Thursday, October 22, 2009

10 more years

While surfing the NASA web site, I read the article titled "Astronomers Do It Again: Find Organic Molecules Around Gas Planet."

It discussed scientists, using Hubble and Spitzer, finding a second gas giant planet like Jupiter with water, methane, and CO2. The planet is HD 209458b and it orbits a sun-like star about 150 light years away in the constellation Pegasus.

The article went on to say that terrestial planets, like Earth, Venus, and Mars, are expected to be found by the Kepler telescope. That said, it is believed we are a decade or so away from being able to detect any chemical signs of life on a rocky planet.

My heart sank a little as I read that. 10 years! That's a long time.

Then again, probably in my life time!

Then I wondered if scientists on those planets are developing telescopes and spectrographs powerful and sensitive enough to detect the water vapour, methane, and CO2 on the third rock from our nearest star.

It will be freaky when we start finding these planets possibly capable of supporting life not unlike what we know.

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