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Our Solar System: Rare Species In Cosmic Zoo 197

astroengine writes "Pulling from 20 years of research since the first discoveries of planets beyond our solar system, scientists have concluded that Earth and its sibling worlds comprise what appears to be a relatively rare breed in a diverse cosmic zoo that includes a huge variety of planet sizes, orbits and parent stars. The most common systems contain one or more planets one to three times bigger than Earth, all orbiting much closer to their parent stars than Earth circles the sun, says astronomer Andrew Howard, with the University of Hawaii."
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Our Solar System: Rare Species In Cosmic Zoo

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  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Friday May 03, 2013 @12:46AM (#43617469)

    As that was a plot point in Star Trek Enterprise.

    I think that the main issue is that people see the TV shows and movies and think that "life" has to look like that.

    But those are just theatrics so that human actors can play the parts. Look at the variations of life on Earth. From whales to worms.

    Are you telling me that the galaxy isn't full of people who grow lumps of rubber on their heads?

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Friday May 03, 2013 @02:09AM (#43617725)

    Not to mention the inter-breeding. So much inter-breeding.

    Who'd want to be the captain of a starship, if not for all the opportunites for inter-breeding?

  • Diversity (Score:5, Funny)

    by gillbates ( 106458 ) on Friday May 03, 2013 @02:46AM (#43617805) Homepage Journal

    I would posit that we'd have more diversity if scientists stopped being so conservative about what qualifies as a planet.

    Take, for example, the plight of Ceres []. Residing somewhere between Mars and Jupiter, it's been called a dwarf planet for quite some time, just because of its immutable physical characteristics. Size discrimination is very real in the physics community, a practice which continues to this day.

    Imagine how many more planets we'd be able to discover if we'd just liberalize the definition of a planet. I know it's served us well, but it is time to redefine the term planet to be more inclusive of our increasingly diverse universe. And how, exactly, would this hurt the status of existing planets? I know it wouldn't affect my planet.

    And why, exactly isn't Ceres a planet? Because the IAU decided to redefine the term "planet" to exclude it! Such blatant bigotry has no place in a pluralistic universe. We should be ashamed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 03, 2013 @10:23AM (#43619751)

    Indeed, similar to:

    "Scientists combing streetsides for spare change in the middle of the night have found that most dropped change tends to be under street lights or other forms of illumination, causing them to speculate that the coins may be exhibiting a photophilic movement".

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith