How Rare is Our Earth?

I’ve no idea, but it’s looking less rare than before:

The most enticing property yet found outside our solar system is about 20 light years away in the constellation Libra, a team of European astronomers said today…

It is the smallest of the 200 or so planets that are now known to exist outside of our solar system, called extrasolar or exoplanets. Moreover, it orbits its home star within the so-called habitable zone where surface water, the staff of life, could exist if other conditions are right, said Stephane Udry of the Geneva Observatory.

“We are at the right place for that,” said Dr. Udry, the lead author of a paper describing the discovery that has been submitted to the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Yes, it is too soon to say very much about this planet – but it does begin to kick the legs out from under yet another creationist argument: that our planet is situated “just so.” And we found this within 20 light years of Earth, which is nothing compared to the billions of light years which comprise the universe; planets within the habitable zone would seem to be, statistically, quite common.

3 Responses to “How Rare is Our Earth?”

  1. PatrickP Says:

    Awesome. I was so excited when I saw this.

  2. Jon Says:

    I think we need to go ahead and claim that planet before the frigging Spanish beat us to it. Seeing the gold of the Incas go to fund Inquisitions and futile armadas should never happen again!

    I propose we call it NOVATERRA AMERICANA and start selling charter licenses. I have dibs on the names NEW ALABAMA, NEW ATLANTA, and JONATHOPOLIS.

  3. ErikZ Says:

    What’s this “We” stuff? I’ve claimed it already. You’ll have to fight me for it.

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