The Kepler terrestrial planet finding telescope just released its first light picture. According to the mission designers, about 50 of these stars will have earth-sized planets in an orbit with similar insolation as we have. I’m guessing that after removing oddballs due to unusual stellar compositions and eccentric orbits, there will be fewer that are truly earth-like. But as with all experiments of this type, the coolest thing we find will be something we haven’t thought of yet.
Anyway, now that the starscape is out, I’d like to start the first internet planetary betting pool. The rules are simple. Have a look at the full-scale image. Pick a star. The person who selects the star with the most earth-like planet wins.
Now, it may seem like there are a lot of choices there. I haven’t counted them myself, but I read that there are about a quarter million stars in this picture. But think of it this way. One in a quarter million is way, way, way better odds than the lottery. And in this pool, the winner gets shouted to a pan-galactic gargle blaster by each and every one of the unsuccessful players. What could possibly go wrong?
My guess is the star at 4891, 3691.