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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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A Milestone in Finding Earth's Long Lost Twin

December 20, 2011, 4:21 PM

Scientists have discovered the smallest exoplanets yet known, and both represent the closest we have come to finding Earth's twin.

Using NASA's Kepler telescope, researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge discovered these planets orbiting a sun-like star called Kepler-20 that is 950 light-years from Earth.

The planets are much too hot for liquid water, so the chance of life as we know it on these planets is zero. However, scientists describe this discovery as a significant milestone in the Kepler mission's search for a planet that shares the vital life-sustaining characteristics as Earth. To learn more, look for the paper describing this discovery, which will be published in the journal Nature.

In the illustration below, the newfound planets named Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f are shown in comparison to Earth and Venus.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle


A Milestone in Finding Eart...

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