The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

January 7, 2013

Other Views: Anybody out there?

— Sorry, you can’t yet go to that place in a galaxy far, far away. You still have to pay your taxes, take out the garbage and fret about how your favorite professional sports franchise will underperform.

It’s 2013, and we’re still earthbound. But many astronomers say they’re confident that sometime this year, they’ll find one or more alternative Earths circling some homey star out there in the cosmos — maybe not even all that far from us, as light-years go.

The planets must lie within the so-called “Goldilocks zone” around a star similar to our own — not too hot, not too cold to allow water to exist and thus be able to sustain life. Assorted ground- and space-based telescopes have been turning up planets beyond our solar system for nearly 20 years. About 900 have been confirmed so far, but most are many times larger than Earth.

One group of scientists recently noted a planet five times bigger than ours lies in the habitable zone of a star called Tau Ceti 12 light-years away, or a mere 72 trillion miles.

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has identified 2,300 potential planets. A new analysis by astronomers at Caltech reached a conservative estimate of 100 billion planets in our own Milky Way galaxy. Perhaps one in 10,000 is similar in size and makeup to Earth.

So it seems likely that there are quite a few Earth-like planets out there capable of hosting alien life of some sort, maybe intelligent alien life. We’ll probably never know about that in our lifetimes, because it takes radio and television signals as long as light to travel across space. What our signals carry may or may not inspire any neighbors to get in touch.

— Scripps Howard News Service

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Opinion
  • Other Views Other Views: Eroding court’s authority

    While Kansans were focused on the twists and turns of school finance this past week, lawmakers made an unnecessary and historic change in how the state’s district courts operate, coercively tying the reforms to badly needed funding.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Travesty

    What a travesty that a terrific young man from Spain is on the verge of deportation even though he has proven his worth in America (Globe, April 13).

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: Astonishing transformation

    The transformation of the Republican Party in the last decade is astonishing.

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: The changing view

    It is heartbreaking to hear the decades old trees (which border on South Pennsylvania in Webb City) cracking and being bulldozed down.

    April 18, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Safe and sound

    Of the 7,500 Joplin and Duenweg homes hit by the 2011 EF-5 tornado, fewer than 20 percent of them had basements.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Funding for state’s roads

    Missouri is finding there is no good alternative to growing the economy, adding new well-paying jobs and expanding the tax base.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Government without apology or explanation

    Americans feel closest to their Uncle Sam at this time of year as he extends his hand for his “fair share” to fund his numerous endeavors.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Step aside

    The people of Joplin made it clear they wanted change at City Hall with their decisive votes to replace two council members.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Serious drawbacks

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) lays out clearly and persuasively the serious drawbacks with so-called right-to-work legislation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Free choice

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) regarding right-to-work seems to assume that if workers are given the choice of joining a union, they won’t join.

    April 16, 2014

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