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Prospects for abundant Earthlike worlds keep improving

Image from http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/atl...

Planet Discovery Neighbourhood in Milky Way Galaxy - NASA via Wikipedia

Special to Earthpages.org

In his introduction to Modern Kabbalah, “God, Sex and Kabbalah”, Rabbi Allen S. Maller devoted an entire chapter to Extra Terrestrial Intelligent Life and God. In 1983 when the book was published, there was no evidence that any other stars had planetary systems. Today astronomers have discovered over 1,500 planets.

This supports Rabbi Maller’s assertion, based on Kabbalistic teachings, that God didn’t create a universe with millions of billions of stars and leave it devoid of intelligent, spiritually aware lifeforms,  with only one exception. Earth size planets at the right distance to support carbon based life will be discovered in the next few years according to Rabbi Maller.

A recent report in Science News Web edition : September 13th, 2011 by Nadia Drake explains that:

“Planet hunters have unlocked a treasure chest of alien worlds to reveal more than 50 newly discovered planets, including at least 16 not much bigger than Earth and one small, sparkling nugget: a 3.6-Earth-mass planet, parked just inside its star’s life-friendly zone. “We can say that most sunlike stars have planets, and most of them have low-mass planets,” says astronomer Francesco Pepe, a member of the Geneva Observatory.

An accompanying study that will appear in an upcoming issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics presents the team’s long-awaited characterization of its planetary population – and suggests that more than 50 percent of sunlike stars sport a planet. The little guys among them – with masses between Earth’s and Neptune’s – occur primarily in planetary systems. This suggests that roughly 70 to 80 percent of low-mass planets might live in multiplanet neighborhoods, Pepe says.

“The handwriting is more than on the wall now. We can see that most stars have planetary systems, probably like our own,” says astronomer Debra Fischer of Yale University. “This paper is a home-run hit.” The new collection suggests that lighter planets are more common in extrasolar systems than heavier Jupiter-like ones. Though the discovery of Earth-sized planets remains in the future, when such planets come out of the darkness astronomers predict they will be yet more common.

While surveys haven’t detected any Earth-massed planets yet, they’re getting close. As instruments become more precise and planet-finding missions like Kepler continue to stare at stars, finding Earth-like planets in life-friendly orbits looms. “The floodgates are about to open,” Fischer says. “Between what Kepler is doing and these Doppler surveys, we’re really on the threshold of seeing a whole population of planets in this so-called habitable zone.”

Within a decade, astronomers hope to aim telescopes like the planned European Extremely Large Telescope at target exoplanets to sniff out the presence of oxygen or other biomarkers in their atmospheres from across intergalactic space. Right now, there are no instruments capable of doing this – but there will be” and a large part of Rabbi Maller’s assertion will be vindicated.

Rabbi Maller’s web site is rabbimaller.com

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