I know WHO we are but do we really appreciate who we are in the greater context of WHERE we are? Because this blog is dedicated to sharing details about where we live and the importance of understanding our tightly, woven connection that every particle has in the past, does now, and will have in the future, I often search for ways to bring the many environmental pieces together as a whole.
There has been a lot of extraordinary research conducted on finding Earth-like planets throughout the universe. How successful has this search for other, high-probability planetary locations that could support the conditions for life (as we know it on planet Earth)? In a recent study that was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - 8.8 billion Habitable Earth-Size Planets Exist in Milky Way Alone – its co-author, Geoff Marcy, from the University of California at Berkeley estimates that within the Milky Way Galaxy ALONE – using NASA data
“there are at least 8.8 billion stars with Earth-size planets in the habitable temperature zone (where life-crucial water can be liquid).”
Considering that we have only recently begun to develop technology to probe beyond our solar system, we could be considered somewhat “naive” in understanding the process. In fact, the study also shows that
“the 8.8 billion Earth-size planets figure is only a start. That’s because scientists were looking only at sun-like stars, which are not the most common stars. An earlier study found that 15 percent of the more common red dwarf stars have Earth-size planets that are close-in enough to be in the not-too-hot, not-too-cold Goldilocks Zone. Put those together and that’s probably 40 billion right-size, right-place planets…And that’s just our galaxy. There are billions of other galaxies.”
Yet, for all of this fascinating research that is occurring in our lifetime, there is one scientific source that I always felt had a special way of presenting the awesomeness of all things related to space. That is Carl Sagan.
I hope that after viewing the following 4 minute video from the Sagan Series, you will truly appreciate who we really are in our small area of this vast universe. Once you can better appreciate how small we really are, perhaps there will be a renewed urgency to protect our environmental assets.
Enjoy: The Pale Blue Dot