Tuesday, May 15, 2012

SPACE NEWS | Free Floating Planets Could Harbor Alien Life, New Study Suggests

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Free Floating Planets

By Darren Osborne
ABC Science
"If the dust included microbial material that originated on Earth ... this process offers a way by which evolved genes from Earth life could become dispersed through the galaxy,"

     Our galaxy could have as many as a hundred thousand billion life-carrying Earth-sized planets floating between the stars, according to a new study.

An international team of scientists led by Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, of the University of Buckingham, publish their finding in the journal Astrophysics and Space Science.

Recent estimates have suggested that our galaxy has as many planets as stars - approximately 200 billion - with most of those planets not orbiting a star. But this latest study dramatically increases the number of 'free-floating' planets.

Wickramasinghe and colleagues propose that these planets originated in the early universe a few million years after the Big Bang, and that they make up most of the so-called "missing mass" of galaxies, known as dark matter. . . .

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