Rare Earth Hypothesis – Welcome to Part 2 of our popular blog, from Benchmark Services, Laboratory removals experts.
It was way back in 2000 when Peter Ward and Donald E Brownlee released their book “Rare Earth : Why Complex Life Is Uncommon In The Universe”. They argued that the circumstances needed to support and create life were so uncommon that it would likely not happen again in the known universe.
There were many other viewpoints put forward by other credible astronomers and scientists at the time including Carl Sagan and Frank Drake, arguing that in fact earth was part of an unremarkable solar system in an unremarkable galaxy. Taking this, and the vastness of our universe into consideration, they suggested it was more than likely that these circumstances would happen again.
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How does the discovery of Earth 2.0 affect this hypothesis? Surely if one planet of this type is out there that changes everything? Seti scientist Joseph Twicken seems to have ruled out lack of alien life, saying that Kepler 452b “takes us one step closer to knowing how many habitable planets are out there.”
It seems the key word here is “rare”. They may have found one, but how many more are there? In analyzing 4 years of Kepler data, the scientists uncovered a potential 11 more. Although, as Seti scientist Jeff Coughlin says, “Time will tell if they stand the tests.”
Even in the unlikely event that all 11 turn out to be habitable planets, it’s taken a long time to uncover just one, and that is 1400 light years away. However, in November 2013 Kepler scientists said that there may be as many as 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in systems like our own in the Milky Way alone, so surely there’s room for more?
The beginning of a very long journey
The likelihood is that it will take many more years before we have a good idea about the habitability of our universe. As Cambridge professor Didier Queloz suggests, “This is just the beginning of a very long journey.”
One thing is for sure, that this is a very exciting surface to scratch.
Thanks for reading the latest blog from Benchmark Services. Benchmark specialise in laboratory removals, moving lab equipment, full lab relocations and relocating medical equipment.