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Extrasolar Planets: June 2007


A Habitable Earth, Systemic: "There remain three blockbuster, front-page discoveries in exoplanetary science. The first is the identification of a potentially habitable Earth-mass planet around another star. The second is the detection of a life-bearing planet. The third is contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. Its hard to predict when (and in which order) discoveries #2 and #3 will take place. Discovery #1, on the other hand, is imminent. Were currently 21 years away from the detection of the first habitable Earth-mass planet (which implies ~15% chance that the announcement will come within one year). The breakthrough detection of a habitable Earth will almost certainly stem from high-precision Doppler monitoring of a nearby red dwarf star, and already, both the Swiss team and the California-Carnegie team are coming tantalizingly close"