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Scary Science: Earth and Her Sisters.

The search for extraterrestrial life continues to go strong, and with the start of May we have discovered another earth like planet. Scientists and Cosmologists have been searching to find planets that could sustain life and have found only a small number of these planets. Since 1995 the search has been filled with many joys and discoveries and within the next year more news will be released on the newest discovery of Earth’s twin, floating out in the sea of stars.  Within January of 2011 the Kepler telescope, crafted to find earth like planets, has discovered a smaller earth like planet and the discoveries continue to pour out.
In the past we have found very promising planets that have pointed us in the right direction. About 560 light years away and resting just outside our solar system, this planet was found orbiting its own sun in what scientists call, “the sweet spot.” The sweet spot is a spot in space where a planet orbits its sun from a safe distance. The sweet spot is similar to Goldie locks, where a planet sits in the “just right” position to create life. This Earth like planet is 1.4 times our Earth’s size and 4.6 times its mass; making it a likely candidate to support life, or at least our life. Astronomers have decided to call it Kepler-10b.  This news may be a few months old, but in that time many more planets have crept out of hiding and discovering life amongst the stars doesn’t seem that far off. NASA has made predictions on if we will be seeing more Earth like planets and their calculations are very promising.
For the last 15 years NASA has discovered more gas giants than rocky planets, which NASA has been quick to call the “planetary missing link”. Astronomers don’t dispute the fact that an Earth Like planet discovery is on the cusp and these smaller planets that have been found are only prove positive of what these theories and evidence. Samuel Arbesman, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and Gregory Laughlin, at the University of California, have looked reviewed the Data they have found from Kepler and are filled with anticipation and anxiety to find these planets. They data suggests that by 2013 we have a 66% chance of finding a planet in the sweet spot, a 75% probability by 2020 and a 95% chance by 2264. That suggests that within the next 200 hundred years humans may very well be buying and renting vacation homes in another galaxy.
Kepler-10b may be one of the first discoveries, but it also boasts as being one of the greatest discoveries to date. As the year continues to end all of our efforts may provide us with some rewards, and astronomers at NASA are keeping their fingers crossed and holding their breath.  The latest to come by and snatch these researchers breaths is Kepler 11, a smaller than earth sized planet floating amongst larger planets in its own solar system. Kepler 11 rests in the sweet spot yet again, and gives scientist more hope to discovering its formation and what possibilities lay on its surface.  Discovering aliens has gone from science fiction to a highly likely possibility and NASA is prepared for this. Scientists are racing to find solutions to the answers on our own planet and theorists are predicting that the discovery of an inhabited earth planet would send people into frenzy. We may see another Manifest Destiny mindset, but many are predicting that it would unite us as a people.
Finding a new planet sounds promising for our species but many activists and skeptics wonder how we as a whole would interact with these beings, assuming we could make contact. If they are more advanced than we would only hope that they would be friendly, but if these alien species were to be less “civilized” or “advanced” as us could pose an issue. Many are looking into our own interactions on our planet and expecting the worse. Avatar could be a possibility and we could see some destruction of theses alien planets. This however is a small possibility says scientists and they hope to discover life on other planets for the sake of learning more about ourselves and our planets.
“This could answer many questions about how we got here and what really does create life,” says a NASA scientist. “First though, we need to find these Earth like planets before we can determine how we as a species would interact with it.”

With so many discoveries we will find what we are looking for, but until then we can only speculate what will happen once we find these planets. In the meantime, NASA will continue to search and provide the news that could completely change our future.  Our next generations may see space exploration, and even possibly visiting other planets. At least that’s the plan NASA has in store.