TechnologyThink of a number…

Think of a number...

Science fiction fans will be excited at new research indicating there could be at least a billion 'Earths' in the Milky Way.

Two Open University professors told the UK National Astronomy Meeting in Bristol last week that these water-sustaining planets should be prime targets in the search for life beyond the solar system.

But before you go rushing to the wardrobe to grab your ‘Star Trek’ uniform, a little time should be taken to consider how the scientists reached their conclusions.

At the moment telescopes are too weak for us to see all these ‘Earths’.

Instead, they used ‘computer simulations’ to model plants in the ‘habitable zones’ of star systems beyond the solar systems.

It all sounds a bit like Enron’s accounting system – based on outworldly assumptions and uncertain predictions. Maybe Andersen’s Houston offices should audit the scientist’s conclusions.

However, at the end of the day the Open University’s conclusions could prove far less fanciful than those of Enron’s accountants.

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