Monday, February 28, 2011

I was a Teenage Geekenstein

The chances of eventually having somewhere else to go to really get away from it all have gone up.

According to an extrapolation of early results from NASA's Kepler telescope, which is designed to search for extrasolar planets, there are at least 50 billion planets in the Milky Way.
At least 500 million of those planets are in the not-too-hot, not-too-cold zone where life could exist.
True, no extraterrestrial life has been found despite some teasers over the years. But then add in other discoveries, such the recent one of a bacterium in California’s Mono Lake that uses arsenic instead of phosphorus in its DNA and the examination of a meteorite that revealed amino acids where there shouldn't have been any (leading chief researcher Dr. Daniel Glavin to say it suggests "there is more than one way to make amino acids in space"). In light of those and other discoveries, 500 million seems, well, let's just say to my mind it's rather too large a number to think that life screwed up every one of those chances.

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