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article imageNASA- One in four Sun-like stars may have planets like Earth

By Paul Wallis     Oct 29, 2010 in Science
Only one in the universe, eh? The largest planetary census study ever undertaken by NASA and UCLA says otherwise. Five years spent searching 166 Sun like stars have found that smaller planets around these stars are more numerous.
The Sun’s type of star, a G class yellow dwarf is comparatively common. While the scientists weren’t able to physically observe the planets, the scientists say they detected a wide range of different types of worlds.
Perhaps the most immediately significant finding is that the well-known giant exoplanets definitely aren’t the majority. They’re just easier to find.
Science Daily quotes Andrew Howard of the University of California, Berkeley, lead author of the new study. "Earth-size planets in our galaxy are like grains of sand sprinkled on a beach -- they are everywhere.”
This information actually fits quite well with the discovery of a possible “giant Earth”, Gliese 581G, just 20 light years away, supposed to be about 4 times the size of Earth, but also the smallest, and importantly the first planet of its type officially detected in the “Goldilocks Zone”, just right.
It needs to be mentioned that not all G class stars are as well behaved as our Sun. Some fire out live plasma. However, a 1 in 4 chance of finding Earth like planets is definitely a lot better than even the greatest optimists have ever dared to suggest. Local G class stars include our neighbor Alpha Centauri A, Capella, and Tau Ceti.
As Stephen Hawking says, we’re going to have to go into space sooner or later, so take a look at your new homes, folks. Now- if the guys who are supposed to be designing the means of getting there would kindly stop playing marbles or whatever it is they do, we might get somewhere.
It's in the human race's best interests to see a lot less of itself. It improves the relationships. Humanity clearly seems to appreciate itself more at a distance, and I for one never want to see another theologian, celebrity, pedant, criminal or rich peasant ever again.
More about NASA, UCLA, Habitable planets
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