Five Billion Years Of Solitude

Jan 23, 2014

Most Earthlike Exoplanet started out as a gas giant.
Credit NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

In his Washington Post review of Lee Billings book, Five Billion Years of Solitude, astronomer Mike Brown compressed the age of the earth into a human lifetime.

“In just the past two weeks,” he wrote, “primates came down from the trees and learned to navigate among the planets, in the past few minutes, they figured out that the stars in the sky are suns like our own. Ten seconds ago, they realized that those suns have planets around them. And within the next minute, it seems likely that they will discover the first evidence of life on those planets in the sky.”

We are in that minute according to the fast-growing field of ‘exoplanets’ -- the search for planets outside our solar system – with the idea that discovering one just like ours, is a real possibility. Science journalist Lee Billings writes about the fate of our planet, and the scientists on the leading edge of identifying whether there are planets just like ours out there in the cosmos. He’s on the line to talk about his book Five Billion Years of Solitude.