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Space NASA

Kepler's Alien World Count Skyrockets 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-thing-we-launched-it-with-a-skyrocket dept.
astroengine writes "The number of known planets beyond the solar system took a giant leap thanks to a new technique that verifies candidate planets found by NASA's Kepler space telescope in batches rather than one-by-one. The new method adds 715 planets to Kepler's list of confirmed planets, which previously totaled 246, scientists said Wednesday. Combined with other telescopes' finds, the overall exoplanet headcount now reaches nearly 1,700. 'By moving ... to statistical studies in a "big data" fashion, Kepler has showcased the diversity and types of planets present in our galaxy,' said astronomer Sara Seager." In other exoplanet news, a recent study found that so-called 'super earths,' planets that are bigger than Earth but smaller than gas giants like Uranus and Neptune, are unlikely to be habitable to known forms of life. The higher mass traps significantly more hydrogen during the formation of the planetary system, which results in extremely high atmospheric pressure — high enough to be hostile to known life.
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Kepler's Alien World Count Skyrockets

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  • Re:Drake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @05:13PM (#46350519) Homepage

    Up, hugely up.

    The estimates for how many stars have planets is now up considerably from when he initially postulated it, because back then it was thought only a small portion would have planets.

    Now they seem to be quite plentiful.

    Not 25 years ago, the notion of finding an exoplanet was still pretty cutting edge, and hadn't yet happened. Now we're adding them at an amazing rate.

    Me, given the size of the universe and even what we've learned in the last 25 years ... the likelihood that there exists somewhere life on another planet seems almost certain, even if we'll never know about it.

  • by gatkinso (15975) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @05:15PM (#46350553)

    How little you know, fetid human. pewpew!

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