Life on Other Planets

NASA discovers Kepler B-22. So what?

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Comments (29)

(23) SusanE, December 22, 2011 5:56 AM

Not Too Fascinating

We've all pretty much figured there could easily be other planets similar to us 'out there'. I liked Star Trek, but wouldn't want to live on the Enterprise. So what's the point of theorizing about that planet? Besides....we can't get a clear picture of a bank robber on a security camera right here on Earth, and scientists want me to believe that they snapped a photo of a planet kazillions of miles away through a telescope? I remember the views of the moon landing in 1969. Those photos and videos were so staged it was laughable. Billions of dollars were spent for the 'space race' and all it did was buy us a few pictures and turn astronauts into actors. Wouldn't it be wonderful renew and restore and replenish the Earth. I think we would all benefit from that path..

(22) Anonymous, December 17, 2011 3:16 PM

Date of Moon Landing

FYI: The moon landing was July 20, 1969.... NOT July 21, 1969.

(21) Steve Cordova, December 16, 2011 10:55 PM

Yes. It's fascinating

It is more important to focus on issues that concern our planet and humanity. I spend a lot of time contemplating humanity's problems along with conceiving potential solutions, but it is also interesting to contemplate all types of possibilities of existence both here on this planet and throughout the Universe particularly because it is a mental exercise in understanding the potential manifestations that God has created. When I conceive of the reality that the entire Universe is a mental manifestation of God then that means that one day humanity may discover that God has coded inanimate matter to become life under the right circumstances. Considering how big the Universe is I think it is impossible for the Universe not to be teaming with life. Such a realiy doesn't deminish our uniqueness in the Universe rather it gives us the potential opportunity to soar to new heights. Learning about humanity's history and social issues helps me to understand who we are as a species so as to give me a deeper understanding of our problems and how we can solve them. It is not enough to merely solve problems but to envision a future with a more advanced and stable society where humanity can work together to explore its potentials to create new techologies in medicine, agriculture computation, communications, and maybe even create propulsion systems that can propel humanity to new parts of the Universe at speeds once thought inconceivable so as to give humanity the possibility to advance even further so as to explore new possibilities beyond our Earth. I guess that makes me a dreamer but it is the dreamers who make what once seemed impossible suddenly seem possible. It is the dreamers who are fascinated by the idea of life on other planets, particularly more advanced and stable life. Sometimes it is interesting to think about the wonders that species more advanced than us could reveal to us. Who knows what awaits humanity out there but it is interesting to think about it.

(20) RadarRecon, December 15, 2011 9:13 PM

Who decides what is habitable?

Why do we believe that life can only be carbon-based, must live between temperature extremes of 0-140f, needs oxygen and water? The Creator defined the parameters here on earth. Who can say that he didn't make a different set of rules for other life elsewhere?

(19) Anonymous, December 15, 2011 12:48 PM

think universal...act global

as much as life in other worlds is fun to contemplate, being that getting there is near impossible I would think that all the time and money spent on space research would better be spent trying to clean up the mess humankind has made on earth, helping better humanity here and so on.

(18) Anonymous, December 15, 2011 5:18 AM

i'm not answering the question,i'm kind of adding to it. i don't think there would be life on another planet if the had no torah. If Torah is the purpose of creation, what would be the point of their existence if they had no torah? also, i find it very fascinating that they found a "twin planet", but what's the point of spending your life researching it if it's twenty MILLION years away???? that's unfathomable.

(17) Anonymous, December 15, 2011 1:58 AM

Even if life developed...

Scientifically speaking, if any flora or fauna were to exist on this new planet, it would be incompatible with our own due to differences in the molecular bonds. From a religious standpoint, I have no idea. Anyone else have one?

(16) Barbara, December 14, 2011 10:51 PM

Do you really have such a lack of scientific curiosity?

Of course, it's fascinating. Who knows what types of life may exist out there, how similar to us or how different from us. Acquiring new knowledge is always fascinating. That's what mankind is about, exploring and discovering and adapting to new ideas. How shortsighted of you to just dismiss this.

Marcelo, December 17, 2011 2:38 AM

missing the point

As an atheist jew, I can see what the Rabbi is saying. Tomne it doesn't matter if there's a planet thousands of light years from us which we could dwell in, we already have enough problems on planet Earth. I would go as far as saying I would be embarrassed for mankind if another rational life form ever met us and our society.

(15) Nir, December 14, 2011 12:40 PM

Going to somewhere else always tells us about ourselves

For example, we couldn't understand the uniqueness of our planets created for us by the Almighty, without investigating its neighbors. For example Venus is just a little bit too close, so it has a runaway greenhouse effect. On the other hand, Mars is a little bit too small. Therefore it has already cooled down, so all the geological activities has stopped on it, and it doesn't have a protective magnetic field. And then there is the giant Jupiter, with its size keeps most disastrous asteroids away from Earth. Isn't all that fascinating and tells us about the uniqueness of our existence? And what else can we learn when investigating planets around other suns? We must continue on investigating since it elevates the human spirit.

