Thursday, 20 April 2017

LHS 1140b: Newly Discovered Super-Earth Might Not Be a Good Place for Life

LHS 1140b. Image courtesy of ESO/

Joel Kontinen

The naturalistic worldview can’t tolerate the possibility that we are unique or that our planet might be very special. It requires a universe that is teeming with alien life.

After all, if life evolved on Earth, it should have evolved elsewhere as well, the naturalist thinks.

Thus, from time to time we are bombarded with the news of the discovery of an Earth-like exoplanet that might harbour life.

The latest candidate is LHS 1140b. Described as a “rocky, temperate super-Earth,” it orbits a red dwarf every 25 days, some 40 light years from us.

Red dwarfs tend to be anything but calm, throwing our flares that would soon snuff out all emerging life, but astronomers assume that the star LHS 1140 is unusually calm.

They hope it has liquid water. However, we can’t be sure of that. It might well be wishful thinking.

NASA and other space agencies have made so many false alarms in the past, so it’s best to remain a bit sceptical.

New Scientist discusses five of the best candidates for alien life. None of them are very convincing.

The Trappist system turned out to be a big disappointment after the initial excitement died off, and the other recently discovered “Earth-like” planets – Proxima b, Kepler 186f and GJ 132b – have not fared well, either.

What we know is that Earth’s twin is still missing and will probably remain so, as life only comes from life. It cannot be produced by Darwinian mechanisms.

It has to be created. In the beginning God createdis still the best explanation for why there is life anywhere in the universe.


Crane, Leah. 2017. The five best exoplanets in the galaxy to check for alien life. New Scientist (19 April).