Science is something that has continued to intrigue me for longer than I can remember. It inspires me to realize that no matter how trivial or small our problems and actions may seem, we are, without doubt, a part of a much bigger and vast system. Everything we do and every choice we make has a domino effect on the entirety of space and time. This very realization and sense of belonging incentivizes me to promote and extend accomplishments of science

Exoplanets or Extrasolar planets are planets that orbit a star other then the Sun, orbited by earth, with an estimated of 2,000 discovered so far. Exoplanets revolve around a parent star in a solar system, much like our own. In the wise words of an Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno (1584), “This space we declare to be infinite….. In it are infinity of worlds of the same kind as our own”. However recent discoveries using complex methods to ensure accuracy and availability of more effective space based telescopes, including Hubble Space Telescope and MOST, have played a major part in making these explorations a scientific reality. With the help of modern equipment and sizeable supply of resources, astronomers have been able to locate and explore extraordinary new worlds and enormous galaxies, the very existence of which has baffled the entire scientific community. A few of the most breath-taking of exoplanets are mentioned:

Gliese 436b is an exoplanet, located 30 light-years away in the constellation Leo. The most interesting feature of this planet is that it is literally covered in burning ice. However, the ice is different from what we see on earth because it is formed as a result of the extreme pressure on the planet, though the temperature exceeds 300°C.

Another remarkable exoplanet that caught the attention of astronomers is Kepler-16b. Apparently this planet seems to have two parent stars, which admittedly does seem pure fiction. At the same time, Kepler-16b like many others is out of its habitable zone and is gaseous and cold, making it highly unlikely to sustain life.

HD 106906b or the impossible planet has been the cause of some serious astronomical confusion. The reason being, that no model of planet or star formation so far has been able to explain the existence of this planet. It is roughly 11 times the mass of Jupiter and is 650 times as far away from its host star as the earth is from the sun. According to current knowledge of planet formation it is impossible for a planet to form this far from its host star.       

The planet 55 Cancri e has a mass of approximately 8 times that of mother earth and is located 40 light years from where we stand today. What is completely outstanding about this planet is that its surface is consists of almost entirely of diamond. So all one needs to do is to build a Warp Drive in one’s backyard, fly over to the constellation of Cancer and cut diamond until you have enough money that Bill Gates asks you for a loan. That being said, keep in mind that the planet may offer too much of a warm welcome.

Lastly, Kepler 452b or earth’s cousin has been the cause of a good deal of commotion recently. Kepler 452b is the only exoplanet discovered which holds the title of being most similar to earth than any other exoplanet discovered so far. It is 5 times larger than the earth and has a host star nearly identical to the sun. The planet’s orbit is nearly the same as that of Earth’s and its year is about 20 days longer than that of Earth.

Understanding the possibility of several solar systems like ours and the existence of planets to a great extent similar to that of Earth. Thinking of colonizing or populating planets that may provide suitable standards of living is not only impractical but immoral at the same time. We as humans have a responsibility to protect and work for the betterment of our home with the best of our knowledge and the very thought of abandoning it after exhausting almost all of its resources sounds completely wrong. However, even though various galaxies and solar systems seem immensely far. They will never be beyond the limitless reach of mankind.