diablo

        Not all of them come from Heaven; Not every world is heaven they are known by different those world are inclusive of different race and different folks. There is too much out there. You don't need telescope to see all this, what is out there in macrocosm is also within you as microcosm. Through deep meditation and following certain rules how to govern your body, mind, etc.. one can elevate ones' inner powers and see all to be seen. Then why would we lie and post this truth in front of you if don't know how to do this.

        March 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  25. fghf

    actually the bible does not outright say these mean planetss. It is a book written and published by man and interpreted by man. Take what you want from it but it truely isnt the word of a god.

    March 29, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  26. MaryM

    Wow, this is great news. When I was a child, traveling to the moon was science fiction. Just imagine what the human race will know tomorrow. I just hope I live long enough to witness first contact.

    March 29, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  27. PaulC

    I's kind of mental masturbation. The money spent trying to find a clue would be well spent making this world more habitable. Every scientist will tell you that there is absolute NO chance of every visiting and finding out so feel free to speculate to your heart's content.

    March 29, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • Zaximus42

      I beg to differ. Finding out what's on these different worlds isn't that far from our technological grasps now. I bet we'll getter a better picture in this lifetime.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  28. raawww

    Is this the only science you get from CNN? some people here need to read up on some of the theories they wish to talk about before they make decades old knowledge I am smart statements of miss understands. we got to stay fresh on these matters new stuff everyday new ideas on how and why with the facts to back it up

    March 29, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  29. Gaylord

    What did you say... Ten times the mass of earth.

    Why would many one want to live there. How much would my Weight be at that size and mass?

    March 29, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Zaximus42

      Just guessing here but about 10 times more.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  30. Jessy the Gnostic

    Only a selfish individual would believe that life does not exist anywhere but here on Earth.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • belky

      I totally just farted!

      March 29, 2012 at 2:05 am |
      • Jessy the Gnostic

        And I totally just yawn. Sorry, I watched too many episodes of Family Guy.

        March 29, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  31. Marine5484

    This is great news. Now....all I need are a few redshirts and a good ship and i'm outta here.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Marine5484

      Oh and P.S. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION!!!!!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  32. dale

    If that's true find me a planet that has fresh water and game, and with my survival gear and camping gear with my rifle with plenty of ammunition and send me their.
    All intelligent life on this planet is gone

    March 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  33. crixus79

    I believe there is an ultimate creator (God) of EVERYTHING but the god I believe in isn't the vengeful, spiteful, vindictive and the scary bearded man in the white robe which this fairytale of a man is created in the Christian/Hebrew Bible. The god I believe in is loving, forgiving, life giving and more powerful force than humans can imagine and has no human-like attributes whatsoever and has nothing to with any religion. Now I wonder if Chistians consider me an atheist because 1) I don't belive in their fairytale-ish God, 2) I hold no religious affiliation and consider them all a waste of spiritual energy.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Colin

      No, I would consider you just another evangelical type moron who knows nothing of history and science, so you default to the primar color simple garbage you learned in elementary Sunday school. Your philosophical musings are about as deep and sophisticated as wet sh.it. Go over to Fox News, maybe somebody there will find your half-baked garbage "deep".

      March 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
      • belky

        Repent!

        March 29, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • Jessy the Gnostic

      Sounds to me that you might be Gnostic as I am. Unlike the Orthodoxy, we Gnostics don't impose our views on anyone and have our history to prove that.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  34. leo

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    March 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • clearfog

      SCAM

      March 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  35. kasonde

    well that's good but its not like we will have the technology to travel there in the next hundred years

    plus its better we stick here clean up the mess we have here on Earth rather than go and invade those planets and kill their inhabitants

    As we do on Earth were stronger or more civilised people go to new areas and clear off the people and animals leaving there and build cites. All human races have been guilty on that.

    Its better we stay here not "explore them", they may have animal and planet life which needs to be left alone away from man.

    March 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      It's in our nature....besides we have to get them all before they get us. I'm stocking up on ammo now.

      I was actually thinking it might be better to work on communication first. But I'm down for a good grappling and boarding. Argh! Dey all be swash'bucklers!!! To the sword matey's!!

      March 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  36. Keyio

    I get so sick and tired of hearing people talk about the Bible without being scientific. I don't know who is worst, the over-religious or over-atheistic. If you feel the Bible says something that sounds wrong, you might be misunderstanding it. Come with some specific quotes and ask questions instead of condemning. The Bible is just as complex as biology and quantum physics. You wouldn't dismiss those fields without solid arguments, please, be specific and quote where you believe the Bible says what you are stating. – Thank you, to all you people who use quotes and sources in your argumentation. That truly is a more scientific method. – PLUR ❤

    March 28, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • clearfog

      Okay. Let's start with: "In the beginning, God . . . ." Evidence please.

