The More New Planets, the Merrier

The brilliant astronomer Dr. Carl Sagan once said, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

Today, something incredible — somewhere far away — has just been announced. That is, the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets … at least six of which scientists say could potentially harbor life.

The announcement came Wednesday via a group of 30 astronomers from eight countries who were involved in verifying the observations last year. The project involved seven major telescopes, including NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

The researchers say these seven planets orbit a “dwarf star” named Trappist-1. That star is located relatively close to us, at least by astronomical standards. It is only about 40 light years (235 trillion miles) from where you’re reading this.

It was this proximity to Earth, as well as the orientation of the orbits of the planets, that allowed researchers to gather detailed data on their discovery.

Perhaps most interesting here is that astronomers say that six of these planets appear to be warm enough that liquid water could exist on their surfaces.

Given that liquid water is the key to being able to support organic life, what we could be looking at in the Trappist-1 planet discovery is the first realistic chance of life outside the Earth.

Man, I love science!

Top row: Artist conceptions of the seven planets of Trappist-1 with their orbital periods, distances from their star, radii and masses as compared to those of Earth. Bottom row: Data about Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Source: NASA/JPL-CALTECH. Click for larger view.

An article on the discovery in Wednesday’s New York Times offered up the following comments on the possibility of life on these newly discovered planets from one prominent astronomer:

“I think that we have made a crucial step toward finding if there is life out there,” said Amaury H.M.J. Triaud, an astronomer at the University of Cambridge in England and another member of the research team. “Here, if life managed to thrive and releases gases similar to that we have on Earth, then we will know.”

The NYT also cited another astronomer not involved directly in the project who explained what this discovery means:

“The Trappist-1 planets make the search for life in the galaxy imminent,” said Sara Seager, an astronomer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was not a member of the research team.

“For the first time ever, we don’t have to speculate. We just have to wait and then make very careful observations and see what is in the atmospheres of the Trappist planets.”

If there is evidence of life on one or more of the Trappist-1 planets, it will be one of the greatest victories for humankind ever, as it will basically confirm the idea that “we are not alone.”

Of course, the presence of organic life per se has nothing to do with little-green men with big heads and big round eyes.

Yet if there is life out there that can be verified … and given the near-unimaginable time in existence and vastness of the universe … would it really be a big stretch to say that intelligent life such as our own has to also be out there?

The possibilities of today’s announced discovery should serve to ignite all our imaginations, and trigger everyone’s sense of wonder.

I know I’m excited to talk to my kids about this tonight … and I hope you feel the same.

***

Before we finish today’s Afternoon Edition, I want to bring the discussion back down to Earth for a moment.

We received a lot of very positive feedback on our Saturday story, “The Science of Compassion in Marriage” piece.

The thrust of this piece was that science now shows us that the act of showing compassion to your spouse is rewarding in and of itself. Even if he or she isn’t aware of your kindness act.

Hey, have I told you how much I love science?

Now I’d like to give you, the audience, a forum for your comments.

Books writes:

I agree with compassionate giving helping a marriage. What’s also a part of it is not having to be asked, but giving/helping automatically. Based on a 43-year marriage. This was also the case with my parents who were married 63 years, and my in-laws who were married for 66 years.

Tom C. writes:

Jane and I have been married for over 50 years. I have suffered the “give till it hurts” and “I have to do this and that because she won’t” thing. That has passed due to my acceptance that, without her, I would be doing it all for nothing. These things I do, without my comments to her, are for us. She is well-worth it and I do notice what she does do for us, now. Maybe I have grown up a bit. Thanks for reminding me.

Charles G. writes:

Brad: Your messages, this being a prime example, frankly are of more benefit that all the technical research and subscription programs. There is profound insight here which is not limited to the current study or the Dalai Lama but is scattered throughout the Bible. Thanks so much for drawing our consciousness to the really significant matters of life.

Brad response: Thank you all for writing in, and thank you for the kind words. Money and investing topics will always be our focus here at Uncommon Wisdom Daily. But intriguing new scientific discoveries — be it the search for life in the universe or compassion in relationships — are an integral part of life. They are, in the big picture, perhaps even more important than stocks, bonds, commodities and other investing subjects.

***

If you would like to comment on this issue, or any of the issues we cover in the Afternoon Edition, all you have to do is leave me a comment on our website or send me an e-mail.

***

The Dow Industrials notched their ninth-straight record close, a feat last achieved on Jan. 20, 1987. The industrial average gained 32.6 points (+0.16%) to end the day at 20,775.60.

• DuPont (DD) helped propel the industrials higher. DD rose more than 3.4% to a 19-year high near $80. This was thanks to the European Union’s reported interest in expediting DuPont’s merger with Dow Chemical (DOW, +4%), which could happen as soon as March.

