Running head: Earth-Like Planets
Miller-Motte College Online
Critical Thinking – GS235
Dr. Marshall Lloyd
Do you believe that there is life on other planets? Better yet, do you believe that there is another planet that looks like earth? As far as I can remember, there has always been the question of “is there life in outer space? I remember being in grade school wondering if there were humans or aliens on other planets and if they were trying to communicate with us. Around January 1986 the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded during takeoff in front of the entire world. As a teenager, this event was tragic and amazing at the same time because I felt that we were on our way to discovering new planets, solar systems, and other life forms. This tragic event was the start of my interest in outer space. Fast forward to 2012, the science community has greatly advanced our technology since the mid-eighties. Today, we have computers in everything, all types of space probes orbiting the universe, and unbelievable amounts of knowledge about outer space and other planets, but yet, and still, no proof of life in outer space. Will we ever know? Will we ever meet aliens? Only time will tell and personally I think we will, soon! After searching for an interesting subject to cover for this paper, I have discovered a very interesting article on the U.S. News website titled “Earth-Like Planet Found in Nearest Star System”. According to the article scientist say they have discovered a planet that looks like earth orbiting a star that bears a resemblance to our sun. The planet is said to be about 25 trillion miles away, making it very difficult for a space probe to reach the planet using current technology. It is estimated to take about 40,000 years to reach this planet, even though it is in the next closest planetary system to ours. “The planet, dubbed Alpha Centauri Bb, orbits a star in the Alpha Centauri system, a clump of three stars that are closer to us than any others in the night sky. It's called Alpha Centauri Bb because the planet orbits the clump's second-closest star, Alpha Centauri B (Cline, 2012)”. The question here is does this planet really exist, being that it is so far away? The science community and other publications believe that it does. The articles give some clues that are questionable and not all researchers agree that the planet is there. However, there are those who are absolutely convince that it actually exist. “The exquisitely high-quality data required to find an Earth-like planet doesn't just happen by chance," UC Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy wrote in an email (Khan, 2012). The writer seems to be very interested in this subject, but he only presented a few sources to start with. The main source is the lead scientist along with ten other scientists, who first published the original paper detailing and describing the entire discovery at eso.org. The reasons to accept this is that the writer provides information in the article that quotes a well-known scientist named Xavier Dumusque, a scientist at Geneva Observatory and lead author of the paper that published the discovery. Plus, the recent findings of other earth like planets, the huge amount of evidence available and the shear advancement of our technology are all motives to continue our search. Use of a special instrument that detects signal variations attached to the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) telescope in La Silla, Chile (Cline S., 2012), the excitement of the science community, and a special scientific technique called radial velocity (the velocity of an object in the direction of the line of sight) suggests this discovery is a major accomplishment. The writer also quoted Dumusque saying "It's an extraordinary discovery and it has pushed our technique to the limit!” (Cline S., 2012). What technique or techniques is the scientist referring to? What are our technical and...
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