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ADMIN posted a blog entry in FDF Online NewsThe one question that has haunted us for a long time is if we really are alone in this universe. Fiction and films have explored the possibility long enough to envision a futuristic world. There have been cases of UFO sightings in part of the world as early as the 8th century. An unidentified object was spotted in Kolkata in the year 2007 and was captured on camera. There have been enough hints for us to believe alien life exists somewhere in the universe. But looks like now we’d finally get evidence of life outside Earth. © Warner Bros Pictures NASA just announced the discovery of 219 possible exoplanets (planets orbiting a star other than the sun) in the Milky Way and out of these, 10 are possibly habitable Earth-like worlds. These 10 planets lie in their star’s ‘habitable zone’ or the ‘Goldilocks region’ where life forms can exist and water can remain in a liquid form. The region is the perfect distance from the star and is neither too hot nor too cold. © Reuters The exoplanets have been discovered as part of the Kepler mission. The Kepler space telescope was launched into space in 2009 and was designed to detect possibly habitable planets in our galaxy and observes just a small portion of the Milky Way. So far, a whopping 4034 possible exoplanets have been discovered by the telescope and out of these, over 50 were discovered to be in the habitable zone. NASA issued a statement that read: “There are now 4,034 planet candidates identified by Kepler. Of which, 2,335 have been verified as exoplanets. Of roughly 50 near-Earth size habitable zone candidates detected by Kepler, more than 30 have been verified.” © Reuters Susan Thompson, Kepler research scientist and lead author of the catalog study said, “This carefully-measured catalog is the foundation for directly answering one of astronomy’s most compelling questions – how many planets like our Earth are in the galaxy?” The detection of habitable worlds is a huge step towards discovering life beyond our world. In our never-ending galaxy that has 200-400 billion stars and over 100 billion planets, it’s just a matter of chance before other life forms are discovered. We just have to wait and watch and see humankind travelling to other worlds to contact aliens living on faraway planets. H/t – NASA
waqas dar posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogAstronomers on Monday added 219 candidates to the growing list of planets beyond the solar system, 10 of which may be about the same size and temperature as Earth, boosting the chances for life. Scientists found the planet candidates in a final batch of NASA's Kepler Space Telescope observations of 200,000 sample stars in the constellation Cygnus. The candidates include 10 newly discovered rocky worlds that are properly distanced from their parent stars for water, if it exists, to pool on their surfaces. Scientists believe liquid water is a key ingredient for life. ?An important question for us is, ?Are we alone?'" Kepler program scientist Mario Perez said in a conference call with reporters. ?Maybe Kepler today is telling us indirectly ... that we are not alone.? The National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched the Kepler telescope in 2009 to learn if Earth-like planets are common or rare. With the final analysis of Kepler data in hand, scientists said they will now work on answering that question, a key step in assessing the chance that life exists beyond Earth. During a four-year mission, Kepler found 2,335 confirmed planets and another 1,699 candidates, bringing its tally to 4,034. That number includes about 50 worlds that may be about the same size and temperature as Earth. Including other telescope surveys, scientists have confirmed the existence of nearly 3,500 planets beyond the solar system. Kepler?s data also provided a new way to assess whether a planet has a solid surface, like Earth, or is made mostly of gas, like Neptune. The distinction will help scientists home in on potential Earth-like planets and better the odds for finding life. The Kepler team found that planets which are about 1.75 times the size of Earth and smaller tend to be rocky, while those two- to 3.5 times the size of Earth become gas-shrouded worlds like Neptune. ?It?s like finding what we thought was a single species of animal is really two different things,? said Benjamin Fulton, a graduate student in astronomy who analysed the Kepler data. So far, these planets, which scientists refer to as ?super-Earths? and ?mini-Neptunes,? have not been found in Earth?s solar system, though scientists are on the hunt for a potential ninth planet far beyond Pluto. ?It is interesting that we don?t have what appears to be the most common type of planet in the galaxy,? Fulton said.