The final program for the upcoming Christians in Science Northern Conference 'All God's Creatures' is now online here. The program includes talks on Christian theology in relation to humanity, animals, artificial intelligences and exotheology (how topical!).
Part of the day will now be break out groups where people with specific interests in these areas can get together with the appropriate speaker and discuss the topic in perhaps more detail. There will also be a combined Speakers Panel at the end of the day to give folk a chance to ask questions in the wider context of the whole day.
Press conference still ongoing but some initial results:
1200 candidate planets (so far) - this is up from pre-Kepler exoplanet totals of about 500.
Most planets somewhere between Earth and Neptune size - a (predicted) change from the very early days of exoplanet hunting where most found where on the Jupiter scale or larger.
54 candidates within their system's habitable zones - although only 1 under the size of Earth, 2 in the 'super-Earth' range. Other candidates could be orbited by moons of a size and composition to be habitable.
170 multi-planet candidate systems - previously only one (Kepler-9) known before. Multi-planet systems allow the charecteristics of those planets to be pinned down precisely.
Kepler-11 has 6 confirmed planets (not just candidates) in orbit around it.
Planets displaying unpredicted densities, sizes, etc than what expected which will mean another rethink on the details of planetary formation.
If 54 candidates are all that is expected to be found per patch of sky similar to what Kepler is looking at that would still give 400 000 habitable systems. This is very likely to be a servre underestimate as planets in habitable zones require longer times to detect than the mission length of Kepler up to now.
Later today (Feb 2nd and at about 6pm in the UK) NASA scientists are expected to announce an update on the number of possible planetary systems that the Kepler telescope has so far spotted. More time is still needed to pin down potentially habitable planets, but the number of other planets found is expected to rocket with hundreds of candidates likely to have been found.
I am a physicist currently working in biomedical research.
Firstly though and (hopefully) before all else I am a follower of Christ (commonly called a Christian).
I like fudge, roasts, good company, spiders and something else.
Warring, transforming robots are quite good fun too.