Things used to be much easier for creationists. As we mentioned a few months ago in More Earth-Like Planets Found:
It wasn’t long ago that creationists were certain that our solar system was the only one in existence, and the Earth, having been uniquely created for us, was all alone in the universe. For example, look at this oldie-goldie from the 1970s from the Institute for Creation Research: The Stars of Heaven. It was written by Henry Morris himself, who said:
[T]he earth is unique in the solar system and, for all we know, the solar system is unique in the universe. So far as we can observe, there are not even any planets anywhere else, let alone a planet equipped to sustain biological life.
Those days are gone, but creationists still insist that Earth is a uniquely Privileged Planet. Now, even that forlorn hope is fading fast. NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) reports: NASA’s Kepler Mission Announces Largest Collection of Planets Ever Discovered.
According to Wikipedia, “Kepler is a space observatory launched by NASA to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. The spacecraft, named after the Renaissance astronomer Johannes Kepler, was launched on March 7, 2009.” This is what NASA says, with some bold font added by us for emphasis:
NASA’s Kepler mission has verified 1,284 new planets – the single largest finding of planets to date. “This announcement more than doubles the number of confirmed planets from Kepler,” said Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This gives us hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth.”
To depress the creationists even more, we’re told:
An additional 1,327 candidates are more likely than not to be actual planets, but they do not meet the 99 percent threshold and will require additional study.
Then a NASA official is quoted:
“Before the Kepler space telescope launched, we did not know whether exoplanets were rare or common in the galaxy. Thanks to Kepler and the research community, we now know there could be more planets than stars,” said Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters. “This knowledge informs the future missions that are needed to take us ever-closer to finding out whether we are alone in the universe.”
It’s even worse than the creationists could imagine. Let’s read on:
In the newly-validated batch of planets, nearly 550 could be rocky planets like Earth, based on their size. Nine of these orbit in their sun’s habitable zone, which is the distance from a star where orbiting planets can have surface temperatures that allow liquid water to pool. With the addition of these nine, 21 exoplanets now are known to be members of this exclusive group.
One more excerpt, guaranteed to drive the creationists crazy:
Of the nearly 5,000 total planet candidates found to date, more than 3,200 now have been verified, and 2,325 of these were discovered by Kepler.
Okay, so we’ve gone from being the only planetary system in the universe to being in a galaxy where — after just a few years of searching with what will soon be regarded as primitive equipment — we’ve found more than 3,200 planets, almost 550 of which are rocky planets like Earth, and 21 of those are in their star’s so-called Goldilocks zone, or rather, the Circumstellar habitable zone.
It’s not a good time to be a creationist. But then, it never was.
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