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Color Aids Search for Alien Life

NASA researchers are analyzing the light reflected by Earth--and other planets--to try to figure out which ones have conditions that might harbor life. The Earth shines with a blue light and stands out clearly among the other planets, "like a blue jay in a flock of seagulls." In PhysOrg.com, Daniel Pendick quotes researcher Carolyn Crow as saying, "The method we developed separates the planets out. It makes Earth look unique." Pendick quotes NASA astronomer Lucy McFadden as saying, "Eventually, as telescopes get bigger, there will be the light-gathering power to look at the colors of planets around other stars. Their colors will tell us which ones to study in more detail." In a seperate study, astronomers at UC Berkeley have determined that planets the size of earth are far more common in our galaxy than previously supposed, and there must be billions of them orbiting their stars in habitable zones. But how many harbor life? It seems possible now that we will be able to find out. Art credit: Dreamstime.com



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