90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Tuesday, November 5, 2013

NASA Ames Director: We’re Closer To Answering, ‘Are We Alone?’

An artist's illustration of Kepler-62f, a planet in the "habitable zone" of a star that is slightly smaller and cooler than ours. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

An artist’s illustration of Kepler-62f, a planet in the “habitable zone” of a star that is slightly smaller and cooler than ours. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

India successfully launched its first space mission to Mars today. The orbiter, named Mangalyaan, is expected to enter Mars’ orbit in September 2014. It would make India the fourth country to successfully reach Mars.

Meanwhile, scientists have estimated that in the Milky Way, there are 8.8 billion stars with Earth-sized planets at temperatures that would allow water in liquid form.

“In the next five or ten years, I think we’re going have a really good indication of, ‘Are we alone.’”

“Its a really neat result, it’s one that nobody expected 20 years ago that we could even do,” Pete Worden, director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.

NASA’s Kepler satellite took a census of about 4,000 of the planets in the galaxy, and from there, Warden says, scientists have been able to extrapolate what their solar systems looked like.

The next step is to determine whether the planets are habitable. Near the end of the decade, there will be a mission aimed at determining whether some of the nearest Earth-like neighbors have oxygen and water in their atmospheres.

“In the next five or ten years, I think we’re going have a really good indication of, ‘Are we alone,’” Worden said.

Guest


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

September 18 Comment

Terry Gilliam Goes Back To The Dystopian Future

Terry Gilliam's new film, "The Zero Theorem" will be familiar to his fans.

September 18 5 Comments

DJ Sessions: Kansas’ ‘Retro Cocktail Hour’

"Space age pop" and "incredibly strange music" are the songs of the day on this installment of the DJ Sessions.

September 17 21 Comments

Volkswagen’s 300 MPG Car

The XL-1 can get 300 miles per gallon. The key is reducing wind resistance.

September 17 40 Comments

How Has The Obesity Epidemic Disrupted Romance?

The health impacts of the obesity epidemic are well-documented. Less studied are its ramifications for romance.