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Thread: Ep. 190: Kepler Mission

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Ep. 190: Kepler Mission

    Last week we studied Kepler the man, and this week we take a look at Kepler, the mission. Launched in March, 2009, this is a spacecraft designed to search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. Let's take a look at the history this mission, the launch and the science gathered so far.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    The new Kepler results indicate there are 50 billion planets in the Milky Way, with 500 million planets in the habitable temperature zone. So why haven't we heard from or been visited by other civilizations? Arthur C. Clarke described in The Songs of Distant Earth how humans could/will colonize the Galaxy very quickly (on the Galactic time scale) with only very predicable advances in robotics and biology without warp/antimatter drive, wormholes or other exotic sci-fi staples. All experiments and evidence so far indicate that microbial life should have developed on millions of planets. It seems to me that the conclusion has to be that evolving intelligent life must be incredibly rare and it's even possible that we are alone in the Galaxy. If that's true, what a sobering responsibility that puts on us to not screw up the Earth or destroy ourselves for the next few hundred years. If we can get past the next 200 years, humanity's descendants may live as long as the Galaxy exists, which would be many billions of years after our red giant Sun has destroyed the Earth.

    The alternative is that our primitive frailties such as greed, selfishness, global capitalism, and religious fanaticism will destroy us and/or the environment in the next 100 years. It's up to us to choose. Nothing less than the future of the Galaxy may be at stake. No pressure.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    You're hitting on one possible reason why we haven't been visited by other civilizations. Maybe like ours might, civilizations tend to destroy themselves.

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