      March 28, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
      • Jessy the Gnostic

        The evidence is more within yourself than something materialistic. In fact, we Gnostics don't even interpret the Book of Genesis as something that physically happened as we interpret that symbolically or allegorically. Unfortunately, mainstream religions want us to belief that the Earth is about 6,000 years old (literally) and the we Gnostics are a bunch of heretics for thinking otherwise. If anything, science has actually helped me solidify my belief in a god that is all knowing and all caring. It's just that the god I believe in isn't the kind of god that would stoop as low as to flood the whole world or burn two cities to the ground filled with women and children, and willingly have a blameless man like Job (no, not Steve Jobs) suffer at the hands of Satan just to prove a stupid point. Yehovah is a d---k.

        March 29, 2012 at 8:11 am |
      • Keyio

        Big Bang Theory: In the beginning there was nothing... which exploded. – Most agree that our universe started from nothing, if God started it or an explosion started it, is often the question most people ask. – Think of your eyes; they see the world differently, just as people does. Each of our eyes are CERTAIN that what they see is correct; they could argue forever about who is right. – The thing is: both eyes are right, even though they see things differently. The brain, thinking 'out of the box', combines the two different viewpoints and a new dimension we call depth is perceived. In the same way, we can argue about who is right and who is wrong, when in reality the right question to ask is: in what way can our viewpoints be combined, to achieve a new perception of reality. – When speakers went from mono to stereo, it would be a waste of time arguing which speaker plays the 'right' sound. 🙂

        April 1, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Zaximus42

      Here's a quote: "If you want to blog about religion you should go to a religious blog." You can look it up right here actually because I just said that.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Jessy the Gnostic

      I would worry more about the religious zealots than the Atheists as they would judge you like it's no one's business. At least an Atheist doesn't threaten people or burn people at the stake in the name of their beliefs.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  37. AGuest9

    Switching over to DTV has made it significantly harder for any ETs to watch our programming. 😉

    March 28, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • T

      Funny, I believe life on Earth is a big intergalactic reality show. Either that or a vacation for beings who have evplved past desire. "For only 100 credits you too can experience the epic highs and lows of life on Earth!"

      March 30, 2012 at 4:19 am |
  38. Greg

    First, its not absolute number of habitable planets in our galaxy that is important, but their density – or rather, the mean distance between them (ie: from Earth).

    Second, What is the habitable zone for a planet orbiting a red dwarf? Remember that a red dwarf was once a red giant, and planets now in the 'liquid-water-can-exist' zone might have previously been inside or too close to the red giant for life/water/atmosphere to survive.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • AGuest9

      You make an interesting point. Is life a one-and-done type of affair in a star system? As the sun begins to redden and grow larger, will life (briefly?) arise on Mars?

      March 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • clearfog

      Red dwarf stars were not once red giant stars.

      March 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Friendly-neighborhood-atheist

      Hate to break it to you, but red dwarfs don't come from red giants... two completely different things.

      March 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  39. Jonathan

    I believe if we were to go to other planets and find life we would find life like our own planet. Just as we would find carbon, helium, gold, and the atoms that make up the world we would find life like ours. I do not believe evolution is random. I believe it follows the laws of science and physics. Just as there are different types of stars they all follow the same patterns. There might be different species, but life will have the same patterns.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • GatorALLin

      ...yeah.....I have to agree with you on that....

      March 31, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  40. nojusticed

    Although this seems exciting we must keep in mind that systems without massive gas giants do not have as much protection from space debris like asteroids which a larger earth like planet may attract more of.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      Good point. I bet they will narrow down the search parameters as they get more information.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • clearfog

      The primordial gas cloud that forms the red dwarf has less mass, so there is less debris to start with. But then again, therefore fewer Jupiters to sweep up the debris. Under the current understanding of stepped evolution, asteroid or comet impacts may accelerate evolution, assuming that they do not push the reboot button.

      March 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  41. ..............................

    Unfortunately, no man-made object will reach an exoplanet anytime soon. The Voyager probes, launched in the 70s have been racing through our solar system since. They are currently in the outskirts of our solar system and are en-route to interstellar space. They won't reach another star within thousands of years. Other stars are just too far away.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      But the moons are closer....

      March 28, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
      • ..............................

        You're stupid.

        March 28, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      Enceladus...check it out. Can't argue with the stupid comment. I'm as dumb as they come.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
      • clearfog

        He thought you meant the moons of the planets outside of this solar system. If he didn't, he is ignorant.

        March 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  42. H. B.

    Religious spamming should be knocked off of this page by those calling themselves "moderators."

    The religious spammers are trying to STEAL the attention that is due to the subject matter of the article.

