Catholic astronomers: Newly discovered planet a testament to Earth’s ‘startling uniqueness’

NASA believes that TOI 700 e takes 28 days to orbit its star. NASA and Vatican Observatory experts agree that the planet may be “tidally locked,” which as Graney explained to CNA means that one side of TOI 700 e is always facing its sun while the other is always facing away as our moon does with the Earth. This means that on TOI 700 e there is most likely “no day and night, no rising and setting of its sun,” Graney said.

Graney said the discovery of TOI 700 e shows that “in the same way that God likes planets, [he] likes variety in planets.”

“One of the great trends in the history of astronomy,” Graney said, “has been the discovery of how diverse the universe is.” It’s “a real revolution,” he added.

“Two centuries ago astronomers tended to suppose that stars would be more or less like the sun, and planets would be more or less like Earth — and have life, because life was thought to be spontaneously generated from matter,” Graney said.

“But we have found all this variety, not just a bunch of other Earths. So we should appreciate our Earth all the more — it looks like you don’t find a planet like this in just any old planetary system!” Graney said.

“The discovery of this and other exoplanets are really remarkable achievements that testify to the marvels of God’s creation,” Shingledecker said. “The more exoplanets we detect, the more startlingly unique we realize Earth really is. Indeed, as far as we know, it is currently the only place anywhere in the universe where life exists.”

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