(14) Andrew Hans, December 14, 2011 5:43 AM

As Spock would say: "Fascinating"

Rabbi: FIrst, a minor point: The day Man landed on the Moon was July 20th, 1969, not the 21st. All NASA missions referred to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as the standard. Landing occurred at 20:17:39 GMT. For me, on the East coast of the USA that was at 4:17 PM. Even if you were in Israel, you would be only 2 hours ahead of GMT or 22:17 (10:17 PM). At that time, there was no Daylight Saving Time in effect--not legislated in Israel until the 1990's. Now, I find this new discovery fascinating. Scientists have been getting better and better at finding these new worlds. To date there are 687 exoplanets found. With each of these discoveries it becomes more apparent there are probably millions, if not tens of millions planets in just our galaxy alone. All of this shows the glory of Hashem for he created these worlds as well. As to the speculation of life on these other planets, having a BS in chemistry, a minor in astronomy, and having a sense of the extreme vastness of His universe, I have no doubt that the universe is teeming with life. Again, all created by Hashem, in his Universe. As Spock would say..."Fascinating" Live long and Prosper, Rabbi.

(13) Phil, December 14, 2011 3:13 AM


Excellent talk and thought-provoking question! One quibble, though. Rabbi Salomon said that "we know the universe is really endless, ever expanding." If we hold by that midrash where God said, "Dai" after the universe "unfurled", then perhaps it's not expanding any more (even though it still looks like it is.) R. Klempner mentioned both Newton and the Rambam. He might be interested to know that Newton studied Rambam's works.

(12) Kerry, December 14, 2011 1:11 AM

Interesting Yes!

It is fascinating! Perhaps, in the future, earthlings will be able to travel to other planets and inhabit them. We may find new ores, flora and fauna. The New World provided tomatoes, tomatoes and many other foods, flora. and fauna. Don't be selfish, our progeny will benefit.

(11) david frankel, December 13, 2011 9:47 PM

i have a question to ask lets suppose there were life on anther planet would g-d have anther torah for people on that planet

Julius, December 14, 2011 3:53 PM

G-ds existence could not be denied.

I have pondered a similar question and concluded; If G-d created all things, then all beings would worship Him. This would verify His existence to all. How exciting!!!

judah ben hur, December 14, 2011 8:28 PM


Yes another planet which we can take over through usury and guilt-tripping the inhabitants, monopolise their media and mongrolise their races. Yippee!

(10) Rodney Wilkinson, December 13, 2011 7:41 PM

Life on another planet?

One wonders, if there is life as we know it on this new planet, what condition is it in, are they a race of people that has not fallen like we did in the Garden of Eden? Food for thought. Meanwhile Rabbi Salomon, I trust G-d will lead you to some intelligent life here on earth, maybe only in Israel, G-d bless you Rabbi, I thoroughly enjoyed your article.

(9) John, December 13, 2011 7:16 PM

Intelligent life on this planet

Brilliant summary. Are there not thousands of ways the taxes that are forced us could be better used to improve human lives here on planet earth?

(8) Debbie, December 13, 2011 7:09 PM

I like the perspective. l have been trying to learn Torah, keep up with astronomy, appreciate the world around me. As far excited about life on other planets, I can not say how I would respond.

(7) Anonymous, December 13, 2011 5:46 PM

It IS fascinating, why not work towards learning more about it?

Since I was two years old I have always dreamed of going into space. I had the privilege of meeting one of my heroes, John Glenn, when I was 7. His generation of astronauts embodied the feeling of, "Wow, what a blessing from G-d has been bestowed upon me that brought me here to see His miracles with my own eyes." I am now 25 and an active-duty military pilot. I still dream of slipping the surly bonds of Earth and gravity, to paraphrase "High Flight." The news of this planet inspired me. We have certain principles in the field of aviation, especially when it comes to advancing technology. Our goals must be achievable, measurable, and realistic. Unfortunately, 600 light years is quite a ways away, unless we can achieve FTL (faster than light) propulsion systems that can somehow accelerate slowly or dampen the effects of organic occupants in spacecraft while accelerating. Recently, CERN physicists have discovered that certain subatomic particles which formulated as a result of the production of antimatter have arrived at the starting point on the LHC before light did. They don't quite understand it, yet. As for achievable goals, visiting Kepler B-22 may not be in our grasp at this time, but we should definitely go to the moon again, and then Mars. Why? Space technology must progress in baby steps. We may not even leave the solar system for the duration of the century, but we do have unmanned probes on the outer reaches that were launched over 30 years ago, still transmitting images. If G-d allows us to explore His universe, I feel that it can only help humanity, even if it only serves to give us perspective and pause. We should never have stopped the trajectory of NASA in the early 1970s, so we as a nation should re-commit ourselves to returning to the moon and sojourn to other milestones in our solar system. On a side note, the technology developed for space flight has had long-lasting positive effects for everyone on earth. Space prohibits listing them here.

