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 29 6 Comments

Michigan Coach Faces Criticism For Keeping QB In Play

University of Michigan quarterback Shane Morris was having trouble standing on his own after a major sack. The coach kept him in the game.

September 29 26 Comments

Methodist Pastor Faces Last Church Trial

Reverend Frank Schaefer, who was defrocked for officiating his son's same-sex marriage and later reinstated, awaits one more church trial. He writes about the experience in a new memoir.

September 29 7 Comments

Monarch Butterflies Could Be On Rebound

After precipitous declines in the monarch butterfly population, there are signs the species may be on the rebound.

September 26 4 Comments

Dean Of Boston Sports Journalism Celebrates 42 Years On The Job

Here & Now's Robin Young visits the most-beloved sportscaster you've never heard of: Jonny Miller.