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It bears mentioning that the Milky Way is only one of 150 billion galaxies visible to our telescopes - and each of these will have its own complement of planets.
There was a time when Pluto - which NASA's New Horizons spacecraft at last explored in 2015, a mission I led - was considered the last planet. We now know there are thousands of other - possibly inhabited - planets.
Earlier generations of stars in the galaxy could well have had planets. But really, there was only hydrogen and helium to work with, so they'd all be gas giants and not small, rocky planets.
Recent results from astronomers who study the occasional gravitational lensing of unknown worlds by intervening stars suggest that orphan planets could be at least as numerous as the stars. In other words, there could be hundreds of billions of orphan worlds shuffling through our galaxy.
The key to proving that there's a black hole is showing that there's a tremendous amount of mass in a very small volume. And you can do that with the motions of stars. The way the star moves around the center of the galaxy is very much like the way the planets orbit the sun.
Andrea M. Ghez
I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.
John F. Kennedy
Scientists normally like to do experiments. You know, they like to mix this with that and see what happens. They like to take this thing and poke it and see how it reacts. In astronomy, we can't do that. The stars, the planets, the galaxies, are so far away that we just look at them, and we have to learn things by looking at them.
We think that life develops spontaneously on Earth, so it must be possible for life to develop on suitable planets elsewhere in the universe. But we don't know the probability that a planet develops life.
Our solar system is actually a wild frontier, teeming with different, diverse places: planets and moons, millions of objects of ice and rock.
Two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets. The rich and the poor.
We are using resources as if we had two planets, not one. There can be no 'plan B' because there is no 'planet B.'
Man is a microcosm, or a little world, because he is an extract from all the stars and planets of the whole firmament, from the earth and the elements; and so he is their quintessence.
We all come from our own little planets. That's why we're all different. That's what makes life interesting.
Robert E. Sherwood
We need to spread out now in the universe. I think in 100 years we'll be living on other planets.
One in 200 stars has habitable Earth-like planets surrounding it - in the galaxy, half a billion stars have Earth-like planets going around them - that's huge, half a billion. So when we look at the night sky, it makes sense that someone is looking back at us.
The motions of the comets are exceedingly regular, and they observe the same laws as the motions of the planets, but they differ from the motions of vortices in every particular and are often contrary to them.
The motions which the planets now have could not spring from any natural cause alone, but were impressed by an intelligent Agent.
If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Most Jupiter-sized planets orbit the mother star in a highly elliptical orbit. This means they will often cross the orbit of any Earth-like planet and fling it into outer space, making life impossible. But our Jupiter travels in a near-perfect circular orbit, preventing a collision with any Earth-like planet, making life possible.
Perhaps when distant people on other planets pick up some wavelength of ours all they hear is a continuous scream.
There are other planets besides the Earth and Mars. I'd like to remind you that studying Venus is vital to understanding life elsewhere.
Ironically, it is only when disaster strikes that the shuttle makes the headlines. Its routine flights attracted less media interest than unmanned probes to the planets or the images from the Hubble Telescope. The fate of Columbia (like that of Challenger in 1986) reminded us that space is still a hazardous environment.
There's no doubt that the search for planets is motivated by the search for life. Humans are interested in whether or not life evolves on other planets. We'd especially like to find communicating, technological life, and we look around our own solar system, and we see that of all the planets, there's only one that's inhabited.
Just because Pluto orbits with many other dwarf planets doesn't change what it is, just as whether an object is a mountain or not doesn't depend on whether it's in a group or in isolation.
I like science fiction and physics, things like that. Planets being sucked into black holes, and the various vortexes that create possibility, and what happens on the other side of the black hole. To me it's the microcosmic study of the macrocosmic universe in man, and that's why I'm attracted to it.
The stars look the same from night to night. Nebulae and galaxies are dully immutable, maintaining the same overall appearance for thousands or millions of years. Indeed, only the sun, moon and planets - together with the occasional comet, asteroid or meteor - seem dynamic.
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