The search for habitable planets

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Now for something out of this world.  Australian astronomers announced this week that finding planets outside our solar system capable of sustaining life should be made a top funding priority.

Since the first discovery of a planet orbiting another star was made in 1995, the number of exoplanets has skyrocketed to more than 750.  While a small handful of these planets are known to be ‘Earth-like’, astronomers are a long way from knowing whether they can sustain life.

“Determining whether these planets are habitable has become the new holy grail of astronomy,” says Dr Charley Lineweaver of the Australian National University.  And so the race is on. 

But in my view the whole idea is little more than a ridiculous infantile fantasy.  Funds allocated to the search for habitable planets beyond our solar system, whether public or private, would be better spent on programs to clean up our own planet’s land…

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