Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Thinking About How to Think About Aliens

Here's an artist's rendering of Kepler 452b, the first we've found of an Earth-like planet in the "Goldilocks Zone" that could support life. It might not, but it could. As far as we yet know, it has all the advantages Earth had for life to start. And it's "only" 1,400 light-years away.

Now what about KIC 8462852? That's the star I mentioned here, the one with weird light signatures. It's not like any evidence of a planet we've seen while looking for the "mini-eclipses" that betray their presence. Some say it might be evidence of some alien super-structures orbiting the star. Others say that's hooey and there's a natural explanation. Still others, like this scientist right here, think it's probably not aliens, but that snickering at the possibility is an unhelpful and unscientific thing for scientists to do. I agree.

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