Five years ago when 140 characters shook this planet with the introduction a new social interaction platform that allowed man to communicate with folks the world over - little did we know there were 140 similar worlds in the Milky Way that might also be tweeting inter-galactically.
Stands to reason that if there are other Earth-like planets in the Solar System with the chance of harboring life similar to what we know it to be - they may have also developed at a similar rate - and if so - social media might be on their radar. And if not, when and if we do make contact - might we be able to educate our alien brothers as to the benefits of social media when we do finally hook up?
Dimitar SasselovIt's a supposition to ponder even moreso today, based on the recent gaffe made by Harvard University astronomer Dimitar Sasselov when he jumped the gun at a recent TED conference in the UK this past week.
During his presentation and unbeknown to his fellow Kepler Space colleagues, Sasselov identified at least 140 'candidate' planets' in the Milky Way that "are like Earth" and as "exoplanets" they all have an outside chance of nurturing life.
Much to the dismay of NASA which likes to sit and analyze these types of revelations for at least a year after any type of preliminary discovery, Sasselov's spilling of the beans gave the public an early inside look at data that wasn't slated for release until February of next year.
Here is an artist's rendering of what space might look as viewed from outside our Galaxy. Our sun is about 25,000 light years from the center and the cone illustrates the neighborhood where the Kepler Mission will search for other habitable planets.
Space, the final frontier
Columbus & CopernicusSimilar to when Columbus discovered America disproving that the world was flat, and Copernicus' discovery that Earth was just one of many planets revolving around the sun, our Earth and our social media might be cut from a "fairly common galactic cloth" as 140 planets out there. It's amazing how small man really is when placing him in this context.
If Sasselov's data holds up, that could mean that beyond the initial 140 planets uncovered there might be hundreds of millions of earth-like planets that have been circling stars long enough for a lot of interesting things to happen. According to an Examiner report, going beyond Sasselov's revelations, the actual images and details of the chemical composition of some of these exoplanets is well within our grasp over the next 20 years.
If that be the case, and if Twitter, Facebook and the other social networks haven't evolved into something else in the next two decades, we just might be sending those 140 characters to where no man has gone before. That is when and if all the stars align.