Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Latest and Greatest Satellite


We get word today from N.A.S.A (Need Another Spending Allowance) that it has launched the new Kepler spacecraft (named for 17th century German astrophysicist Johannes Kepler). This is a high tech telescope with the ability to see distant star systems. The goal is that it will soon be able to tell us if there are other earth-like planets in a section of our Milky Way galaxy. It will train its gaze on the Cygnus and Lyra portions of our night sky and is expected to discover up to 1200 new planets or planetoids (Jr planets :-), which will about quadruple the number of such planets presently known. Considering that the first planets outside of our solar system were discovered just a few years ago, the rapidly changing ability that we have to find these new planets is pretty impressive. The goal is to find some planets where liquid water could be present on then surface. On the other hand if none are discovered, this may prove that the earth is really one unique big blue marble in the vastness of the universe. This could get interesting before it is all said and done. One person on the Kepler project said that if we don't find any other earth type environments out there, that it would be the end of Star Trek as we know it -- very funny.'s hoping that the Kepler can keep the Star Trek dream alive. Live long and perspire. Blessings,


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