Friday, November 16, 2012

Astronomy wants you!

... to go find more exoplanets.

    If you keep tabs on astronomy news today, it feels like every week some headline has to do with the discovery of some new exoplanet.  A few recent finds, in no particular order:
- Possible rogue exoplanet
- Possible habitable planet
- 'Super-Earth' exoplanet

    So, what's an exoplanet and why do we care?  An exoplanet is any planet outside our solar system.  As for why we care?  Exoplanets have the potential for many things, ranging from supporting intelligent extraterrestrial life to being potential mining sites to augment our planet's supply of rare elements.  Somewhere in the middle, of course, are the planets suitable to support human life that we could colonize. 

    While we already know of quite a few exoplanets, very few of them have even a slim chance of being habitable.  By finding more, we increase our odds of finding a habitable planet, and thus finding either extraterrestrial life or a nice new world to colonize.

    Happy hunting!

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