Light from a planet in constellation Cancer detected.

Posted: May 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

For many millennia, we relied on philosophers to tell us what is out there, now with 21st century scientific tools we can see “what is” rather than ask “what should be believed”, since late 1920s Scientific observations has changed the way us humans think of ourselves and our place in the Universe, we live in a small fragile island of life, in an expanding Universe of possibilities, Arthur Eddington said “Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine”.

This week, I think on 8th, NASA announced that its $770 million Spitzer Space Telescope has detected light from an alien “super-Earth” twice the size of our own Earth 41 light years away called 55 Cancri e, since its discovery in 2005, astronomers have pinned down increasingly strange features about the planet, they already knew it was part of an alien solar system containing five exoplanets in the constellation Cancer, but a more recent study, based on the Spitzer, also suggests that “about a fifth of the planet’s mass must be made up of light elements and compounds, including water,” according to astronomers.

The search for extraterrestrial life [which goes in hand with search for habitable\Earth like planets] was brought into mainstream Science through the establishment of SETI in 60s, sincerely speaking with around 200Billion galaxies each with more than 100 billion stars most with planets, it would be odd if its only us, right? And a waste of space 🙂

Ok, before I forget Dr Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical Physics and best selling author said “when we say we’re searching for E.I, we are not referring to little green people, but type one [planetary], type two [stellar] and type three [galactic] civilizations, don’t worry I will blog to explain it and reason we are type zero :-), the feeling that there is something like us or better than us out there, continue to inspire Science, philosophy, technology and theology.

Over 1000 exoplanets have been found in our galaxy, the Milky Way, however compared to how large the observable universe is, SETI’s efforts for last 40 years are equivalent to scooping a glass of water in an ocean, the interstellar distances are so huge that with current technology traveling to the nearest Star Alpha Centauri, 4.5Light years away, would take us around 70 000 years, journey to 55 Cancri e would be ten times that of Alpha Centauri. I know!! Lol!!

I was watching TED Talks 2009 and SETI director Jill Tarter said “The discovery of intelligent life will change everything, all at once, removing the loneliness and solipsism in us.” NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2018, likely will be able to learn even more about the planet’s composition. The telescope might be able to use a similar infrared method as Spitzer to search other potentially habitable planets for signs of molecules possibly related to life.

  1. […] Light from a planet in constellation Cancer detected. ( […]

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