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Our Ever-Growing Menagerie of Exoplanets

18 Apr 2019, 20:52 UTC
Our Ever-Growing Menagerie of Exoplanets
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

While we have never seen an exoplanet with anything near this kind of detail, scientists and artists now do know enough to represent them with characteristics that are plausible, given what is known about them.. (NASA)

With so many exoplanets already detected, with the pace of discovery continuing to be so fast, and with efforts to find more distant worlds so constant and global, it’s easy to become somewhat blase´ about new discoveries. After so many “firsts,” and so many different kinds of planets found in very different ways, it certainly seems that some of the thrill may be gone.
Surely the detection of a clearly “Earth-like planet” would cause new excitement — one that is not only orbiting in the habitable zone of its host star but also has signs of a potentially nurturing atmosphere in a generally supportive cosmic neighborhood.
But while many an exoplanet has been described as somewhat “Earth-like” and potentially habitable, further observation has consistently reduced the possibility of the planets actually hosting some form of biology. The technology and knowledge base needed to find distant life is surely advancing, but it may well still have a long way to go.
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