    In a word, it is 100% OFF-TOPIC.

    This page is for science, NOT for religion.

    There are RULES for participation in comment areas, and one rule they ALL have is that off-topic comments will not be accepted. They violate the terms of service.

    So why can religious nuts do it when nobody else can? Are we really THAT afraid of religion?

    Now, ON topic, I have a question about habitable planets near red dwarf stars. These are stars that are nearing the end of their "lifespan" on the H/R table. Do they even have enough time left to begin developing life?

    If they already did develop life, it would certainly not be remotely human, because the gravity of those superEarth planets would crush a human into applesauce. The only kind of life that could exist would be extremely fragile and weigh almost nothing. If humanoid, they'd make even Twiggy look corpulent.

    You need only imagine how you'd feel if you suddenly weighed ten times what you do now.

    Civilizations on such superEarth planets would know their time there is running out, since red dwarfs are dying stars. They would feel compelled to find new places to live. The optimal time for those planets to have developed life was when the stars were young, not geriatric. Once it became geriatric, the conditions for that life would have changed dramatically; perhaps even to extinction.

    We could never visit one, ourselves, but we could send robotic machines to do some archaeology on them. Might we not find countless civilizations that died off (or got out) many eons ago, when their star began to betray their needs? I might add that, prior to the red dwarf stage, there is usually a red GIANT stage, and planets in the habitable zones would very likely have been fried.

    If so, evolution would have had to start all over again, and the creatures would be born on worlds that were doomed before they were born. I suppose the religious diehards would really LOVE that – it smacks of original sin.

    All this is very interesting, but not for those who are interested in finding planets that are habitable for HUMANS. That doesn't mean these don't count – by any means! But to just call them "habitable" is kind of misleading, isn't it? Habitable? For what kind of creatures?

    March 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • ..............................

      By habitable, they mean the planets are in the habitable zone of a star. Life (as we know it) could only develop in the habitable zone of stars.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      I agree that the chance of any bipedal life similar to us is highly unlikely. But we find life in the most unlikely of places here at home. I wouldn't count out life yet. Can't wait to find out more though.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • belky

      Jesus loves you brother, even if it makes you angry, so try and turn that frown upside down and get a fresh new start, get some Jesus in your heart! I think what this board needs, is more religious bloggers but only the bloggers who support and love Jesus, God bless you now!

      March 29, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • Jessy the Gnostic

      Science has actually helped me reinforce my belief in a god, just not the kind of god that mainstream society seems to be fanatical about. But you're right, this is a scientific article after all and religion should at least be kept to a bare minimum. At least I'm not going around the comment section trying to scare people into converting into my belief, which is what I see some people here doing and I find that insulting.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  43. midwestmatt

    Of course we are not alone in the vastness of this universe. To think that we are is absurd.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Herne

      I told that once to bad people in white coats.. they weren't happy. 🙂 be careful...lol.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
      • Reverend Dondi J. Cook CAM (BATH)

        Thank You for the planet size smile, You made my face hurt in a good way!!!

        March 30, 2012 at 3:28 am |
    • Herne

      oh man.... i'm still giggling.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • belky

      No, your absurd and space is not even real, the things out there that we call stars are really just angels shinning on us from heaven, all these evil devils saying that there are other planets and life on them are prophets of the devil spreading lies lies lies I tell you, dirty evil sinful lustful dirty lies. They have been spreading these lies for a long time, even before that evil thing the television came to light and I am as weak as the rest of you watching TV and looking at dirty things on the internet, at least there is CNN, the only pure news I have found on the net so far, at least for the most part. Anyway, I suggest you all go to church and ask for forgiveness for even thinking there could be life on another planet when this is the only planet there is, you silly lost fools, I pray for your souls to be clean and saved!

      March 29, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  44. Science Crusader

    Hey Clinton – you are so absolutely right! I had to muster up the courage to post this because I felt that I might not be worthy to address you directly, but I said 10 Our Father's and 10 Hail Mary's in proactive penance in case God would get mad at me for being bold enough to address someone of such staggering intellect. Anyway, since science is built on such a flawed foundation of specious "theories" and "evidence", whereas the Bible is based on cold, hard, unarguable facts and eyewitness accounts, you should be very careful about relying on anything that was developed by man worshipping the false idol of science. The next time you become ill or injured, do not go to a doctor or a hospital. Instead, stay at home and pray really, really hard to be cured. That will do the trick. Good luck and have a pleasant tomorrow.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      I am picturing you with a cape. Please tell me you have a cape!? Who doesn't like capes? I made a cape once. I kept stepping on it with my heals though and slightly choking myself in the process. In between breaking rocks and ignoring the article I was blogging about I became quite flustered with my cape and ripped it off. If I find it in between breaking rocks and ignoring the article I was blogging about I will let you have it if you aren't wearing one now.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
      • Science Crusader

        No I don't have a cape, but I have a really cool utility belt that I hang my collection of calculators and smartphones from. I used to have a cape, but on windy days it would blow around and sometimes cover my face so that I couldn't see or hear anything that other people said. I didn't like being blinded like that so I got rid of it – it sounds like you found it though! That's great! I'm sorry you kept stepping on it with the people you healed, though. Wait, are you that Jesus guy? Wow! that's so amazing! Would you smite all the unbelievers posting here so they won't interfere with the One True Message with all this lame science crap?

