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Over 60 Billion Planets in the Milky Way Could Support Alien Life

The most fundamental question astronomers and philosophers have asked themselves is: is there life out there? Well, for starters, over 60 billion planets in the Milky Way are said to be able to support intelligent life.

Jul 2 2013, 8:41am CDT | by

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Over 60 Billion Planets in the Milky Way Could Support Alien Life
 
 

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Over 60 Billion Planets in the Milky Way Could Support Alien Life

Over 60 Billion Planets in the Milky Way Could Support Alien Life

Are there aliens out there in the vast recesses of deep space? The thought-provoking question has always haunted thinkers and professionals alike. But now an answer comes from the field of astronomy and it is in the affirmative. Not only is life possible in outer space but it inhabits at least 60 billion planets in the Milky Way alone. According to Space.com the number of planets that are supposed to support life has just doubled.

The new study has proved that the effects of clouds on planetary warmth and temperature cannot be discounted in the equation. Even if it is a far-off planet, the properties of possible clouds on it are crucial in supporting life. Clouds can concentrate heat in the atmosphere via the famous Greenhouse Effect. And they also have a cooling effect by reflecting sunlight back. They thus act as a sort of planetary thermostat or regulator. The process is basically cybernetic. As for the 60 billion planets that are hoped to harbor life, they are said to be clustered around faint red dwarves. These are stars of course.

Researchers at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University studied the patterns of cloud formation and behavior on foreign planets. What they discovered via computer simulations could form the basis of some changes in astronomical views. While red dwarves are much less brighter than the sun, the clouds let life emerge amidst the conditions these stars allow.

According to NASA’s Kepler Mission, there is at least one earth-like planet in orbit around each red dwarf star. And once you add water to the planet it becomes even more supportive of life. The water evaporates and forms clouds. Then it is the water cycle that generates the clouds, rains and water vapor that form the atmosphere. They also regulate the climate. There is even an equation that is meant to calculate the total number of inhabitable planets in the universe. Astronomy today stands on the crossroads. If there is alien life out there, there is a chance that contact between them and us will take place soon. Whether it will be in favor of human beings is a separate question altogether. The fact that alien life forms can turn out to be evil is another legitimate question that begs an answer.

 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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