The last time we posted about this topic was Maybe Billions of Habitable Planets. We like this subject, not only because it’s interesting, but also because it drives the creationists crazy.
They hate the idea that there are probably of millions of worlds out there, some of which may harbor life. The very thought is blasphemous to them, as it detracts from the glory of what their magic designer — blessed be he! — hath wrought here on earth.
The Discoveroids, for example, are obsessed with The Privileged Planet: — the book by Discoveroid Guillermo Gonzalez (now a Discoveroid sleeper agent at Ball State University). They keep saying, in effect: “There’s nothing to see out there, folks. Earth is blessedly unique.”
The other creationist outfits are more scripturally explicit — Earth is the center stage of God’s universal drama. We were made in His image. It’s all about us.
Well, more and more, it’s looking like it’s not all about us. First, Galileo showed that we’re not the center of the solar system. We’re just another planet, and the Sun doesn’t orbit around us. Then, even more horrible, we’re finding that other stars have planets too!
Today we have news from NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration: NASA’s Kepler Mission Announces a Planet Bonanza, 715 New Worlds. They say, with some bold font added by us:
NASA’s Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system. Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system.
You can hear the creationists howling: No! Noooooo! Sorry, NASA says otherwise:
“The Kepler team continues to amaze and excite us with their planet hunting results,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “That these new planets and solar systems look somewhat like our own, portends a great future when we have the James Webb Space Telescope in space to characterize the new worlds.”
The James Webb Space Telescope should be able to provide more details about those planets, perhaps including their atmospheres. The presence of oxygen, for example, would be a good indicator of life.
Then NASA discusses their improved methods for finding extra-solar planets. We’ll skip that, after which they say:
Four of these new planets are less than 2.5 times the size of Earth and orbit in their sun’s habitable zone, defined as the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet may be suitable for life-giving liquid water.
Even more grief for creationists. One more excerpt:
This latest discovery brings the confirmed count of planets outside our solar system to nearly 1,700. As we continue to reach toward the stars, each discovery brings us one step closer to a more accurate understanding of our place in the galaxy.
We have the galaxy, they have Noah’s Ark. It’s a fair trade.
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