How many habitable planets?

Looking at the latest analysis of the data from the Kepler Spacecraft the number of habitable planets are potentially now one in five. 

Habitable zones are neither too hot nor too cold

Analysis by UC Berkeley and University of Hawaii astronomers shows that one in five sun-like stars are potentially habitable.

“When you look up at the thousands of stars in the night sky, the nearest sun-like star with an Earth-size planet in its habitable zone is probably only 12 light years away and can be seen with the naked eye. That is amazing,” said UC Berkeley graduate student Erik Petigura, who led the analysis of the Kepler data.

When the  James Webb Space Telescope is launched, hopefully in 2018, it should be able to look at these habitable plants and see in even more detail the surface of the planets. One of the four James Webb science themes is Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life.

It’s just a matter if time until we discover that first other ‘Blue Marble.’

 

It’s The End of the World As We Know It.

The end of the world

Don’t worry, you should feel fine.  This isn’t going to be a doomsday treatise that keeps in line with such films as Deep Impact, Sunshine, or Armageddon. There are no reports of gamma ray bursts heading our way for me to report on; no Planet X slowly cruising towards us on a collision course like in Melancholia.  No, the end of Earth as we know it will be far less immediate than any Hollywood story currently out there or in development.  The raw deal according to a recent article published in Astrobiology by Andrew Rushby is that the Earth has spent about 70% of its lifetime in the Sun’s habitable zone and in time will be consumed by the expanding growth of the sun.
But let’s not give away all of our possessions just yet.  The end of the world won’t exactly happen any time soon.
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