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February 20, 2006

Narrowing the starfield in the search for extra–terrestrial life

Writing about web page http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/article346547.ece

From the article:

Dr Turnbull selected her top five from an initial catalogue of 17,129 stars that could be "habitable stellar systems" where the physical conditions would not be too extreme to limit the evolution and development of intelligent life and its technology.

I really hope this is not the first time this has been done.

I thought about doing something similar literally years ago when I first heard of SETI. I mean if we are assuming life is a result of complex physical processes at least narrow the search field a little by considering stars that are similar to where we know the process can yield results – i.e our star.

Sheeesh.

If this is really the first time this has been attempted then does anyone have any insights as to why it took so long? Has there only recently been a sufficiently detailed star catalogue on which to base such a study?


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