        March 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
      • Zaximus42

        I see you practice Kung-Fu as well. (picture my mouth moving excessively)

        March 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
  45. Bryan

    that is really great because that means the humans are not gont to exting

    March 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  46. Rags

    Gee, maybe just one of them would have intelligent life. If so, it would be a first as we have none on this planet.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  47. Herne

    get ready.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  48. MrHanson

    Those quotes should be kept at hand when reading science news articles with their glittering generalities making it sound like the origin of life is easy as apple pie. Evolutionists need to make apple pie without first assuming apples. In fact, as Carl Sagan said in Cosmos, to really make an apple pie from scratch, you must begin by inventing the universe. Good luck—when all you have to start with is nothing

    March 28, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Colin

      Pre-quantum mechanics thinking at its best.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
      • clearfog

        Pre-Cambrian thinking. Quantum mechanics has an answer to the somethingness from nothingness paradox. Nothingness is unstable. Perhaps not a good explanation, but better than creationism has. One says ask, the other says don't ask. One says look at the evidence, the other says look at the book. Not knowing is better than knowing wrong.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
      • Herne

        Colin, you almost made me fall off my chair

        March 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      Proof Positive for me. Preach on. I agree we should stop observing and experimenting to answer the unknowns. We should just have a positive feeling in our hearts that the unknown are just the guiding hand of an All-Mighty. Oh and we should not like the other people who have different All-Mighties. At all. Matter in fact, we should go post comments on an article that has no bearing to our arguments. Let's Go!!

      March 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
      • clearfog

        Unfortunately, they will take you seriously.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
      • Zaximus42

        I wondered if that might be the case...Maybe they all left to go comment on an article about how much olive oil should be used in bread recipes? That would be pertinant to religious debates. 2 tsps if you all were wondering by the way.

        March 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Yet another high school dropout.

      March 28, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  49. MrHanson

    Astrobiology is the Science of Fantasyland, where your tax dollars bring thrill rides in black light, merry-go-rounds, magic castles in the air, cotton candy for the brain, Storybook Land, small worlds, and scientists in cartoon-character white lab coats. Wafting through the air are the hypnotic words, When you wish upon a star, all your dreams come true. It’s a magical, other-worldly experience, imagineered to transport your senses into mythical utopian dream worlds. Snap out of it.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • clearfog

      Someone needs to snap out of it. I am not optimistic.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      You've opened my eyes. I read Grimm's Faery Tales once. I reject science now thanks to this inspirational comment. I will believe in the all mighty Grimm. Please donate. You will feel better.

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

      ugh. me thunk thunk nugs um (-insert- slurp, snort). If everyone thought like that, science would be reduced to smashing things with rocks!
      lol, come to think of it. I'm sure, other alien species view humanities science in a similar fashion....

      P.S..... ugh ugh.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Like the talking snakes in the bible....

      March 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  50. considertheheavens

    Whether there are "BILLIONS" of super-earths is debatable, since there are at least a 100 different factors necessary for life to exist on a planet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_habitability is a partial list. If any of these factors are missing, life cannot be sustained.

    It's sad how a mention of the Bible starts taking the discussion of this article in a base direction. I
    f you are a Christian you shouldn't be afraid of exploring the heavens.

    David wrote in Psalm 8 "When I consider the heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you visit him?"

    We are to "consider" what is in space because it ultimately brings praise to God as we stand in awe of this grand masterpiece. This also gives me license to watch reruns of Star Trek Voyager.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Herne

      rather unconventional thinking....life is ........odd. intelligence can reside anywhere... maybe a gas? maybe a liquid form?...to say there is ONLY about 100 factors... is a little small in the potential grand scheme of things.....(a living intelligent being could be existing precisely where you are right now. on a different plane.)....ya just never know.... an @. :).....(maybe there is intelligent life out there, that is made up of only....helium that's burning at 20,000 degrees?).....this is just a theory of course....so don't get your feathers all ruffled.....i think life is infinite.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  51. Jonathan

