The discovery of the 5,000th exoplanet by NASA provides a massive foundation for its ongoing search for alien life. An exoplanet is any planet found beyond our solar system, which may or may not be (like Earth) in its habitable zone. NASA’s library of exoplanets includes everything from hot Jupiter-like gas giants to planets orbiting neutron stars, but it has only scratched the surface of what’s out there.
The discovery of the first two exoplanets in 1992 changed our perspective on the cosmos, and led to an upsurge of investigations into the possibility of life on other planets. The NASA Exoplanet Archive has now recorded 5,005 exoplanets, with 65 more being discovered on March 21 this year.
Is there life on other planets?
Due to the fact that there are likely billions of exoplanets in the Milky Way alone, the Fermi Paradox suggests that we should have detected alien life. At present, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), launched in 2018, is making most of the exoplanet discoveries. Other satellites, such as the James Webb Space Telescope recently launched, will likely provide new insights into alien worlds.
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