Academic journal article Journal of College Science Teaching

Nomads of the Galaxy

Academic journal article Journal of College Science Teaching

Nomads of the Galaxy

Article excerpt

Recently, a study was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society proposing that planets that are simply adrift in space may be something of a common phenomenon. In the study aptly titled "Nomads of the Galaxy," the authors proposed an upper limit to the number of nomad planets that might exist in the Milky Way Galaxy: 100,000 for every star. And because the Milky Way is estimated to have 200 to 400 billion stars, that could put the number of nomad planets in the quadrillions. If this proposal is correct, it could be that nomad planets play a dynamic role in the universe. In particular, if life can exist without the warmth of a nearby sun, it raises the possibility that, along with sustaining life, nomad planets could be transporting it as well. While just an idea, it is one that becomes more intriguing when considering not only the number of nomad planets, but the behavior of galaxies.

"In the 20th century, many eminent scientists have entertained the speculation that life propagated either in a directed, random, or malicious way throughout the galaxy," said Roger D. …

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