Sunday, February 15, 2009
Milky Way Galaxy has 'billions of Earths'
There could be one hundred billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy, a US conference has heard. Dr Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science said many of these worlds could be inhabited by simple lifeforms. But, based on the limited numbers of planets found so far, Dr Boss has estimated that each Sun-like star has on average one "Earth-like" planet.
"Not only are they probably habitable but they probably are also going to be inhabited," Dr Boss told BBC News. "But I think that most likely the nearby 'Earths' are going to be inhabited with things which are perhaps more common to what Earth was like three or four billion years ago." That means bacterial lifeforms.
Dr Boss estimates that Nasa's Kepler mission, due for launch in March, should begin finding some of these Earth-like planets within the next few years. Recent work at Edinburgh University tried to quantify how many intelligent civilisations might be out there. The research suggested there could be thousands of them.
Thousands of 'them.' That's thousands of 'us.' Intelligent civilizations. Of course, one might ask whether our civilization is intelligent. After all, we still conduct massive killings of each other on a regular basis through our endless wars.
Did God create human life on each of these thousands of planets, too? And did they, like Adam and Eve, 'sin?' Did he send his son down to each of these planets to be crucified for the sinfulness?
Or did that scenario exclusively happen only here, on this inhabitable planet?
So much to yet learn from science...