Life in the universe is rare, so rare in fact, I would wager that sentient life is only found on planet Earth. For nearly 50 years the collection of telescopes and scientists under the umbrella name of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) have searched among the wavelengths of a myriad stars in search of a radio signal, any signal, from intelligent life. But have they detected any? Apart from detecting the odd microwave oven in their own establishment,1 no is the answer.
In 2013 Space.com headlines with “Alien Life May Be Rare Across the Universe“2 but on July 23, 2015 NASA announced the discovery of Earth 2.0 with a headline on Space.com of “NASA Finds Closest Earth Twin Yet in Haul of 500 Alien Planets.”3
It is all over the news with a host of pictures of Earth 2.0. But wait, they are only artists’ conceptions.”4 One such drawing is reproduced here.
The report is that NASA found a near twin to Earth named Kepler-452b. It orbits its sun every 385 days, is 60 per cent larger in diameter than Earth, has a mass probably 5 times that of Earth and is located about 1,400 light years away. It’s a big deal! But why?
The news.com.au reports4 that NASA has an answer to this question: “Are we alone in the universe?” saying,
“We’re taking one small step in answering that question today.”
And with that, astronomers hunting for another Earth announced they have found what may be the closest match yet, a potentially rocky planet circling its star at the same distance as the Earth orbits the Sun, NASA said overnight.
“Until about 20-years ago, we didn’t know the answer to that. Now we have a definitive answer.”