(6) M Richard Leopold, December 13, 2011 5:21 PM

How do we compare?

Fascinating. Have they animal, vegetable, mineral and life as we know it? Is it at all similar to us? Have their human equivalents have a sense of self? Are they ahead or behind us in civility, knowledge, science, etc. What beliefs have they? Absolutely fascinating. Richard

(5) George Bernstein, December 13, 2011 4:20 PM

Intelligent life? Is our God their God?

The reason I care is because the discovery of such a planet leads me to wonder that if there is intelligent life, do they recognize a God, the one God of the universe, and has He made himself known to them? Is Rabbi Salomon really being as flippant as he seems, or is it his way to stimulate thinking?

(4) adina, December 12, 2011 9:54 PM

I love Hashem and what He gives to us through the disguise of nature

It's pretty awesome that Hashem lets us see His Glory of His Creations on this earth.and to think that here on earth where Hashem likes to be hidden that He would reviel to us that theres another planet is quite extraordinary,Hashem can do anything and to let us feel Him revealing a piece of His puzzle on earth is facinating and shows us how much we really don't know.all we know is that He is the source of everything.and discovering His masterpieces is beautifull

(3) Danny M, December 11, 2011 11:57 PM

Not that excited

I wish that they could get the weather right most of the time.

(2) Neta, December 11, 2011 2:25 PM

Awe, Majesty..

I love cosmology and I wish that I could understand it more. I marvel at Hashem's creation in the heavens. Awe and majesty fill my heart whenever I hear of yet another discovery. But, I need only look at a starry night and I become transfixed. There is another side to this story. So many scientists, of all stripes, are busy attempting to find the god-particle or they are trying to find life on other planets, etc. All these are atheist substitutes for G-d. They took out their telescopes, and declared that they could not find Hashem (as per their strange reading of the Bible). They peeled the basic structure of matter to find how matter came to be. All they found is more mystery. I am thrilled by all these discoveries because I know that the same Creator Who is turning Kepler 22 in its 289 day orbit right now (notwithstanding the slight 600 light year time difference) is the same Creator Who is looking after those in need today. He is the same Creator Who is in all, through all, for all, and yet beyond all. He is the One Who calls Israel! Shall we not dance? We do!

R. Klempner, December 12, 2011 5:12 AM

not all scientists want to replace G-d

There are many scientists who have found G-dliness in the wonders of nature. While Yuri Gargarin announced that he'd seen space and G-d wasn't there, James Lovell spent the eve of X-mas during Apollo 8 reciting the story of creation from the Bible (notice that Gargarin died an early, grisly death and that Lovell merited miracles during the Apollo 13 rescue). Newton believed in G-d, and like the RAMBAM, felt that observing the magnificent and diverse universe was a way to connect with the Almighty. While Kepler B-22 hasn't rocked my world (after all, as R. Salomon points out, it's way to far away to visit), I feel like this is just one more amazing creation of HaShem to celebrate.

Mati, December 14, 2011 10:06 PM

Yuri GAgarin was a xtian

Some sources have claimed that Gagarin commented during the flight, "I don't see any God up here." However, no such words appear in the verbatim record of his conversations with Earth-based stations during the spaceflight. In a 2006 interview, Gagarin's friend Colonel Valentin Petrov stated that the cosmonaut never said such words, and that the quote originated from Nikita Khrushchev's speech at the plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU about the state's anti-religion campaign, saying "Gagarin flew into space, but didn't see any god there." Petrov also said that Gagarin had been baptised into the Orthodox Church as a child, and a 2011 Foma magazine article quoted the rector of the Orthodox church in Star City saying, "Gagarin baptized his elder daughter Elena shortly before his space flight; and his family used to celebrate Christmas and Easter and keep icons in the house. [Wikipedia entry]

R. Klempner, December 18, 2011 2:33 AM

wow...just another media distortion

I stand corrected! It's amazing how a statement can be so misattributed (I've seen the false Gargarin quote in many places both online and in print!). Thanks for the info!

(1) Alan S., December 11, 2011 1:16 PM

The Rabbi's search reminds me of the bumper sticker: 'Beam me up Scotty, there's no sign of intelligent life down here.' The Rabbi's search will take a long time.


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