We would be naive to think that there is not life on another planet. It may not be life as we know it, with creatures that look, talk and walk like us, but they certainly exist – and NASA have essentially just confirmed it.
Yesterday, NASA revealed the latest findings of the Kepler telescope, a space observatory which has been busy prowling the galaxy for ‘exoplanets’ – the name of worlds found orbiting distant stars – since 2009.
Since the Kepler’s mission began, it has found 3,710 confirmed exoplanets in about 2,780 star systems – discoveries which have made science nerds across the world very excited.
But, if you thought that was impressive, then you ain’t heard nothing yet!
Based upon Kepler’s mass of data, astronomers have estimated that there could be as many as 40 billion rocky, Earth-size exoplanets within the Milky Way. It is thought that 11 million of these planets may be orbiting Sun-like stars, the nearest being 12 lightyears away.
Knowing this, it is impossible for us to assume that we are the only intelligent life in this universe, and thus, there must be alien life existing on at least one of these other planets.
When NASA declared that they’d be making a big announcement yesterday, conspiracy theorists and science fans simultaneously went into meltdown, further intensified when NASA offered viewers of the live stream the opportunity to ask questions via Twitter – unsurprisingly, people had a lot of questions.
In the live stream, which was broadcast yesterday at 18:00, British time, NASA announced that they’d found an entire solar system with as many planets as our own. The distant solar system has as many as eight planets, which look alarmingly similar to our own with their rocky terrain.
NASA was able to detect the new worlds by using Google’s artificial technology, which was able to pick up the slight signals that the Kepler scope sent back to Earth – signals so slight that the human ear couldn’t hear them.
This means that within NASA’s extensive collection of data, there may be many similar examples which have been overlooked as the human ear was not able to note the very slight signals. But now, using artificial technology, this data can be gleaned even more than ever before.
“Just as we expected, there are exciting discoveries lurking in our archived Kepler data, waiting for the right tool or technology to unearth them,” said Paul Hertz, director of Nasa’s astrophysics division in Washington. “This finding shows that our data will be a treasure trove available to innovative researchers for years to come.”
Echoing this, researcher Andrew Vanderburg went on to say that this system “almost certainly won’t be the last,” meaning that our world is not at all that unique.
In fact, at this precise moment, living beings from another planet in a different solar system may be discovering us for the first time – making your favorite science fiction movie not so farfetched after all.
The new world orbits a star named Kepler 90, which is larger and hotter than the Sun, lying 2,500 light years away. Within that world are eight planets, making it the first known alien solar system to host as many planets as our own.
The exciting discovery is a huge game changer in the world of science, leading us one step closer to learning if and where alien life exists. It’s time to start stocking up your underground bunker with non-perishable items folks!