To Discover Strange New Worlds

NASA announced the discovery of a new planet 600 light years away that dwells in the so-called "Goldilocks Zone" of its solar system ("not too hot, not too cold, but just right" to possibly support life).  Named Kepler-22b, it is the latest in a string of discoveries that gives dreamers hope of someday finding an actual twin of Earth somewhere out there in the cosmos.  If such planets are commonplace, then maybe the probability of the universe being littered with life might be an undeniable fact rather than just a highly likely theory that scientists and sci-fi fans have long championed.

Kepler-22b might have an atmosphere and might have liquid water.  Even though those details have not been confirmed yet, it's still an incredible leap from the last breath-taking discovery of the first rocky Earth-like planet (named CoRoT-7b).  The words on the blog Crossroads and Portals at the time of that announcement are just as relevant now:

"What we thought to be rare or unique is, in fact, commonplace. Consider our own solar system consists of eight planets, one of which is teeming with life. If the odds within our own solar system are one in eight, imagine what's out there in the countless stars of the cosmos. The evidence of extra-terrestrial life beyond our blue and green orb seems inevitable."

I'm not a statistician, nor am I an astronomer or other scientist, but I'm definitely a dreamer.  We might be a long way from ever finding a plausible method of reaching those distant new worlds, but their discovery is thrilling nonetheless.  Who knows what we'll stumble upon tomorrow?


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