Another world

Posted by Marc Hodak on April 24, 2007 under Futurama | Comments are off for this article

Astronomy was my childhood passion. It was the height of the “space race.” What boy’s imagination wasn’t captivated by Star Trek and the eventuality that science fiction would become fact?

So, my heart still races when we find something remarkable out there, as today when we discovered the first planet with earth-like temperatures. This planet may have water. If it does, it would very likely be liquid on its surface beneath an atmosphere of some kind. That makes it a keen candidate for a life-bearing world.

The exciting thing is that even if this world contains no water or no life, it’s still a harbinger of other worlds yet to be discovered that almost certainly do have water and life. We’ve only been looking for a relatively short time, a few cosmic seconds, and already we have found over 200 planets, one of them earth-like, albeit with a big red sun that would look 20 times the size of the moon. (How cool is that?) At this rate, our grandkids should be familiar with dozens, if not hundreds of worlds likely to support life of some sort. Soon after, we may even be able to reach them in a reasonable amount of time.

The reason I love history is because it kind of makes up, in my mind, for all the years that I wasn’t around before I was born. At times like this, I wish I were looking back on these exciting times of discovery, but knowing what those discoveries eventually turned into. I guess there are as many ways of saying life is too short as there are stars in the sky.

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