And endless array of coffee shops. Startups galore. A raging tech and higher education scene. Bicycles. Athletes.
Is that what you think of when Boulder, Colorado comes to mind? Well, it’s pretty easy to think that — we have a lot going on within our twenty-five square miles. But this week, Boulder’s going on the celestial map. We just built a spacecraft that’s (potentially) discovered three new planets capable of sustaining life. Can I get a hot diggity?
Boulder’s Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. built the Kepler flight system and launched it into realms unknown back in 2009. Four years later, the craft has returned evidence that planets (appropriately named) Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f, along with one orbiting Kepler69 (a sun-like star), offer the highest probability that they could sustain life.
So, you’re probably asking, “Hey, how can I grab a prime piece of celestial real estate before it hits Boulder-like prices?” Well, we hope you have a little bit of time on your hands to make the trip. The planets are a mere 1200 light years away. Considering that one light year is about 6 trillion miles…I’ll let you do the math. Translation? Long. Trip. Given their distance, why on Earth (hah) are these three planets such a big deal? We loved this quote from the NPR article on the discovery:
Back in the good old days, you’d find one or two crappy, Jupiter-like planets, and you’d be on the cover of Time magazine. But those days are long gone,” says Paul Butler, a planet hunter at the Carnegie Institution for Science. Most new planets barely elicit a yawn these days.
Down with crappy planets and up with life-possible, brought to you by the Kepler mission and the Boulder-powered team at Ball!
Today, we’re sending out a cosmic high five to the talented folks at Ball Aerospace. We’d all do well with being reminded that Boulder isn’t just about what happens on Pearl Street, so we thank you for your out-of-this-world accomplishments. We can only hope there will be an Xterra race in the new world Kepler’s bringing us.