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NASA's Deep Impact Films Earth as an Alien World
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft has created a video of the moon transiting (passing in front of) Earth as seen from the spacecraft's point of view 50 million kilometers (31 million miles) away. Scientists are using the video to develop techniques to study alien worlds.
"Making a video of Earth from so far away helps the search for other life-bearing planets in the Universe by giving insights into how a distant, Earth-like alien world would appear to us," said University of Maryland astronomer Michael A'Hearn, principal investigator for the Deep Impact extended mission, called Epoxi.
What a multitude of worlds! A new study suggests that the Milky Way could host 100 million planets with complex life, leaving no lack of choice for astronomers to look for organisms beyond Earth. The challenge is, however, that these worlds might be too far away from us to do much yet.
“On the one hand, it seems highly unlikely that we are alone,” stated Louis Irwin, lead author of the study and professor emeritus at the University of Texas at El Paso. “On the other hand, we are likely so far away from life at our level of complexity, that a meeting with such alien forms is extremely improbable for the foreseeable future.”
The figure came from studying a list of more than 1,000 exoplanets for metrics such as their density, temperature, chemistry, age and distance from the parent star. From this, Irwin’s team formulated a “biological complexity index” that ranges between 0 and 1.0. The index is rated on “the number and degree of characteristics assumed to be important for supporting multiple forms of multicellular life,” the research team stated.
Assuming that Europa (a moon of Jupiter believed to have an ocean below its ice) is a good candidate for life, the team estimated that 1% to 2% of exoplanets would have a BCI that is even higher than that. So to translate that into some estimates: 10 billion stars in the Milky Way, averaging one planet a star, which brings us to 100 million planets minimum.
originally posted by: Rainbowresidue
a reply to: JadeStar
What an amazing thread you created.
I will watch the videos later, but enjoyed the reading material very much.
Do you think they will find life on another of those planets or another habitable planet like ours in our lifetime ? (within ca. 50 years)?
No other topic excites me more than space travel, so thanks again for the great read.
Have a great weekend JadeStar.
Where is all that technology they had in Star Trek?
Top 10 Star Trek technologies that came true:
Some of them have already come true (Life imitating art.)but the good stuff still needs to be invented.
I know they are currently working on the instantaneous transporter. I'm just hoping that with how rapidly we are advancing in technology finding life on other planets/ habitable planets will be easier for us to detect in the near future.
Now let me go read more about the Square Kilometer Array.
originally posted by: NoRulesAllowed
enjoy your threads amongst the many silly and pseudo-scientific threads here...
But did you really just say there is a planet for EVERY star? Just double-checking.
originally posted by: ausername
All of those potentially habitable worlds out there and not one within our reach.
Good thing too... For the inhabitants of those worlds.