    Alot of well scientist known scientist believed in God, many inventions were made by God fearing men. God enlightens all mankind, little by little. He does not give full understanding all at once. Evolution is not random, progression is not random. If you roll a die it wont be a greater number each time you roll it. Is it by chance we live at a certain distance from the sun? It is by chance the earth has a manetic field to protect us? Is It by chance we have a great atmosphere for life? If God created us, why not create others? God is light, He is understanding, He puts knowledge and into our minds. Even Eistein, one of the smartest man of all times believed in God. To call someone stupid because they believe in God is ignorance and pride. "God does not play dice" –Albert Einstein
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1607298-1,00.html
    http://www.bigquestionsonline.com/columns/michael-shermer/einstein%E2%80%99s-god

    March 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Colin

      God is in my wallet if I define him as a credit card. When are you Bible-cuddlers ever going to get over that comment by Einstein. He was using the term "god" metaphorically to refer to the numinous. Here are some quotes that show what he thought of your Iron Age Palestinian sky-fairy:

      "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."

      By the way, whether this gifted man believed or not is quite beside the point of whether there is a god, but I get frustrated when people wrongly attribute a belief in [always their] god to him. Here are some more quotes.

      "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

      "I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."

      "It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere.... Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

      "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body

      March 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
      • Jonathan

        "What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos," –Albert Einstein

        Most Scientist, even today, Believe in God
        http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/24/opinion/la-oe-masci24-2009nov24
        "Furthermore, scientists today are no less likely to believe in God than they were almost 100 years ago"

        March 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
      • Colin

        no, actually about 90% of the American Academy of Scientists are atheists, as ar e 93% of the British royal Society of Scientists.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
      • Jonathan

        You state statistics without any sources. How am I suppose to believe that? No Sources whatsoever at least I quoted somthing, sure it wasn't the best source, but a source nevertheless.

        March 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • clearfog

      Einstein did not believe in god. His dice statement was used as a clever retort to the randomness principle in quantum mechanics. It had nothing more to do with the existence of god than does the 'god particle,' the Higgs boson. Einstein was advocating for his belief in a deterministic universe, not for the existence of god, which was contrary to quantum mechanics. Einstein proposed that the randomness demonstrated by experimentation was only apparent and would be eliminated once the 'unknown parameters' were discovered. It appears that Einstein was wrong, as demonstrated by the work of John Bell and others. Facts are so annoying.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
      • Jonathan

        "There are people who say there is no God," he told a friend. "But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views." –Albert Einstien

        "The fanatical atheists," he wrote in a letter, "are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who–in their grudge against traditional religion as the 'opium of the masses'– cannot hear the music of the spheres." - Albert Einstein

        But the awe part comes in his 50s when he settled into a deism based on what he called the "spirit manifest in the laws of the universe" and a sincere belief in a "God who reveals Himself in the harmony of all that exists."

        Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1607298,00.html#ixzz1qRneyAHQ

        March 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
      • clearfog

        You are mistaking a Christian personal god, and in fact the god of Jesus, for some philosophical statements by a great thinker. Taking quotes out of context, and in some cases using apochryphal quotes is the sign of a baseless argument.

        March 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
      • Jonathan

        Read the Time Article then Speak, seriously you have been ignoring my sources completely, or in other words you are ignorant. He believed in God

        March 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • FifthApe

      "Evolution is not random,"

      Evolution is NOT random. Please educate yourself. You are looking stupid.

      March 28, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
      • Jonathan

        "Evolution is not a random process." - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/faq/cat01.html
        How about you educate yourself

        March 29, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  52. MrHanson

    The OOL follies continue. Here we are, 60 years after Stanley Miller wowed the world with his Frankenstein spark chambers, and there is no progress – only more questions, more problems, more controversies, and no results. Meanwhile, the complexity of life as we know it continues to astonish biochemists. How much longer do they get? What are the criteria for failure? Do they have a perpetual license to fOOL the public with suggestions that they are getting warmer, when the reality is that they are still clueless how life started?

    Recent scientific discoveries put more strain on origin-of-life scenarios, because the first cell had to “innovate” all this machinery early on by a blind, purposeless, unguided process. We report this not that one must accept the LUCA myth; it just shows that even using their own assumptions, evolutionists are having a harder time against the facts.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • clearfog

      How much longer? As long as it takes. The first cell? You are exhibiting your ignorance of the subject. Before there were cells, there were complex molecules. Scientists are "fooling" the public? Right, we all got together and agreed, probably at the behest of Satan. Another conspiracy nut. No progress? Quite a bit of progress. There are now several testable theories which are being tested as you wallow in your ignorance of them. This is the way science works. It progresses, it does not finalize. The more we know, the more questions we have. The alternative is religion, where all questions are answered and there are very few questions.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
      • MrHanson

        Saying that molecular “building blocks of life” can form naturally is like explaining Bach’s music by saying natural sources for the ink are readily available. Seriously, OOL by a undirected, meaningless process is faith.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
      • clearfog

        Analogy is the weakest form of argument. But if it is like Bach's music, it is also like monkeys, typewriters, and Shakespeare. Given enough time, it not only will happen, but a reasonable person would be surprised if it did not happen.