• Facebook (FB) now enables money transfers to and from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia. London-based TransferWise provides the technology via a chatbot in Facebook Messenger. TransferWise, whose customers send about $1 billion through its website each month in 50-plus countries, is backed by PayPal’s (PYPL) Peter Thiel, Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson and several other high-profile investors.

• Auto loans hit a record $1.16 trillion in Q4, according to the N.Y. Fed, thanks to a burst of year-end car shopping. As Bloomberg put it, “Every licensed driver in the U.S., on average, owes about $6,100 in car payments.”

• Saudi Aramco set to be the world’s biggest IPO. Saudi Arabia’s state-owned energy company is valued at $2 trillion-plus, and its public stake will likely be worth as much as $150 billion. HSBC (HSBC), JPMorgan (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS) are reported to become the lead underwriters of the soon-to-be-public entity. Next step: deciding whether to list on the N.Y., London or Toronto exchanges. (WSJ)

• Amazon (AMZN) ranked tops on Harris’ annual Corporate Reputation Poll for the second-straight year. To thank its customers, it’s offering an $8.62 discount off purchases of $50 or more. Use the promo code “BIGTHANKS” to claim your gift through midnight Pacific. This unusual number is based on the company’s record-high 86.27% score on the Harris poll. (PCMag)

Good luck and happy investing,

Brad Hoppmann
Publisher
Uncommon Wisdom Daily

Your thoughts on “The More New Planets, the Merrier”

  1. Only amazingly stubbornly conceited people with vision that does not go further than the tip of their noses believe to be members of the chosen only planet with life and intelligence among at least two billion known galaxies now in the universe.

    That’s why I admire the writers and artists of books which depict stories and drawings of extraterrestrial populations besides serious scientists who search for them and one day will meet these civilizations.

  2. Concerning the climate change and the environmental destruction humans are capable of:

    “The earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, earth is where we make our stand. ” — Carl Sagan

  3. Years ago I went to a lecture by NASA. The gist of it was: define life. The assumption here is life is a version of us – i.e. humans. It probably isn’t (but I won’t put money on that – insufficient data right now) We now know plants can send off signals when insects are coming to protect other plants. (chemical signals is the example I remember). The plants can then curl up and act non lifelike. This is intelligence. This is life.

    Maybe what exists on other planets looks like rocks but are really super intelligences teleporting information. Maybe we are at the point of AI that we are so the AI’s can communicate better and faster than we could. Maybe, maybe, maybe….loving this! I tweeted the Sagan quote – TY for that. https://twitter.com/theSVstory/status/834629545856688132

  4. one problem F151…the book has introduced the same old vision of ‘god’ as ‘father’.
    notwithstanding that the ‘creator’ is a neutral being, i think, so we go off on the same old gender track. god being ‘him’. does he procreate? is ‘he’ a sexual being? more thinking is necessary L151. mortality is not for the ‘almighty’ is it? so we have a ‘son’ and a holy ghost etc. and a virgin mary in our religious beliefs. i hope that we can move beyond that and acknowledge that religious bigotry and persecution is nonsense. the universe is too profound for mortal man to understand. we just aren’t here long enough. so we grope around looking for answers. but i will read the transcript F151. i hope that i am intelligent enough to think that there is a lot of good reading there. hang in there!

  5. Hi Brad,
    This issue regarding whether there is other life out in the universe is not on the high list of priorities in my book. First, off, if there is life out there in GODS universe, that is Gods business. If God wants to reveal that life, fine, but so far we know one thing: There is NOT significant life in this universe that is anywhere near us. With all the numerous problems/issues/concerns we have on this planet with our OWN earthly live, maybe we need to tackle these things first, rather than waste millions and millions on looking for life in some far flung planet, maybe we should focus that money here on planet earth to fix some of the fixable problems we have!

  6. yes indeed, but the big problem is..are we that intelligent? what would other ‘intelligences’ think of us always warring, fighting, bitching; the hungry god forsaken people from earth? thats what gets me thinking. we earthlings take the high moral ground on everything but humility. are we that intelligent? are there not already people from other galaxies here on our planet? how would we know if there were? that chap around the corner, strange fellow, is he an alien? i think that in the past too many movies were made depicting terrible beings from other planets set upon destroying us, so we depict anything other than from earth as being horrible. lol. are we, as a world people, not from somewhere else in the universe? maybe we ere plonked here thousands of years ago as punishment for unimaginable crimes and left to ponder our fate. ha ha..lets imagine a nice day somewhere on our wonderful earth and really appreciate being here. and get some humble attitudes going.

