Saturday, June 4, 2016

Nasa Kepler-452b

We are on the verge of finding life on other planets in our starry sea. Under the warmth of our sun, with hydrogen, helium, oxygen, and water, life arose here. But yet this universal equation, this model of life, of suns, and planets and goldilocks orbits, is not finite in the surrounding regions of space. The evidence is faint, but abundant and unmistakable, and at the center of this cosmic tale, is a Nasa telescope, called Kepler, that sends us evidence and pictures of literally thousands, if not million of other planets, similar to our own Earth. Kepler orbits the sun trailing earth, pointing to the northern constellations of Cygnus, Lyra and Draco.

Known as exoplanets, Kepler 425b was one of these highlighted discoveries, carefully presented by Nasa because it met the cosmic life equation, in an orbit around a G2 class sun just like ours, in an orbit distance almost exactly of Earth, spinning around its sun in just 385 days, so similar to Earth that it creates a perplexing and troubling idea that this discovery could the beginning of the answer - are we alone?

Although the 452b star system is much older, emitting more heat than ours, the planet that orbits this sun is almost two times bigger than Earth offsetting the temperatures, striking the delicate balance of a life supporting ratio also coined as the Goldilocks zone. Not too cold, not too hot, but just right - for the primordial porridge of life.

Despite the growing collection of planets, the archives of Kepler seem to be telling us a tale that we may be as radiant and unique as the stars, and so far we have not found an Earth twin. It seems fair to say, this universe may not dominated by a delicate circumstellar range - yet - with time the "Rare Earth" debate might be challenged, and theres no way to refute the growing evidence of Kepler's observations. The answers are not entirely satisfying and the distance is still too vast to know for sure so the truth will have to rest entirely on scientific models and the evidence to lead the way. Perplexing and troubling as this may be, we need to prepare ourselves when we find out, at some point in the future. The next telescope Nasa is sending up called the James Webb Telescope (JWST) will collect and broaden even more information for exoplanets, epoch reionization, and galaxy debris. 

Its an imposing question in an endless universe but like the stars, we are born, live for a time and expand. At first we might struggle for an explanation, but the sense of urgency and dealing with existing beliefs is at hand. The key to information is enormously important, but in the face of scientific truth and controversy, what Kepler doesn't hand us is the subtle time to prepare, deliberate and reason. 

Scientific discoveries will deeply challenge our beliefs but what happens next is just another chapter in our cosmos. Earth is a rocky planet orbiting a G2 star in a quiet suburb of barred spiral galaxy. Kepler 425b and other planets may prove be more like cousins rather than twins but there still quite a few G2's out there, with an estimated 5% in our galaxy alone equaling billions. In all this thermal noise, gas and dust - hitch yourself to a star, but fasten your seatbelt and hang on. Ready or not, here it comes.