        March 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Colin

      Experiments after Miller, notably at UCLA and inFlorida, have reproduced even more complex elements than Miller did. We have now shown that most amino (actually, I think all) can be created this way, as can complex carbohydrates and lipids (the latter will, at times, form simple cell walls). Even nucleotides have been formed!!

      One protbiot of this nature, created in a lab, actually took up an enzyme and started trying to form a protein!! No, Mr. Hanson, no need for a magic sky-god here. We are well on the way to understanding the start of life and your sky-fairy is looking pretty unlikely. He is shrinking, going away, fading out. No need for dreams in the world of real science.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
      • MrHanson

        LOL! Amino acids and simple cell walls (created in a controlled lab experiment, by an intelligent designer) ar a FAR cry from DNA replication, error correction, information storage and processing, molecular motors,
        and other complex cellular machinery. Have you been ignoring the recent discoveries in cellular biology? It's just amazing how blind materialist atheists are and how strong their faith is in almighty chance!

        March 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
      • Norm

        Well stated Mr. Hanson. You win this round.

        March 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
      • clearfog

        Norm – Who named you arbiter? Probably Jesus. Mr. Hanson has not a clue.

        March 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  53. Tom

    Are all you people playing with yourself?

    March 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Tom47

      You got me.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      Only in between breaking rocks and totally not paying attention to the article this blog is about...

      March 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  54. kilmo

    People constantly ignore the true signs that God is with us. The stars people see are not real, they are lights of God's church! You people will burn in hell!

    March 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • clearfog

      The art of trolling requites subtlety.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
      • kilmo

        Trolling? The only trolling I am doing is through the pages of our lord's bible!

        March 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  55. Carl van Zijll de Jong

    Sure, we are not alone in the universe. However, we are alone in our moral and social decline as a civilisation though. That is why we are distanced further and further, faster and faster away from the holy civilisations to prevent cross contamination, not that the universe is expanding. As our bodies are subject to a biological clock, thus is our solar system subject to a energy clock, i.e. the sun. We can escape this fact by adhering to the Universal Laws set in order to our moral, social, and academic development from one life-cycle to another. For your information Google “The World Monetary Order”.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      I'm actually not so sure we are in moral or social decline. I would throw in better communication as the cause for this view. Now that we have the ability to peak around the world in real time all at once I think we are actually becoming more aware of how crazy we are. That being said, we may actually be becoming more socially aware and moral over time...albeit we are taking a long time to improve. Okay, we are taking a really really long time to improve...I dare say...the evolution of our behaviors is taking a while.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  56. vasmikey

    Too many factors have to be perfect for life as we know it. 1 % difference in the earths difference from the sun could make life impossible. Moon stabilizes the declination angle. Size of earth affects gravity which means either having or not having a breathable atmosphere. Water remaining a liquid in this universe on any planet requires a perfect condition or it evaporates or freezes. then there is the magnetic field which protects from solar radiation and cosmic rays, rotation rate and orbit around the sun. Then there is the neighborhood of our solar system which put it far enough away from the center of the galaxy but centered between two spiral arms so nearby gravity of other systems do not interfere with the orbits and life. What are the odds that even with trillions of systems that ALL of these conditions will be there? The point is, the earth is unique and will remain that way forever.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      I vote to keep looking if it's just the same to you.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
      • vasmikey

        If you do the math, on just a few of these factors the odds are that they will never happen. But exploration is fun besides so searching is educational anyway.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • clearfog

      Actually, if you do the math, the odds are fairly high. Not to mention the hundreds of billions of other galaxies.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
      • vasmikey

        Where are you getting your information? Frederick Hoyle calculated that if you took all the atoms in all the matter in all the universe of billions of galaxies as a number, it would not begin to approach the chance of this happening on its own.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
      • clearfog

        Hoyle believed in the static universe and rejected the Big Bang. No one accepts Hoyle's cosmology today, and few did back then. Are you relying upon his calculations which pre-dated decades of observation and discovery?

        March 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
      • Norm

        I'm with you Vasmikey. I've been getting beat up for saying the same thing all day. I still think we should look. Even the dead real estate is very interesting.
        People, please stop mentioning the billions of other galaxys. This one is big enough for most of the possibilities to present themselves. All the others are so far away we are unlikey to learn anything about exobiology from other galaxys, let alone photo, communicate, or otherwise see other life there.

