outer space

At least, some people don’t think so. UC Berkeley astronomers Andrew Howard and Geoffrey Marcy believe that our fair planet is far from being one of a kind — in fact, their research claims that there are more than just a few other Earth-size planets out there in the ether.

The two are taking into account the “galactic preference for smaller planets” (think Earth and Venus versus a big ol’ thing like Jupiter) and have gone on to suggest that, “almost one quarter of the stars similar to our sun have Earth-size planets orbiting them.” Considering that heliocentrism has really only been accepted for the past few centuries, Howard and Marcy’s work just goes to show how far we’ve come from thinking that we were at the center of the universe and all that jazz.

Before you get too excited and start looking for your long-lost twin (only a few trillion light-years away!), this doesn’t necessarily mean that these planets share any of Earth’s other super cool (and as of now, unique) characteristics — an optimal distance from the sun, clouds that don’t kill you with their toxicity, intelligent life … But, hey, it sure is fun to imagine that maybe they could.

Image Source: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center under Creative Commons
Galaxy May Have Gobs of Earth-Size Planets [The Washington Post]