Thursday, July 21, 2016

Exoplanets and the possibility of life "out there"

There has been recent news reports of the K2 mission (using the Kepler telescope, once feared broken, and amazingly fixed by scientists using the pressure of sunlight to help stabilise the telescope!) finding over a hundred exoplanets.

I've always been interested in astronomy but I'll admit that in recent years I haven't looked as closely at the field as I used to do, I knew that they had found some exoplanets but my impression was that they were generally huge gas giant type things, interesting but not something that would support life (at least in a form that we would immediately recognise)

Now, however, the NASA Exoplanet Archive has well over 3,000 planets confirmed in its database, with many more being investigated, and now it has been possible to identify a good number of planets which are considered likely to have of suitable size and with liquid water on their surface.

I think that there's a real possibility in the next few decades that we'll be able to identify some chemicals in the atmospheres of these exoplanets, and possibly from there be able to theorise the existence of life.

I've always believed that the life on Earth isn't alone in the universe, and it's exciting to think that this belief could one day be backed up by evidence.

Are you excited by the possibility of other life, scared, or do you feel something else?  Drop a comment!