Friday, September 30, 2011


NEW HOPE FOR EARTH-LIKE PLANET - More than 50 new alien planets - including one so-called super-Earth that could potentially support life - have been discovered by an exoplanet-hunting telescope from the European Southern Observatory (ESO).  The newfound haul of alien planets includes 16 super-Earths, which are potentially rocky worlds that are more massive than our planet.  One in particular has captured astronomers’ attention because it orbits at the edge of its star’s habitable zone, suggesting conditions could be ripe to support life.   The planet, known as HD 85512b, is about 36 light-years from here, in the constellation Vela, circling its star at the right distance for liquid water to exist on its surface - and thus, perhaps, to host life, as we narrowly imagine it.

  A super-Earth is a planet with a mass between one and 10 times that of Earth. The super-Earth classification refers only to the mass of the planet, and does not imply anything about its surface conditions or habitability.  The first super-Earths, two exoplanets with masses four times that of Earth, were found in 1992.  Dozens more super-Earths have since been discovered, with masses as low as 1.9 Earth masses.  
Super-Earths might be more geologically active than our planet, and may experience more vigorous plate tectonics because of thinner plates that are under more stress. Those engaged in the search for alien life get excited about super-Earths because of the possibility that they could be rocky, and possibly habitable, unlike the gas giants.

After thousands of years of searching and facing the possibility that the Earth and its sister planets might be alone in the universe, the first extra-solar planet - a planet outside our solar system - was discovered and its existence confirmed.  The Vela planet is one of the 50 new exoplanets - as planets around other stars are called.  We, as living being conditioned by material nature, should not pursue happiness somewhere in this material world, no matter what planet we want to achieve, because these are only temporary.

Conditioned souls seek after perpetual happiness in all places - not only on this earth but also on other planets throughout the universe - because constitutionally a spiritual spark, as he is, can travel to any part of God’s creation. But being conditioned by the material modes, he tries to travel in space by spacecraft and so fails to reach his destination. The law of gravitation is binding upon him like the shackles of a prisoner. By other processes he can reach anywhere, but even if he reaches the highest planet, he cannot attain that perpetual happiness for which he is searching life after life. When he comes to his senses, however, he seeks after Brahman happiness, knowing it for certain that unlimited happiness, which he is seeking, is never attainable in the material world.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam - Canto 1: “Creation”
Chapter 11: “Lord Krishna’s Entrance into Dvārakā”
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

1 comment:

Super Earth said...

It does not surprise me that the pseudo-psience folks are looking for super earth. Surely the “2012″ crowd will be jumping on this one soon as well. A sad, sad event that should be taken for what it was; a tragic, but natural, event.