Do Worlds Exist Beyond “our lonely Eden”?

I wrote the following piece for the Daily Bruin some years ago when I was a columnist there, but I wanted to revisit it because so much has happened since then.   At that time, we knew of no extrasolar planets for certain.   Now we know of at least 700, with the Kepler mission adding potentially thousands more.   And some of those are Earth-size worlds. We have just begun to realise Carl Sagan’s dream of an “Encyclopedia Galactica”.   It’s kind of amusing to think about, but Star Trek got it exactly right.  There must be millions of worlds in this Galaxy alone.   We’re finding them at the rate of roughly 1 per week.   And we’re beginning to see rocky smaller worlds.   To see other ways that solar systems have evolved.   The Galaxy is positively rippling with planets.   And life?   We’re beginning to study these worlds for real–their orbits, their atmospheres, whole planetary systems that are different from our own.   And all this in the last  6 or 7 years.   Soon we will be charting other Earths.   And what of the other 100 billion galaxies in the known Universe.  What if they’re teeming with worlds too?   They probably are.    All the more reason for us to keep venturing outward on our voyages of discovery.  Because, as Ray Bradbury once wrote…when we get back, we’ll know ourselves for the first time.   The “Martians” will be us.   We are the explorers.

So here is the link to my original article:


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