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Thread: Found: Earth-Like Planet That Might Be Right For Life

  1. #1
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    Found: Earth-Like Planet That Might Be Right For Life

    [URL="http://www.npr.org/2011/12/05/143142279/found-earth-like-planet-that-might-be-right-for-life?sc=fb&cc=fp"]http://www.npr.org/2011/12/05/143142279/found-earth-like-planet-that-might-be-right-for-life?sc=fb&cc=fp[/URL]

    [QUOTE]

    Scientists have discovered a planet not too much bigger than Earth that's circling a distant star that's much like our own sun. What's more, this planet is in the "Goldilocks zone" around that star a region that's not too hot and not too cold. That's the kind of place that could be home to liquid water and maybe even life.

    The planet, known as Kepler-22b, is the first near-Earth-sized planet to be found smack dab in the middle of the habitable zone of a twin to our Sun.

    The planet is about 2 1/2 times the size of the Earth. It orbits a little closer to its star than our planet does to our sun, and goes around once every 290 days compared with our 365. But its star is a bit cooler than our sun, says William Borucki of NASA Ames Research Center, who heads NASA's Kepler space telescope mission, which detected this planet.

    "That means that that planet, Kepler-22b, has a rather similar temperature to that of the Earth," Borucki says. "Its surface temperature would be something like 72 Fahrenheit."

    It's not yet clear what kind of surface the planet might have researchers don't know if the planet is made mostly of rock or water or something else. And don't expect astronauts to climb on a rocket and go there anytime soon.

    "The star is some 600 light-years away," says Borucki, "so it's not terribly far away, but not terribly close either."

    More 'Viable Candidates' Likely

    Kepler-22b marks a significant first for NASA's Kepler space telescope, which launched in 2009 on a mission to find other Earths outside our solar system. The telescope has been staring at more than 150,000 stars in one patch of sky, watching and waiting for a slight dimming. That telltale dimming happens when an orbiting planet passes in front of a star, partly obscuring its light.

    So far, Kepler has seen signs of 2,326 planets, ranging in size from Earth-sized to Jupiter-sized. The vast majority of these possible planets still need to be confirmed through more observations.

    At least five of those candidates appear to be small planets in the habitable zones of their stars, suggesting that Kepler-22b is just the first of more to come. "We believe that we've got some very, very viable candidates here that are Earth-sized, near-Earth-sized, and in the habitable zones," says Natalie Batalha of San Jose State University in California, who is on the Kepler team.

    Over the last decade or so, scientists have confirmed the presence of hundreds of planets around distant stars, but they're mostly gas giants. Small worlds that could potentially have a rocky surface and maybe even alien life crawling around have been much harder to find.

    Just being small and in the habitable zone, however, does not mean a planet is actually habitable. Marc Kuchner, an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, says the habitable zone has been a useful concept for thinking about planets in the past, but it may be time to start asking more targeted questions.

    "I think it may be time to discard the 'habitable zone,' " says Kuchner. "I think maybe what this discovery is telling us is that it is time to move past it and start asking the next question, which is, 'Is the planet moist and juicy, like our own planet Earth?' "

    He says scientists are already working on powerful instruments that could someday detect signs of water on one of these alien worlds.

    [/QUOTE]

  2. #2
    It's exciting to be on the verge of history when it comes to exoplanet discovery.

    Looking forward to the first one found within a reasonable distance, and in the "zone".

    One of my biggest dissapointments is the lack of desire for human exploration and collonization of our own solar system. The tech all but exists, only the desire is lacking now.

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    We should invade. I bet they have oil.

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4266556]It's exciting to be on the verge of history when it comes to exoplanet discovery.

    Looking forward to the first one found within a reasonable distance, and in the "zone".

    [B]One of my biggest dissapointments is the lack of desire for human exploration and collonization of our own solar system.[/B] The tech all but exists, only the desire is lacking now.[/QUOTE]

    Same here.

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4266556]It's exciting to be on the verge of history when it comes to exoplanet discovery.

    Looking forward to the first one found within a reasonable distance, and in the "zone".

    One of my biggest dissapointments is the lack of desire for human exploration and collonization of our own solar system. The tech all but exists, only the desire is lacking now.[/QUOTE]

    Thankfully there are a few private companies working in the space sector now. I could see them starting a moon bubble before the government.

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    The biggest hurdle is getting all of that heavy stuff from the surface of our planet into orbit cheaply.

    Big business is waiting on one of the national space programs to figure this one out.

    My money is on the space elevator aka Geostationary orbital tether

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4266556]One of my biggest dissapointments is the lack of desire for human exploration and collonization of our own solar system. The tech all but exists, only the desire is lacking now.[/QUOTE]

    I disagree.

    Given the current technology, getting anywhere besides for our Moon is completely impractical. Building any sort of colony on a celestial body without an atmosphere and without known sources of water would require the mass transport of very large quantities of all types of resources. The costs would be extraordinary.

    In reality, it's much more about a lack of funds and practicality rather than a lack of desire.

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    [QUOTE=parafly;4266608]I disagree.

    Given the current technology, getting anywhere besides for our Moon is completely impractical. Building any sort of colony on a celestial body without an atmosphere and without known sources of water would require the mass transport of very large quantities of all types of resources. The costs would be extraordinary.

