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ToSeek
2004-Jul-13, 05:27 PM
Good Universe Today article on upcoming missions to look for Earth-sized extraterrestrial planets:

The Search for More Earths (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/search_for_more_earths.html?1272004)


When astronomers first realized that the stars in the sky were like our Sun, only more distant, they wondered if those stars had planets too. And if they have planets, is there life? Intelligent life? There's an answer - yes or no - but we don't know it yet. NASA and the European Space Agency are working on a series of space and ground-based observatories that may help get an answer soon. In just a decade, you could gaze into the night sky, locate a star, and know that there's life there. Life could be everywhere.

skeptED56
2004-Jul-13, 05:31 PM
Very Cool! :D

eburacum45
2004-Jul-13, 06:54 PM
I am not sure that the detection of oxygen will be a definite indicator of life if detected in the atmoshere of a terrestrial type planet; oxygen can be produced by abiological means, including photolysis.

As far as water, methane or carbon dioxide these too could be present in the atmosphere of a planet without life; we really need to detect organic compounds like chlorophyll.

Many organic compounds as well could have abiological origins; so the detection of interesting atmospheric components may raise more questions than answers.

But definitely a wonderful eye on the universe, assuming they do ever get launched.

dvb
2004-Jul-13, 08:05 PM
It just blows my mind away how they can detect such things from so far away. That is, if they are able to once the project is started.