8 April 2005

Don't tell the Neocons

Universe is full of Earths
Potential homes for life could be everywhere. Half of the known planetary systems identified beyond the kingdom of the sun could have their own 'Earths,' according to new research.

Barrie Jones of the Open University at Milton Keynes told the national meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in Birmingham that 130 giant planets orbiting close to their parent stars had been discovered so far. Even though small, rocky planets that could support liquid water and dense atmospheres have not been detected, they could nevertheless survive close to the Jupiter-sized objects.

The reasoning, by three researchers at the Open University, is published in this month's Astrophysical Journal, and confirms other studies that suggest that the conditions for life extend not just among the 100 billion stars of the Milky Way galaxy, but perhaps through the estimated 100 million or more galaxies in the observable universe.

They'll have George the Unready decked out in silver underwear faster than you can say: 'Ming the Merciless'.

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