Spotlight Live: Nomads of the Galaxy

by Bruce Lieberman

Planets simply adrift in space may not only be common in the cosmos; in the Milky Way Galaxy alone, their number may be in the quadrillions. Three experts discussed what this might mean, whether a nomad planet could drift close to our solar system, and how it is possible for a nomad planet to sustain life.

The Author

Bruce Lieberman

The Researcher

Louis E. Strigari

PLANETS SIMPLY ADRIFT IN SPACE may not only be common in the cosmos; in the Milky Way Galaxy alone, their number may be in the quadrillions. On May 24, science writer Bruce Lieberman had a conversation about these nomadic wanderers with astrophysicist Louis Strigari -- lead author of a recent research paper that generated attention when it greatly increased the estimate for the number of these planets, renewing speculation about life beyond Earth.

About the Participants

  • Louis E. Strigari, research associate at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. His research interests include dark matter in astrophysics and particle physics, galactic structure, substructure and dwarf satellites, the search for galactic satellites, direct dark matter detection, neutrino astrophysics, and galactic microlensing.

  • Bruce Lieberman is a freelance journalist with more than 20 years of experience in the news business. He worked as a reporter at daily newspapers for many years before becoming an independent writer and editor in 2010. For The Kavli Foundation, Bruce has interviewed researchers about dark matter and dark energy, string theory, the emergence of the first stars and galaxies, exoplanets and nomad planets. He has also written for Scientific American about the next generation of large segmented mirror telescopes, the search for life on Mars, the Voyager spacecraft and other subjects.

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  • Nomads of the Galaxy
Written by Bruce Lieberman

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