The Telegraph newspaper site, August 13, 2013, published an answer to a question we humans have asked for ages: Could there be other planets like ours?
“There could be more than 100 billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy that could be home to life, according to new estimates by astronomers.
“Researchers have developed a new method for finding planets that orbit their stars in the so-called "habitable zone" – the right distance to be able to support life.
“Currently these planets are difficult to spot as they tend to be comparatively tiny when compared to the star they orbit and until now most Earth-sized alien worlds to be found in other solar systems have been so close to their stars that no life could ever survive.
“Scientists at the University of Auckland, however, claim that by combining data from a Nasa space telescope that is currently searching the heavens for other planets with a ground based technique called gravitational microlensing, it will be possible to identify smaller Earth-like planets in the right orbit.
“They estimate there could be as many as 100 billion of these planets in the Milky Way, our own galaxy. With roughly 300 billion stars in our galaxy, this figure may not be as unlikely as it first seems, they say. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/9969746/There-could-be-100-bill...
We likely are not the only ones out there in endless light years of space with trillions of stars, yet our planet, one of 100 billion like us, is all we’ve got. And it’s gotten over-heated, exploited and trashed. If it is going to be habitable at all, no religion or savior will do it. Bill McKibben, probably the best known voice warning of climate change, puts it this way in a recent essay talking of how that can best happen:
“The Coming of the Leaderless Movement
We may not need capital-L Leaders, but we certainly need small-l leaders by the tens of thousands. You could say that, instead of a leaderless movement, we need a leader-full one. We see such leaders regularly at 350.org. When I wrote earlier that we “staged” 5,200 rallies around the globe, I wasn’t completely accurate. It was more like throwing a potluck dinner. We set the date and the theme, but everywhere other people figured out what dishes to bring.
“…That won’t happen thanks to a paramount leader, or even dozens of them. It can only happen with a spread-out and yet thoroughly interconnected movement, a new kind of engaged citizenry. Rooftop by rooftop, we’re aiming for a different world, one that runs on the renewable power that people produce themselves in their communities in small but significant batches. The movement that will get us to such a new world must run on that kind of power too.” --Bill McKibben is Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, founder of the global climate campaign 350.org http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175737/tomgram%3A_bill_mckibben%3A_a_movement_for_a_new_planet/#more