Thursday, April 26, 2007

Anybody out there?

There's never been much of a question as to whether any of the stars out there have planets. Our sun alone has, umm, eight of them (sorry, Pluto), and there are billions of stars in the universe. I was surprised when the news came years ago that astronomers found a planet outside our solar system-- not surprised that they found one, but that they didn't find any sooner. Since then they've discovered lots more.

And the latest one is the best!

It orbits a comfortable distance from its sun, has a surface temperature that we would be comfortable with, and conceivably could have water. According to our earthbound cookbook, water and warmth are the first ingredients in the recipe for life.

Best of all, this New Earth only 20 light years away! This means that if we begin sending our signal at the speed of light right now, and they send their reply at the speed of light right away as soon as they get our message, humankind can make first contact in 2047, when I am in my 60s.

Then I can live out the rest of my days with the knowledge that we... are not alone...

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