    In reality, [B]it's much more about a lack of funds and practicality rather than a lack of desire[/B].[/QUOTE]

    True.

    Americans don't want their taxes paying for kids to become engineers but then they want America to lead an expedition:
    "...to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before..."

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=Buster;4266624]True.

    Americans don't want their taxes paying for kids to become engineers but then they want America to lead an expedition:
    "...to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before..."[/QUOTE]

    Is that the only way to make Engineers? Without Government redistributing wealth and assigning folks to engineering, there would be no engineers in America?

    Is there any topic or issue that doesn;t go right back to "more tax, more spend" with you guys?

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4266656]Is there any topic or issue that doesn;t go right back to "more tax, more spend" with you guys?[/QUOTE]

    Not sure if this is partly directed at me or not, but I never said anything about public vs. private.

  11. #11
    [QUOTE=parafly;4266714]Not sure if this is partly directed at me or not, but I never said anything about public vs. private.[/QUOTE]

    Need to perfect warp drive/hyper drive tech before we boldly go where no one has gone before.

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    [QUOTE=Buster;4266537] The planet, known as Kepler-22b, is the first near-Earth-sized planet to be found smack dab in the middle of the habitable zone of a twin to our Sun.

    [/QUOTE]




    Just in...
    First pic:




    [IMG]http://vice.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c625053ef0120a5264c2c970c-450wi[/IMG]




    [QUOTE=Buster;4266604]

    My money is on the space elevator aka Geostationary orbital tether[/QUOTE]

    Oh man I was gonna say that, with space balloons.

    -
    Last edited by 32green; 12-06-2011 at 06:02 PM.

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=parafly;4266608]I disagree.

    Given the current technology, getting anywhere besides for our Moon is completely impractical. Building any sort of colony on a celestial body without an atmosphere and without known sources of water would require the mass transport of very large quantities of all types of resources. The costs would be extraordinary.

    In reality, it's much more about a lack of funds and practicality rather than a lack of desire.[/QUOTE]

    I agree. Our propulsion technology is expensive, heavy and inefficient. Mars, the moon, and other planets moons are the only places human beings could walk on. And the potential rewards just don't warrant the time, danger and expense right now. You're probably going to need advanced fusion power before you see humans even trekking beyond mars, much less colonizing anything.

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=Buster;4266624]

    Americans don't want their taxes paying for kids to become engineers but then they want America to lead an expedition:
    [/QUOTE]

    LOL

    That's exactly what Americans DO want their taxes paying for -- it's the trillions that have gone to kids who don't even want to be there that is so hard to swallow . . .

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    [QUOTE=Axil;4266894]And the potential rewards just don't warrant the time, danger and expense right now[/QUOTE]

    That's the same thing people said when some doofus said "Hey! I'm gonna get in this wooden boat powered by wind and sail off the edge of the horizon to who knows where"...

    The asteroid belt itself has enough raw materials to quench our insatiable thirst for millions of years. We'll get there eventually. But it's gonna be the private sector that makes it happen. I'm all for NASA...but it's gonna be raw greed that's gonna make it a reality.

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    Just as raw greed did it hundreds of years ago with the spice trades, colonizing the new world for agriculture and the industrial revolution. No government program funded or executed these endevours. They were paid for by Kings and Queens for nothing more than profit. Columbus didn't have NASA. He had Isabella who wanted to make money from the new world. Only when someone can find a profitable reason to go back to space will you see the push. the most prominent business reason is comm satellite space in Orbit. until someone comes up with an economic reason to go beyond that is a lead pipe lock to be profitable we won't.

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    [QUOTE=Guitarjet;4267110]Just as raw greed did it hundreds of years ago with the spice trades, colonizing the new world for agriculture and the industrial revolution. No government program funded or executed these endevours. They were paid for by Kings and Queens for nothing more than profit. Columbus didn't have NASA. He had Isabella who wanted to make money from the new world. Only when someone can find a profitable reason to go back to space will you see the push. the most prominent business reason is comm satellite space in Orbit. until someone comes up with an economic reason to go beyond that is a lead pipe lock to be profitable we won't.[/QUOTE]



    If there is a economic reason to push into space NASA will figure out what it is and they are going to figure out how it is done. THEN the private sector will take over.

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=Buster;4267155]If there is a economic reason to push into space NASA will figure out what it is and they are going to figure out how it is done. [/QUOTE]

    A bunch of nerds?

    They are thinking of the green chick from star track....and their first salty kiss.

    We need devious, ruthless, gold rush like fargwards with their eye on the prize. With the nerds close behind tappin on 'puters.


    -

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=32green;4267168]A bunch of nerds?

    They are thinking of the green chick from star track....and their first salty kiss.

    We need devious, ruthless, gold rush like fargwards with their eye on the prize. With the nerds close behind tappin on 'puters.


    -[/QUOTE]



    Nerds thought up geosynchronous satellites, computers and tang.

    The three things that made America great in the last half of the 20th century

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=Buster;4267155]If there is a economic reason to push into space NASA will figure out what it is and they are going to figure out how it is done. THEN the private sector will take over.[/QUOTE]

    and by private sector I mean China.

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