During the first three hours, astronomer Alan Boss discussed how mankind is at a turning point in its quest for discovering extraterrestrial life. There are 100 billion stars in our galaxy, and it's now believed that most of these have planets, many of which could be rocky like Earth. The rate of exoplanet detection is increasing, and with the upcoming launch of the Kepler Mission we'll find even more worlds, he said.
NASA's Kepler Mission is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way and locate Earth-sized planets in or near the habitable zone. France's COROT space telescope has also been discovering extrasolar planets. Further down the road, NASA is planning a Terrestrial Planet Finder which could study the atmospheres and chemical makeup of new planets, Boss detailed.
One of the problems in finding intelligent life in the galaxy is the difficulty of matching a planet's time frame of development-- after all, humans have only been around for a brief period of Earth's long existence, he pointed out. In our solar system, the icy oceans of Jupiter's moon Europa might harbor life, and the recent findings of methane on Mars, suggest around a 50% chance of some form of life there, he said.
Spy Watch Mystery
Appearing during the last hour, paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren talked about his recent trip to Washington DC, and how he came into a possession of an unusual Cold War-era spy watch. It's possible, he said, that wire recordings from the device may contain material related to the JFK assassination. He is currently seeking assistance in being able to play the recordings.
A green comet known as Lulin could soon become visible to the naked eye as it moves closer to Earth. Amateur astronomer Jack Newton took this photo from his backyard observatory. More here.
Bumper music from Thursday February 05, 2009