Monday, January 24, 2011


Harvard Astrophysicist Supports Rare Earth Hypothesis

Some comments supporting the Rare Earth Hypothesis, made by Dr Howard Smith (a senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) have been widely circulated by the press this week. For example the Telegraph reported:

'Smith... made the claim that we are alone in the universe after an analysis of the 500 planets discovered so far showed all were hostile to life. Smith said the extreme conditions found so far on planets discovered outside out Solar System are likely to be the norm, and that the hospitable conditions on Earth could be unique.'

Likewise, according to the Mail Online:

'A leading astronomer has concluded there probably aren’t any aliens out there – meaning we are entirely alone in the universe. Even though there may be tens of thousands of other distant planets similar in size to Earth, the conditions on them are likely to be too hostile to support life-forms such as ET.'

The Deccan Herald quotes Smith:

"We have found that most other planets and solar systems are wildly different from our own. They are very hostile to life as we know it. The new information we are getting suggests we could effectively be alone in the universe. There are very few solar systems or planets like ours. It means it is highly unlikely there are any planets with intelligent life close enough for us to make contact."

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