Alien Worlds: When Will We Find Another Earth?

The entire universe in blog form
Feb. 3 2014 11:15 AM

When Will We Find Another Earth?

alien Earth
Do alien stars harbor other Earths?

Artwork courtesy Dan Durda

The biggest growth industry in astronomy right now is finding exoplanets; alien worlds orbiting alien stars. This was essentially impossible even 25 years ago, but now better technology and techniques mean a new one is announced several times a week! Usually, these planets are big, more like Jupiter than our own home world. As we get better at searching, though, we’re finding smaller and more familiar planets.

Slate is kicking off a month of articles about Big Questions, and certainly one of the biggest is: When we will find another Earth? And will we ever be able to get a clear picture of it? I tackled this question given what we know and have found so far, and I think the answer may surprise you.


The article is in the Mysteries of the Universe section of Slate, and it’s titled “Terra Nova: When Will We Find Another Earth?” It was fun to write, in no small part because this is one of the most exiting endeavors in science today. And the discoveries are getting achingly close to putting another pale blue dot in our telescopes.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
Dear Prudence
Sept. 16 2014 6:00 AM Can of Worms Prudie offers advice to a letter writer who wants to blackmail a famous ex with tapes of his fetish.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.