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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Just in case you needed another grand opening to attend, it sounds like the Lawrence Hall of Science is unveiling their new planetarium this weekend, and to celebrate, you can come by and learn everything you could ever possibly conceivably want to know about Mars.

There will be instructions on how to spot Mars in the night sky, as well as a chance to look at it through a telescope and learn about its environment. So, if you’re a really big fan of Mars, or just need something to take your mind off of last night’s football game, you might want to drop by. The event has been ongoing throughout the weekend, and doors will be open from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. this afternoon at the Lawrence Hall of Science Holt Planetarium.

Image Source: TopTechWriter.US’ under Creative Commons
Discover Red Planet Mars! [UC Berkeley Events Calendar]

Two UC Berkeley professors are helping the Google giant out in cosmic ways. To release its new Sky in Google Earth program, Google enlisted the help of Professor Geoffrey Marcy, who studies astronomy and finds planets outside our solar system.Marcy and his international team gave Google coordinates to more than 200 planets around almost 200 stars. Joshua Bloom, an assistant professor of astronomy, assisted with a newer part of the program: Now, Google Sky sends real-time updates on flashing objects in the real sky.Yay, they even have flashing stuff! That sounds like druggie heavens.Bloom showed Sky during his opening lecture for an introductory astro class, kinda like when your teacher asks you what you did for summer vacation, except this time he tells you what he did. As for the class’s reaction? NewsCenter doesn’t say. But Bloom may see a future written in the stars.Image Source: Chris Dick under Creative CommonsAstronomers eager to add to Sky in Google Earth [NewsCenter]