back to article Kepler space telescope spots 1,284 new planets

It's barely been 30 years since NASA spotted its first planet outside our solar system but on Tuesday the agency reported its biggest collection of sightings to date – 1,284 confirmed planets, along with 1,327 additional probable sightings and 707 possibles. The data comes from NASA's Kepler space telescope, which has been …

  1. Mark 85

    It won't happen in my lifetime, but I would love to hear that we have found life... and it's not life as we know it. That should rattle a few (for some value of 'few'.. millions maybe).

    1. Dadmin

      Nah, I'm going to guess that the majority of the clueless will claim those exoplanets in the name of their Dear, Dear Lordy. "See?! That's how the god works, he's just doing this and doing that, and then stuff is discovered and we claim it as 'his' work." How fucking convenient.

      I'm just happy I learned a new compound word today; astroboffins

      That'll do, El Reg. That'll do.

      1. Just Enough

        A great deal of traditional religious thinking is based around the idea that we are the special ones, for which the universe was created. You'd hope that finding life on other planets would at least give pause for thought and a reconsideration of attitudes. That would certainly improve life on this planet, before we even consider venturing out to others.

        But depressingly I suspect that the conclusion reached by many will be no different from 18th/19th century colonisation. "Oh look, God's prepared another planet, for us. We'll just need to convert the local heathens."

        Unless the life there is actually more technically advanced than us. In which case, we better hope that they're not thinking the same.

        1. Elmer Phud

          special? I wish I was special . .

          "we are the special ones"

          I refuse to be another Jose.

        2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          I for one welcome our new alien overlords etc etc

    2. <a|a>=1

      Finding life would be bad news for us. Finding intelligent life would be really bad news. The Fermi Paradox would then imply that intelligent life is fairly common, but since space-faring civilisations aren't common (where are they all?) this in turn implies that our chances of reaching the level of such a civilization are slim. In fact if you believe that we could reach such a level before going extinct you could reasonably assume that more than 99% of humanity would exist in the future on other worlds, which in turn would question your special status of existing amongst the first 107 billion of our species.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge

    I'm calling it !!!!

    %deity% is dead!

    The gaps just get smaller and smaller.

    I'm convinced by science.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm calling it !!!!

      I would hope it would kill off the prejudices and oppression that many religions use to control their followers, and free up those followers to think for themselves, but I doubt it would kill off belief in a deity.

      and I wouldn't want it to..

      I believe in both a deity and extraterestrial life.. now what form both of those come in, I won't even attempt to guess....

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: I'm calling it !!!!

      The gaps aren't where God is...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The gaps aren't where God is...

        Great news then.

        Please publish your scientific evidence for peer review!

        Your Nobel Prize is in the mail.

    3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: I'm calling it !!!!

      Why do people have to bring religion into this? Really, why? What has any of this got to do with ${deity} one way or another?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm calling it !!!!

        The reality of the natural universe, explained more and more by science, IS my "religion".

        No gods need apply.

    4. Paul 129

      Re: I'm calling it !!!!

      %Deity% is just more amazing with each discovery that makes the universe more incredible.

      Man however is not %Deity% i.e. not infallible. As such where religion is involved, we tend to make a 'Right royal hash of it'

      Existence of %Deity%, should not be provable, and we should not care about it. Those who want to believe, go ahead, those that don't, fine.

      Just respect that others don't necessarily share your beliefs, and we all can live happily.

      (I'm a Skeptic)

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    So we can start putting some numbers on the Drake equation.

    Excellent news.

    Still waiting for any radio signals from some of those alien civilizations that should be out there.

    1. tony2heads

      Re: So we can start putting some numbers on the Drake equation.

      They have probably picked up our radio stations and decided that we are not the neighbours that they want to be friendly with - see icon

      1. VinceH

        Re: So we can start putting some numbers on the Drake equation.

        They don't have to be friendly with us. Just pop by to ask us to keep down the noise, because they've just put little F'taax to bed.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: So we can start putting some numbers on the Drake equation.

      Okay kid, you know you had it coming.

  4. James 51

    There is a range of only a few decades that we've been throwing out radio signals that can be detected at any reasonable distance before they are swamped out and that is closing. If some other worldly civilisation did use radio waves this way (and they might not have) if they went through that phase a thousand years ago and are five hundred light years away we might never know they were there.

    1. MrXavia

      I agree, there is no guarantee any civilisation would output high powered broadcast radio signals...

      Most of our high powered transmissions are highly focussed, I can see us switching to laser communications for space in the future.

      And if we discover a way to communicate FTL then we will use that instead..

      1. John Robson Silver badge


        1) Do this

        2) Oh, and the instructions you'll receive in about 2 weeks - ignore them, sent them before FTL comms...

        1. Rocket_Rabbit

          Reminds me of one of my favourite physics jokes:

          We don't serve your kind in here.

          A tachyon walks into a bar.

  5. Adair Silver badge

    Oh dear...

    A great story of exploration and discovery, and BTL immediately hijacked by the 'anti-God' fundamentalists. It's like the trope about 'Linux evangelists' hijacking every thread about Windows (see Ask Jack in the Guardian), only sadder.

    While there definitely are some people whose religious views struggle to cope with a bigger awareness of the material 'world', there are plenty for whom it is no threat to their faith whatsoever, in fact it is a wonderful example of putting our capabilities to good use - exploring and understanding the world around us.

    Some folk here need to prick their bubble of ignorance and prejudice and try engaging with 'reality', but then perhaps they are not really any different to the very type of person they deride on the other side of the fence - those who, from a 'religious' perspective, also cling to their prejudices and 'beliefs' regardless of the reality around them.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear...

      Thanks. This is far more elegantly articulated than the plaintive cry I uttered before arriving at your comment. We don't have to amplify the polarisation of society.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh dear...

      "...but then perhaps they are not really any different to the very type of person they deride on the other side of the fence..."

      All serious religion boils down to whether the universe originated because of a thought ("word" as some would say) or somehow just occurred 'naturally.' These two ideas are mutually exclusive and cannot be proven one way or the other. Thus, both those ideas are highly attractive to thinkers of a fanatical bent. Not different types at all.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    what will happen first, we discover beings on another planet or will they discover us.

    Those vast gaps between were probably put there for a reason!

  7. not.known@this.address

    Where's my list of 101 Things To Do..?

    I for one look forward to welcoming our Alien Overlords, and hereby assume the title of Quisling Traitor In Charge of EMEA. (North America has already been grabbed by someone called Doug who lives in California, apparently...)

  8. x 7

    so how far away are the nine?

  9. TheDillinquent

    Where are the Dyson Spheres?

    or swarms

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