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You are here (within a light year or so, give or take)

February 16, 2010

NASA has an effort to find exoplanets (planets orbiting stars other than Brangelina or old Sol). And it has had some success with 429 distant planets found so far (given all this new real estate, can interplanetary realtors with “Open House” balloons and reedy bonhomie be far behind?)

To promote all this planet sleuthing, NASA has put together a little web site. Called PlanetQuest (wasn’t that a lousy 80’s movie with Tim Allen?), the site details all of the 429 exoplanets yet discovered.

It also has a map of our galaxy, the Milky Way,  showing Earth’s generally accepted position and a circle showing the furthest extent of the known exoplanet’s distance from Earth. The “You Are Here” sort of map you find in shopping malls, cavernous museums and imperial escapades like the Iraq war.

What’s striking about this map is how little of the galaxy we have searched for planets. If there are at least 429 in that little circle, then the galaxy has a whole bunch more (sorry for the technical scientific speak). This means there is an excellent chance of humans some day finding those bug-eyed fish-headed aliens who helped us destroy the Death Star and defeat the evil Cheney er, emperor from Star Wars.

  1. Blaine Riggle permalink

    “Galaxy Quest.” And it was very funny.

    Good post.

    • Dick Hertz permalink

      Planet of the Apes (the original) was the best of the planet movies.

  2. I’d love to check that one out, but I’ll be too busy watching “The Santa Clause” numbers 1, 2 and 3, along with a bootleg DVD of “Home Improvement,” episodes I picked up in Belgrade. It’s in Serbian with Croat subtitles, but humor is universal, n’est-ce pas?

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