Monday, December 5, 2011

Reason #81: No, Really - Kepler

To hell with Space Fridays - Kepler just found the first-ever extrasolar planet that's not drastically bigger than Earth and within not just the habitable region of its star, but the habitable region of a yellow star that's "just a bit smaller and cooler than out own."

It's too early to know anything about the composition of the planet, dubbed Kepler-22b, but NASA is already willing to say that the surface of a planet like this would be in the area of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and could very well be significantly if not totally covered in oceans. Oceans!!

And now that we know Kepler-22b is there, on top of the fifty or so other "Earth-like" planets Kepler has found so far, NASA can hand its info off to SETI, who can begin scanning the area for radio signals and other signs of technology - though at 600 light years away, even if we picked up Kepler-22b's primetime television lineup, we'd be more than half a millennia too late to buy the DVDs. Nevertheless, folks, you have to admit that these are exciting times.

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