From Scientific American:
More than 400 years ago Renaissance scientist Nicolaus Copernicus reduced us to near nothingness by showing that our planet is not the center of the solar system. With every subsequent scientific revolution, most other privileged positions in the universe humans might have held dear have been further degraded, revealing the cold truth that our species is the smallest of specks on a speck of a planet, cosmologically speaking. A new calculation of exoplanets suggests that Earth is just one out of a likely 700 million trillion terrestrial planets in the entire observable universe. But the average age of these planets—well above Earth’s age—and their typical locations—in galaxies vastly unlike the Milky Way—just might turn the Copernican principle on its head.
With the estimated errors taken into account, the researchers conclude that Earth stands as a mild violation of the Copernican principle. Our pale blue dot might just be special after all. “It’s not too much of a fluke that we could arise in a galaxy like the Milky Way, but nevertheless, it’s just enough to make you think twice about it,” says Jay Olson from Boise State University, who was not involved in the study. Both he and Zackrisson think the Copernican principle could be saved by some unknown caveat to the findings. “Whenever you find something that sticks out…” Zackrisson says, “…that means that either we are the result of a very improbable lottery draw or we don’t understand how the lottery works.” More.
Never an “unknown caveat to the findings” when you need one. Doubtless, however, someoe will b paid to oblige.
See also: Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.
Don’t let Mars fool you. Those exoplanets teem with life!
How do we grapple with the idea that ET might not be out there?
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