Way back in June last year I wrote about the discovery that there may be a lot more earth-type planets out there than we had originally thought.
There may be 100 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, or one for every sun-type star in the galaxy, said Alan Boss, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution and author of the new book "The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets."
He made the prediction based on the number of "super-Earths" -- planets several times the mass of the Earth, but smaller than gas giants like Jupiter -- discovered so far circling stars outside the solar system.
Boss said that if any of the billions of Earth-like worlds he believes exist in the Milky Way have liquid water, they are likely to be home to some type of life.
"Now that's not saying that they're all going to be crawling with intelligent human beings or even dinosaurs," he said.
"But I would suspect that the great majority of them at least will have some sort of primitive life, like bacteria or some of the multicellular creatures that populated our Earth for the first 3 billion years of its existence."
Astronomy was something I never aspired to. I just held astronomers in awe. I read a lot of Arthur C. Clarke when I was younger and I thought that astronomers just walked around all the time in a parallel universe, slightly out of phase with ours, in which we could see them, and they could see us, but no communication was possible.
I wish I could be like them. Living up there in their cloud-city, wearing their shimmery clothes, looking through their fabulous star-watching machines...Oh well...back to the Zenite mine.
And if we discover any new planets that we want to give names, this still goes:
I'm also heavily against any attempt to name any celestial bodies after non-Greek mythical persons. So, can we just hold the political correctness thing for a while? Can we just give a pass to names from the Inuit/Borneo/Pygmy legends? When you can show me that a society has established a system of thought, literature and governance that lasts five thousand years and forms the foundation of the greatest civilization the world has ever seen, you can name asteroids after their myths, m-kay? Or maybe just show me that they've mastered the intricacies of weaving cloth and making wheels.