Due to the exponential growth of the human population, more natural resources are required. But, while the population continues to grow, the supply of natural resources is only decreasing because no more of them are being made. So, what will we do when there is no more oil to fuel our transportation or living amenities? Where will we find a solution? According to Paul Zane Pilzer, a modern economist, the problem of scarcity has always and will always be solved by innovation and technology, because humans will find another source of energy or invent new technology to make the resource last longer. For example, we turned to natural oil when whale oil was no longer a viable resource and technology in car engines has increased the miles per gallon of vehicles. So, when we face scarcity of land, food, and natural resources too extreme to continue our species, where will we go? Is there a possibility of abandoning earth and finding another habitable planet we can call our home?

In order to find another habitable planet for humans, we must first know what makes earth habitable. A quality of the habitable zone is that it allows the formation of water in liquid form. Astrophysicists can measure the equilibrium temperature of a planet by calculating the distance of it from its star.

Calculating equilibrium temperature gets complicated when taking into account components within the planet’s atmosphere. For example, earth’s equilibrium temperature is outside the range of a habitable zone, but due to greenhouse gases and clouds reflecting sunlight, the calculated temperature is inaccurate. Venus’ equilibrium temperature is -10 degrees C, but due to greenhouse gases it is actually 450 degrees C. (Ashnish)

Earth’s magnetic field also is a vital component of life on earth for all species, not just humans, because it protects the surface from the sun’s solar radiation. Astronomers can determine if planets have magnetic fields, because all the gas giants in our solar system have them. (Magnetic fields)

NASA found a planet inside the habitable zone of its star called Kepler-186f hundreds of light years away from earth that appears to have qualities that may be able to sustain life. Paul Hertz, NASA Astrophysics Division director said, “The discovery of Kepler-186f is a significant step toward finding worlds like our planet Earth,” because it is a step in the right direction for future missions that will study atmospheric conditions and compositions of other planets. However, it is on the outer range of the habitable zone so the planet only receives ⅓ of the energy from the sun compared to earth. Its years are only 130 days.

There is a sequence of Kepler planets, many of which are potentially habitable. Kepler-22b is a sister planet of Kepler-186f. Its years are longer at about 290 days, which is much closer to earth’s, but as of 2015, NASA did not know whether its surface is solid or gaseous. (contributor)

The kepler planets are discovered from the kepler telescope, which is part of a NASA mission to discover planets within habitable zones of their stars. It is named after the astronomer Johannes Kepler. In December of 2017 NASA made a huge scientific advancement, not in the finding of a habitable planet, but rather using new technology for the first time. They found a planet named Kepler-90 using machine learning. Machine learning in a sense is computers learning because the computer is able to identify planets with signals from outside our solar system.

https://hypothes.is/users/marymalouf here is a link to my annotations for one of the articles used in this research.

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