  7. DEAR MR. BRAD HOPPMANN,TO CAUSE OF THE TEMA TO THE NEW PLANETTS I PERSONALITY IS ENJOY IF YOU HAVE LIFE .IT IS MUCH NICE IF ONE DAY WE THR PEOPLE OF OUR BEAUTIFULL PLANETT HAVE COMUNICATIONS AND CONTACTS WITH OTHER CREATURES FROM OTHER PLANTS. MAY BE THIS CREATURES ARE BEST FROM US.MAY BE IN THIS LIFE NOT EXISTS SPITE, ENVY,HATE,LIE, VIOLENCE,GUERRS AND MUCH, MUCH MORE BAD THINGS, HWO MAKE OUR LIFE IN OUR BEAUTIFULL PLANETT GO IN MUCH DOWN POSITION SPECIAL NOW, WHEN NOT HAVE NICE MIUSIK,NOT EXISTE TROUTH LOVE, NOT HAVE HARMONY BETWEEN THE PEOPLE AND ONLY ONE THIRST FOR MAKING MONEY …I BELIEVE FROM MY CHILDREN YEARS , THAT WE ARE NOT SATYING ALONE IN THIS BEAUTIFUL UNIVERS…OUR CREATORE GOD KNOW, WHAT TO MAKE.I WAITE FROM MORE THE 26 YEARS THE MOMENT , WHEN WE PEOPLE WILL MAKE UNION WITH OTHER CREATURS FROM OTHER BEAUTIFULL PLANETS AND MORE MUCH…A TO CAUSE OF THE FAMILY, THIS IS ALSO ONE MISTERIA OF GOD, BECAUSE THE FAMILY IS LOVE.IT IS PITY , THAT IN THIS MOMENT D’ONT HAVE GOOD , STABILITY FAMILYS AND EXIST LITTLE, LITTLE PROZENT LOVE… YOU ARE HAPPY PERSONNE , THAT YOUR PARENTS LIVE MUCH YEARS IN ONE GOOD , HARMONY UNION.BUT ALL DESTINES WRITING GOD BEFORE OUR COMING IN THIS WORLD.I ALWAYS DREAMING ONE DAY HAVE GOOD LOVLY FAMILLY WITH CHILDREN , BUT MY LIFE AND MY MISSION TO SIGNING OF MUCH POORE PERSONS OF STREETS NOT GIVING OF ME THIS POSIBILY. BEFORE 4 MONTH I THINK ,THAT HAVE GOOD HARMONY UNION WITH MY PARTNIOR,BUT IN MY HEART GO ONE NEW BIG LOVE, HWO MAKE NOW ONE RED, BLOOD WOUND.. AS TO ONE BEAUTIFULL RUBIN , BUT LIVE , HWO PULSIRING EVERY ONE SECUND…THIS IS MY SECRET.IN MY HEART BORNING ONE BIG ENERGY …MIUSIK… SONG …NEW SPERANZA …LOVE FOR HWO I NOW LIVE …I WISH OF YOU ONE BIG HARMONY IN YOUR LIFE…FAMILY AND FUTURO!! GOOD NEW DAY FULL WITH HARMONY FROM NEW PLANETS OF YOUR HORISONT DEAR BRAD.WITH RESPECT -TATYANA MIRCHEVA-BREMEN-GERMANY-23.02. 2017

  8. With each new discovery astronomers make on what lies beyond our planet proves how far we have come and how far we still have to go to understand what lies beyond our small planet.

    Dr. Carl Sagan summed it up nicely in his “pale blue dot” speech. With everything that is going on these days in politics, the economy, terrorism, etc listening to his pale blue dot speech is very sobering experience and puts it all into prospective

    https://youtu.be/4PN5JJDh78I

  9. Brad,

    If you like this subject, I strongly recommend you read Papers 36 and 49 of the Urantia Book. These papers provide information regarding life on other planets. You can read the book for free at urantia.org.

  10. I certainly would not put it past the Mighty YaHoVeH to place other life in the vast expanses of His Creation.

  11. Good news. Now Al Gore, Obama, the Clintons with some Goldman Sachs people and other morons can establish themselves on one of the planets and set up a Cap and Trade scam. They can establish that one of the gases is poisonous, charge fees and taxes to clean it up and the planet will survive happily ever after. Di Caprio can play Prince Charming and Sarah Silverman can play Cinderella. Happy Happy Joy Joy.

  12. Brad, Consider the amount of time man has been technological enough to communicate long distances. Maybe 200 years. Consider the length of time the earth has been in existence. Lets say 2 billion years, I’m probably wrong on that number but it doesn’t matter to my point.
    The chance of us being in existence at the same time as another civilization is miniscule. Our 200 hundred years overlapping with their 200 years over billions of years is EXTREMELY improbable unless intelligent design started life around the galaxy at the same time. But if there is intelligent design we should seek the Intelligent Designer rather than each other! Eric Van Allen, Scientist

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