Science: Life on a Billion Planets?

Do planets other than the earth sustain thinking creatures? Philosophers, theologians, scientists, fiction writers and ordinary people have speculated on the question for centuries. Now a widely honored scientist, having pondered long on the subject, makes his answer: yes. Says Russian-born Otto Struve, 60, head of the astronomy department of the University of California at Berkeley: The Milky Way galaxy, the great swarm of stars to which the sun belongs, almost certainly contains millions of planets inhabited by intelligent life.

Stars are formed by condensation out of clouds of gas and dust. There are many different kinds in the galaxy. Most of...

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