earthlike planet

It’s a perennial question: Are there other Earth-like planets – or planets full of life – out there?

New research suggests that Earth-like planets are actually pretty common, according to an analysis of the results of Nasa’s Kepler mission. As the diameter of a planet decreases, its frequency increases. Once the diameter reaches twice the diameter of Earth, it remains about the same.

If you love astronomy like we do, then this news should be exciting. The research focused on Earth-like stars in a similar orbit as Mercury, but the article noted that “further evidence suggests that the fraction of stars having planets the size of Earth or slightly bigger orbiting within Earth-like orbits may amount to 50 percent.”

This is timely news, especially as the availability of resources on our planet becomes more worrisome. We finally have new planets for us humans to dominate and exploit of resources. We can skip any lessons in moderation — our galaxy is a treasure trove of planets waiting to be harvested!

Not to mention all of the food. Orion’s baked space-beef. Soda made from corn starch from the corn planet Gliese 876 d.

And it only gets better if there is intelligent life. Let’s get some space wars going on. Finally something to unite the human race: killing other intelligent life. Think of the economic and social benefits of a totally awesome space war.

“The Earth Empire.” We like the sound of that.

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As it gets closer and closer to the dreaded finals week, as essay after essay pile up,  and with the incessantly overcast weather, we thought there are probably a lot of negative feelings floating around. And you know, the best way of getting rid of negative feelings is to actually feel them. As you look at these here villains, let it all out. Yes, good. Let the hate flow through you.

Xenomorph from Aliens

GAH! That ghastly face and that grotesque body evoke some innate sense of disgust and repulsion in all of us. We hate to be prejudiced, but the Xenomorph is so ugly that racism is almost okay. Somewhere, in some Tibetan mountain, there is a monk that is so enlightened that he can accept the Xenomorph as a beautiful creature produced by millenniums of  painstaking evolution. For everyone else, it’s just a creepy alien.

Mr.Henry F. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life

You don’t hate people just for being rich, you just get jealous of them. But Mr.Potter isn’t just a rich person. He’s greedy. He’s selfish. He’s dishonest. And worst of all, he’s got a horrific set of old man eyebrows. He makes a terrific villain because he’s such a caricature of a scrooge.


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Astronomy C 10, anyone? Anyone? (Bueller?)

Whether or not you’re in Alexei Filippenko’s class, you’ve probably heard about the enthralling astronomical research at UC Berkeley. In fact, our very own Geoff Marcy was a member of one of the main teams that discovered the first of these little beauties. Extrasolar planets (or exoplanets, if you want to get cute) are planets that orbit stars outside of our solar system. And guess what? We’ve just gotten one step closer to getting a better look at them.

That’s right, folks—to infinity and beyond is read more »

Oh, the weather outside is frightful–but that doesn’t keep us from our ever-pressing search for extraterrestrials! A few months ago, we told you about the university’s role in sweeping the stars for alien life. The search continues, but the scientists at the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence could use a little more computer power. You can help.

When the (SETI) team’s incoming data overwhelmed its ability to analyze it, the scientists conceived a distributed computing project to harness many computers into one big supercomputer to do the analysis.

This computing project is called [email protected], and it utilizes the computer power of its volunteers by taking the place of their “energy-wasting” screen savers. The [email protected] project began eight years ago, but with a larger radio telescope promising a huge influx of new data, they’ll need a lot more volunteers.

Who knows, maybe the [email protected] peeps will hand out prizes if your computer processes groundbreaking data. Free Jamba Juice cards are always nice. Then again, so is the satisfaction that, yes, you played an important part in discovering life on planet Xuquazuemallodextrin.

[email protected] [Website]
[email protected] ramps up to analyze more data in search of extraterrestrial intelligence [Website]
Earlier: Berkeley Astronomers Believe the Truth Is Out There