NASA’s Kepler space telescope is designed to detect earth like planets orbiting stars. Recently, it discovered a strange anomaly orbiting a sun designated KIC 8462852. Astronomers are not quite sure, but something is causing the starlight from KIC 8462852 to dip and then burst. Researchers have ruled out a variety of possible natural phenomena, leading some scientists to speculate that the most plausible explanation is an alien mega structure, possibly designed to harness solar power, orbiting the star. The evidence keeps accumulating that we are not alone Claims about evidence for aliens can range from sensationalist to scientifically respectable. So, I reached out to a researcher with down-to-earth credentials and a lot of credibility when it comes to the search for extraterrestrial life. Steve Vogt is a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California in Santa Cruz. He is also a member of the Lick Observatory, which home to the Automated Planet Finder, a program that is at the forefront of the scientific search for interstellar environments that could harbor life. I asked Vogt about the chances of finding life in outer space.  Here is some of what he had to say: ” Life (as we understand it) requires a stable place where water can exist in liquid form for the billions of years necessary for evolution to work its magic. If you look around the universe, those places where water is likely to exist stably in liquid form for billions of years is on or near the surface of a planet or similar body in a stable orbit in the habitable zone of a star. Our exoplanet program (now 20 years underway) has been aimed at determining how common such potentially habitable planets are in the universe.” Asked about space aliens, Vogt said he couldn’t comment. However, he added, “We can now say, with great confidence, that potentially habitable rocky planets are exceedingly common, and occur around at least one out of every two stars (at least in our local stellar neighborhood). If you assume that our corner of the universe is typical, the numbers indicate that there are more potentially habitable rocky planets in the universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth. With such statistics, it would be pretty hard to argue that life does not exist elsewhere.” To date astronomers and astrophysicist can not determine if what is blocking the light in from nature or created.




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