Scientific Sense Podcast

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lonely baby

Recent discovery of a lonely planet without a star, a mere 80 light years away from the Earth is interesting from many angles. The newborn, just 12 million years old, may indicate a failed star at six times the size of Jupiter. Although ejection theories are abound, this could be a case of star formation in zones not considered active. With this unexpected finding, the frenzy of extra solar planet discovery continues to increase.

However, we now know that planets are out there in large quantities and in every size, age and composition. One has to wonder if further exploration of these somewhat uninteresting objects is a good use of limited resources. It is unclear why so much passion exists in the identification and cataloging of planets. Is it the need to verify the already known structure of the universe or perhaps a desire to find life elsewhere. If it is the former, there is enough data to confirm that planetary systems are replicated across the universe. But if it is the later, then, it is advisable to look closer.

With limited understanding of all the life on planet Earth and possible life in close proximity in the solar system, it does not make sense to seek it elsewhere. If this is driving a good part of the thought processes of budding knowledge seekers, this has the potential for destroying further advances.

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