        March 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
      • vasmikey

        NORM –> there are too many folks who have been caught up in Capt. Kirk and that Galaxy far, far way. Yet they don't realize that the planet we live on is so unique and so dependent on precise factors that work together, to just use common sense and know it to be impossible to find another earth like the one we have. Let them dream for all the good it will do.

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

        Alright ClearFog. You do the math. 1. What are the odds of a planet the approx. size of earth to be spinning at 1000 mph, traveling at 61,000 mph in an elliptical orbit at an average distance of 93 million miles from a medium size star?
        2. Now calculate the odds of a moon captured or not but rotating for this same planet with the planets declination angle of 23.5 degrees. Life could not exist w/o the moon since it holds the axis stable. (hint- look at mars)
        3. Once finished with that, now calculate the odds of a magnetic field generated by a iron core, with having a rotating molten mass to protect life from bombardment of cosmic rays and other radiation. Life could not exist w/o this field.
        4. Now the odds of finding this planet in the proper neighborhood in the Galaxy. Our solar system sits in a perfect location between two spiral arms of the milky way but away from the center so as not to be affected by their various forces and far enough away from the enormous forces in each spiral arm which could tear our system to pieces.
        5. Now calculate the composition of the planet with water, and other resources to support life.

        Let me know what you come up with. The 1 times 10 to what power?

        March 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  57. Tom47

    There not billion of earthlike planets but trillions and they are all full of gays and lesbians.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  58. draxta

    It doesn't mean beans to find a planet that can harbor life. Look at earth. What would be nice would be to find intelligent life because barring me and a few others, intelligent life here is scarce at best. 🙂

    March 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      I prefer "Mentally Impaired." I can break rocks real good though.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  59. zappafrank

    Why does everyone assume that "life" has to be life as we understand it? That's such a naive point of view. There could be countless life forms out there in a form or make-up that we don't understand or of which we couldn't even conceive. To think otherwise is ignorant.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  60. Dave

    Of course then we have to ask ourselves Fermi's famous paradox: "Where is everbody!?".

    March 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Dave

      Sorry that should spell "everybody".

      March 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  61. BKS

    Red Dwarf was Yellow Dwarf when the super earth was pretty earth like ours.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  62. clearfog

    Has anyone ever done a purely statistical analysis to determine how many brown drawf stars there are? It seems that the relative number of the different sizes of stars should follow a linear or other curved progression from large (few) to medium (more) to small (most). Could the number and therefore total mass of brown drawf stars account for a relevant portion of the missing mass?

    March 28, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  63. PainCase

    Looks like its reasonable to delete this particular band of time. There is no intelligent life and there are so many other much more promising bands.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  64. Just a Question

    Why don't everybody come together and make a powerful ship to really go pass the moon and mars and explore for real

    March 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • kilmo

      Darwinism is a lie!

      March 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
      • clearfog

        Dammit. We've been busted. Now, we will have to come up with another lie to test the faith of the true believers.

        Signed: All the Scientists of the World

        March 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  65. Credit Card

    Hey... Aren't red dwarfs pretty much on their way out? Habitable planet today, LL Bean Parka planet tomorrow?

    March 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • clearfog

      Red dwaf stars have a very long stable life cycle, lasting hundreds of billions of years. The smaller the star, the longer and more stable the life cycle.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  66. rachellekikue

    Reblogged this on rachellekikue.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  67. Colin

    Clinton, there are some pretty fundamental objections to Christianity that are hard to get around. Now before you rant back at me that I am evil, an “angry atheist”, or going to burn for all eternity in hell, please take the time to actually read and cogitate the objections. If you have a disagreement with a point I make, post it. However, if you only object to the fact that I said it, please understand that I do not buy into the whole “it is immoral to be skeptical of the Christian religion” argument.

    1. At its most fundamental level, Catholicism requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,700,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,700,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies.

    Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.

    2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.

    5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Ho.rus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.a..p.e and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $eksual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

    8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

    9. When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 360 degrees.

    Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    No clinton, your faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more substantial than the hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • kilmo

      God works in mysterious ways.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
      • Zaximus42

        lmao. I'm not going to comment on this. But I guess I just did. That IS mysterious. I'm going to go back to trying to find my corner in this big round room.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
      • clearfog

        Mysterious is the way stupid people describe smart things. Having made that observation, I believe your comment was intended as sarcasm. If so, it was smart.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • me

      Ignoring the red herrings and emotional arguments in your post, you're making the assumption that modern-day Christians take everything in the Bible 100% literally. Most don't. The arguments for an intelligent prime mover is a lot stronger than you think, especially considering the fact that our universe contains the exact narrow parameters needed for life (any type of life) to exist.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
      • clearfog

        If it did not have those narrow parameters, we would not be here to talk about them. It is called the Anthropomorphic Principle. BTW – you said "arguments" for creationism, not evidence."

