So what’s not known about this new planet? A lot, it seems. But isn’t that what science is all about. Peeking into the unknown to find answers to what was previously unanswerable is what drives scientific inquiry. If in our galaxy alone there are something like 100 million planets that could support life and only 10% actually do there are 10 million planets that do support life. If only 10% of those support some form of intelligent life then there are 1 million planets in the Milky Way Galaxy that support intelligent life. If only 10% support advanced civilizations then there are some 100,000 planets in our galaxy alone that support advanced civilizations.I am willing to bet that none of those folks out there look anything like human beings. In spite of the fact that Star Trek confirmed that everyone in the galaxy speaks English, I doubt that as well. The point here is that we may not be so isolated or unique as we might want to think.
I, for one, am excited about living in a time when reason may finally push aside reasons to believe in the fairy-god of the heavens by erasing the need to fear the unknown. Not knowing, Richard Dawkins reminds us, is the inspiration for either rigorous inquiry or closing off inquiry and pushing the god default button by attributing everything to some unknown creator.
What an exciting new discovery. I can’t wait to learn more.