In the footsteps of other worlds

As soon as humanity realized that, for natural reasons, the Earth would one day no longer serve as a shelter, it began to search for extrasolar planets.

Like a hermit away from the noise of the aurora and electromagnetic waves, NASA's Kepler satellite remains hopeful of finding a habitable planet. Since March 2009, this spacecraft has been observing stars that are similar to the Sun and are at a comprehensible distance from us. Despite improved lenses, Kepler is only able to capture 0.28% of the night sky. As of last week, according to his data, the number of confirmed planets that could be suitable for the development of life exceeded a thousand.

NASA, which began its exploration of extraterrestrial life in 1971, upped the ante many times by taking another major step and including a $200 million extrasolar exoplanet transit transit satellite in its program. It is expected that the area over which this device will be able to observe will exceed the capabilities of Kepler by 400 times.

As soon as mankind realized that due to negligence or certain natural causes, the Earth would one day cease to serve as a haven for them, they began to search for extrasolar planets. But even if we find suitable planets, can we go to them? The fact that the technology we have today prevents us from reaching even the nearest star hits us like a butt in the head. However, a certain confidence instills in us the fact that much of what was once impossible is today included in the order of things. Therefore, it is unlikely that such an obstacle now facing us as the primitiveness of our technologies will force us to turn off the chosen path.

Our incomparable planet

As a result of many years of observation, 18 scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder have established that there is a “shield” around the Earth that protects our planet from “killer electrons » from the Sun. An article published in November 2014 in one of the most prestigious journals in the world, Nature, did not become such a sensation as the asteroid landing that took place at the same time, and did not produce the desired effect.

Daniel Baker and his colleagues found that particles released from explosions in the Sun (our giant nuclear reactor) and traveling faster than 160,000 kilometers per second are stopped by an invisible barrier between the Van belts. Allen, and therefore they do not reach the atmosphere. It is impossible to say for sure, but it is assumed that in the plasmasphere, which, like a lifeline, encircles our planet, these particles scatter low-frequency electromagnetic waves.

The Van Allen radiation belts are a product of the Earth's magnetic field and only one of the features that make it suitable for life. There are many more things that testify in favor of the uniqueness of the Earth, which, like a dervish in a ritual dance, rotates at an optimal distance from a second generation star called the Sun. Water as the basis of life, the oxygen-nitrogen balance of air, carbon and silicon, a suitable mass and orbit are the first things that come to mind. The Moon plays an important role in maintaining the natural balance of the Earth, being in a sense its nightly moth, moving under the influence of the mystical mystery of gravity. Axis tilt causes the seasons to change. You should also take into account the multi-layer structure of the atmosphere that envelops and protects our planet, and various kinds of patrons, such as Jupiter, who, like lightning rods, protect the Earth from objects dangerous to it. The magnetic field, which is generated in its core by molten iron and heavy metals such as nickel, acts as a compass and at the same time an umbrella that shelters from the solar wind. In addition, as it turned out recently, there is also protection against "killer electrons".

Research is mainly focused on the stars of the Milky Way, because, despite the incredible distances between the stars, they are at least in comprehensible proximity to us. It is impossible to establish the exact number of stars in the Milky Way, however, scientists have their own approaches. First, based on spectrograms that allow color values ​​to be distinguished, and factors such as the shape of the galaxy (elliptical or spiral) and the approximate volume of gas, approximate calculations are made regarding the total mass of the galaxy. In accordance with such calculations, it was concluded that there are about 100-110 billion stars in the Milky Way. There are about 100 billion galaxies that we can observe. According to the Drake equation, it is believed that in the visible universe there are 7 × 1022 stars, behind which planets suitable for life can be hidden. And although, in accordance with the Fermi paradox, if intelligent life forms existed, we would have known about it long ago, space agencies such as NASA, ESA, believe in the possibility of finding planets suitable for life. Based on Kepler observations, in November 2013, scientists estimated that there could be about 11 billion planets in the Milky Way alone, comparable to the size of the Earth and orbiting a sun-like star.

It is assumed that in the Universe, which can be represented as a ball with a diameter of 93 billion light years, there are about septillion (1024) stars. That is ten times more than all the grains of sand on the surface of the Earth. You can learn about the size of the Universe and our insignificance compared to it, for example, from a video prepared by scientists from the American Museum of Natural History.


Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke famously said: “There are only two possibilities: either we are alone in the universe, or no. Both are equally scary."

Are we alone in the universe? This question, probably, was asked by everyone who once in childhood peered into an infinite number of stars in a clear night sky. And, it must be, for a person who is not able to create real, strong relationships even in his immediate environment, he should cause true anxiety. But let's leave it to the judgment of psychologists.

Today we are beginning to forget that our home, the Earth, is so spacious that there is enough space for everyone. We ourselves narrow our planet with our unbridled desires. If we imagine that about 7.25 billion people now live on Earth, and put each one on one square meter, then the entire population of the world will not be able to fill even Chankyra with an area of ​​​​7.5 thousand square kilometers. If we squeeze a little, we can fit in the Konya valley. According to a calculation based on Carl Haub's assumption that humanity began about 50 thousand years ago, and the population at that time was two people, since the time of our forefathers Adam and Eve, the world has been inhabited by 115 billion people (including today living). If we do not stint on square meters for them, then we will fill only a little more than two-thirds of Central Anatolia. And then on the day of the Last Judgment, people will not be so dispersed throughout the world.

A small piece of land becomes a matter of life and death for us, while our planet is so big! As long as a person is driven by unbridled desires and malice, all existing galaxies will not be enough for him. Even if life is possible on all of them.

Source: Ibrahim Türkmen Aksiyon, Turkey