        March 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • Science Crusader

        Please share these arguments for an intelligent prime mover – I must have missed them.

        March 28, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Colin

      me – and what created the "prime mover" who loves ho.mo sapiens so?

      March 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
      • me

        Colin, if it's outside of time (a function of space), then it cannot possibly have a point of origin. Hasn't the question of "Who created God?" been answered a million times already?

        March 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
      • Colin

        me – yes and depending on your god, the answer is usually a tribe of illiterate Bronze Age goat herders somewhaere in the Tigris-Euohrates basin or the Indus river basin.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • AGuest9

        me, How do you figure that time is a "function of space"? They are two different ent.ities that were shoe-horned together by Lorentz. Time travel is impossible, simply because "time" itself, does not exist. We are simply viewing the irreversible process of the Second Law.

        March 29, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • T

      The problem for you...you arrogantly but predictably assume that the explanations you seek are within your comprehension. Science believes that if It doesn't makse sense to me I will try to study it. If it still doesn't make sense to me, then it must be "magic" or something else smug and condescending. Because of course if it sounds silly or improbable to you, it can't possible exist.

      Get over your self you primate, lol.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:30 am |
  68. Chitown Jason

    Why do scientists insist on only certain specific conditions being present for life to exist? Sure, life forms on Earth need water, but that doesn't necessarily mean that life anywhere else in the universe does.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      It's generally believed that it's one of the six main components in order to form a strand of DNA. But a good point you bring up is that we only have this one lab (our planet) to really observe from so far. Who knows? We used to believe the earth was flat and only humans had self awareness. Both have been proven wrong.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Colin

      Pretty hard to imagine how complex compounds can form without it, given, among other things, how dependent they are on hydrphobia and hydrophilia to twist and contort.

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

        No mention of chirality? You'd need chirality for the formation of a single protein, and in nature, it simply does not exist.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • clearfog

      It is possible to have life based upon other than carbon chains. However, we are better at looking for things we understand. No one is excluding the other possibilities, but for now, we are looking where our chances are best at finding. I am sure that one day, we will look elsewhere too.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  69. What?

    Being a religious person, I can attest that people like Clinton (read his comments below) is the problem with religious community. It is their hate for anything that does not conform to their understanding that becomes poster for the entire community(when it should not be). What they do not understand is that there can be a common ground on which theists and atheists can coexist, collaborate and improve each other's understanding of elements the universe.

    No religious book is complete. if it were, there would not have been religious organizations running universities or doing research (genetics, astronomy, astrophysics, etc). If the thought of a higher being controlling the fate gives peace to a troubled mind, the presence of their faith is justified. If the same person is complacent of the fact that that god will take care of everything while he sits on my a.$$ doing nothing, it is dead wrong. He does not deserve that faith. Add the hate filled bashing that people like clinton does to others as well. He does not deserve that faith.

    But to each his own. if the pursuit of happyness is via faith, good for him. if it is via self reliance and no faith, good for him too. But there need not be animosity.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Chitown Jason

      Excellent post.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      *hands What? a beer* Cheers to that!

      March 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  70. me

    Until we better understand all of the many factors that went into the formation of life on Earth (assuming that it really was "random"), there is no way to determine the number of worlds with life with any known degree of accuracy.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  71. Answerman28

    Only an arrogant religious imbeile would dare to imagine the universe isnt full of life in every direction.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • me

      Many religious people do consider the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe to be very high. There are also atheists like Richard Dawkins that considered the possibility that the formation of life on Earth was a unique event (or a freak accident).

      March 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Norm

      So far anyway, the Earth appears to be unique. Hey,there are 7 billion humans right here. We're all unique.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  72. ron

    ii dont know man, nobodys ever seen any other life and weve been here for millions of years. what are the chances that their is any life out their? probalbly slim to none.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • closetiguana

      We've only been looking for a several hundred years and our technology is still in it's infancy plus the universe is so vast.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      Actually we are only beginning to develop the ability to look with different and more developed tools. Check out the different moons in our solar system. Some are really beginning to show great potential.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • kilmo

      really? Do you really think that? You do realize that there are probably more stars in this universe then there are grains of sand on this earth, right? There is most certainly more life out there.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • JMan

      Why is it hard to believe? Think about it. Look at our current technology. It would take centuries to get to the next solar system from us. Think about how many millions of light years away these galaxies are.

      Our current space program puts our fastest ship nowhere near the speed of light. And unless we've developed some kind of wormhole technology, we won't be getting anywhere anytime soon. If there is intelligent life out there, they could be in the exact same situation we are. At a standstill.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
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