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Space Science

Study Estimates 100 Billion Planets In the Milky Way Galaxy 101

The Bad Astronomer writes "A new study finds that there may be 100 billion alien planets in the Milky Way alone, with 17 billion of them the size of Earth. Announcements like this have been made before, but this new research is more robust than previous studies, using data from the Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft over a longer period and analyzing it in a more statistically solid way (PDF). They also found that smaller planets are not as picky about their host stars, with terrestrial planets forming around stars like the Sun or as small as tiny, cool red dwarfs with equal ease."
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Study Estimates 100 Billion Planets In the Milky Way Galaxy

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  • Re:Goverment aid (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 07, 2013 @07:17PM (#42511851)

    you do realize Obama hasn't spent 1 dollar more than necessary. The trick is Bush put two wars, and 8 years of tax cuts on credit cards and Obama got stuck with the bill.

    Sooner or later quitting your job and living off a second mortgage on your house is going to catch up to you. Then again I don't expect anyone else to realize that is exactly what both parties have been doing for the last decade.

  • Re:Clearly (Score:5, Informative)

    by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Monday January 07, 2013 @08:55PM (#42512875)

    The Fermi Paradox isn't exactly the sort of thing you can answer in the traditional sense, rather it highlights an apparent contradiction in what we could reasonably expect from the universe given it's size and age, and what we actually observe (or fail to). The Drake Equation is actually a sort of partial "answer" in that it attempts to at least formalize the specific unknowns that affect the number of potentially detectable civilizations that might currently exist in our galaxy

    Initially we fed it entirely with wild speculation, now we're starting to be able to peg down some of the variables within reasonable limits. We're getting a pretty good idea of the rate of star and planet formation, starting to get a sense of the probability of Earthlike planets, and realizing that if we're any indication the window in which a civilization is "loud" enough to be detected from another star is potentially extremely short - it's questionable whether we were ever above the threshold, and our transmission strength is already beginning to fall due to more efficient technology.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson