News your great-great-grandkids can use:
Earth-like worlds may be closer and more plentiful than anyone imagined.
Astronomers reported Wednesday that the nearest Earth-like planet may be just 13 light-years away — or some 77 trillion miles. That planet hasn’t been found yet, but should be there based on the team’s study of red dwarf stars.
Galactically speaking, that’s right next door.
Road trip, anyone?
About thirty years ago, my grandfather gave the keynote address at an Association of Steel Distributors conference. It was called, “Once Upon a Time There Was a Place Called ‘America’.” Moving speech, and I believe a very new congressman named Dick Armey was in attendance. The premise, as you may have already guessed, was that the circumstances that allowed for America’s birth were unique, unrepeatable. That if we piss it away, there’s no recreating the magic.
Yeah, new planets.
That’s one of the things that hooked me into Robert Heinlein’s Lazarus Long tales. Each new planet had to be colonized, and each new one settled by English-speakers had a little spark of America in it — while the Real America went just as crazy as the rest of dying Old Earth.
So please, keep finding more and closer planets. And faster — because I’m becoming increasingly certain that we’ve run out of time to avoid my grandfather’s warning.