Friday, 20 May 2011

New Scientist: There’s No Place Like Home Elsewhere in the Universe

No other planet like this has been discovered. Image courtesy of NASA.

Joel Kontinen

"Our system is a rarity, there's no longer a question about that”, says Geoffrey W. Marcy, professor of astronomy at the University of California at Berkeley, in this week’s issue of New Scientist.

In the magazine Lee Billings gives an overview of the search for alien worlds. ”Two decades of searching have failed to turn up another planetary system like ours. Should we be worried?” New Scientist asks.

Professor Marcy has discovered more exoplanets or planets outside our solar system than any other astronomer.

Exoplanets have turned out to be extremely weird worlds. They do not conform to the predictions of naturalistic planet origins theories. In 1755 Immanuel Kant speculated that the Sun was formed when a huge gas and dust cloud collapsed. The gas and debris that it ejected coalesced into planets. Later Pierre-Simon Laplace developed this nebular hypothesis into a more credible form.

Exoplanets basically falsify such views. In many cases, giant gas planets almost touch their suns and do not leave any room for Earth-sized planets, or then smaller planets orbit so close together that even in theory, life as we know it is impossible.

However, there’s one place that feels like home. Genesis tells us that God created Earth to be habitable.


Billings, Lee. 2010. No place like home: Our lonesome solar system. New Scientist 2812: 46-49.