The universe is, let’s say, enormous. It is actually bigger than any regular mind could ever conceive. We suppose that only certain mathematicians or physicians may have an inkling about its actual dimension.
This fact is considered to be common knowledge nowadays. But let that sink in for a while…
So, the question that troubles us is whether extraterrestrial life exists. In fact, the very term “extraterrestrial” is fairly ironic if you ponder over it. In the enormity of the universe, what is extraterrestrial is the rule not the exception. Still, we have no other choice but to speak from our (tiny) point of view.
Five planets possibly similar to Earth
As The Independent reports, at least five exoplanets orbiting the distant star K2-138 have been discovered. The distance of the star is nearly 620 light years from Earth.
There is evidence that these planets could fulfill some criteria for potentially being habitable.
Citizen scientists have previously discovered a system of at least 5 planets outside our solar system using @NASAKepler data. But this is the first multi-planet system found entirely through crowdsourcing! Details: https://t.co/Q6tkHQO2QT pic.twitter.com/TH1UW5N1GE
— NASA (@NASA) January 13, 2018
As the NASA article informs us, this discovery was possible through crowdsourcing – “the practice of obtaining services and/or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, especially from the public, online community.”
The so-called citizen scientists were “mobilized” due to a software malfunction. This meant that the large data collected by Kepler telescope should be combed through. People learn to read the signs that suggest the existence of an exoplanet. For a data to be qualified as worthy of further research, needs a minimum of 90% consensus of the involved researchers.
The numbers about the involvement of the public are astounding: In 48 hours over 2 million systems were classified, and 10.000 people participated.
Thus, this “democratic” method accelerates the investigation concerning the discovery of exoplanets that would be potential candidates for hosting alien life.
In search of habitable planets
In turn, in order to define a planet as possible host of life, there are some conditions that should be met. It is then expected that an “earth analog” would have water, it should orbit at the right distance from the hosting star in order that gravity and atmosphere is formed and there must be several natural resources.
Even in our Milky Way there may be 100 billion Earth-like planets. Thus, the chances for a number of them to be able to be habitable is rather high.
The quest for habitable planets fascinates our imagination. And this is reasonable, since the discovery of life on another planet will have tremendous consequences on our religious, philosophical and moral values. And it will have interesting implications for those looking for meditative connection with the universe and the vastness of all worlds.