Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

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Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Fenrisulfr » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:12 pm

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100929/ap_ ... new_earths

The new planet sits smack in the middle of what astronomers refer to as the habitable zone, unlike any of the nearly 500 other planets astronomers have found outside our solar system. And it is in our galactic neighborhood, suggesting that plenty of Earth-like planets circle other stars.

Finding a planet that could potentially support life is a major step toward answering the timeless question: Are we alone?

Scientists have jumped the gun before on proclaiming that planets outside our solar system were habitable only to have them turn out to be not quite so conducive to life. But this one is so clearly in the right zone that five outside astronomers told The Associated Press it seems to be the real thing.

"This is the first one I'm truly excited about," said Penn State University's Jim Kasting. He said this planet is a "pretty prime candidate" for harboring life.

Life on other planets doesn't mean E.T. Even a simple single-cell bacteria or the equivalent of shower mold would shake perceptions about the uniqueness of life on Earth.

But there are still many unanswered questions about this strange planet. It is about three times the mass of Earth, slightly larger in width and much closer to its star — 14 million miles away versus 93 million. It's so close to its version of the sun that it orbits every 37 days. And it doesn't rotate much, so one side is almost always bright, the other dark.

Temperatures can be as hot as 160 degrees or as frigid as 25 degrees below zero, but in between — in the land of constant sunrise — it would be "shirt-sleeve weather," said co-discoverer Steven Vogt of the University of California at Santa Cruz.

It's unknown whether water actually exists on the planet, and what kind of atmosphere it has. But because conditions are ideal for liquid water, and because there always seems to be life on Earth where there is water, Vogt believes "that chances for life on this planet are 100 percent."

The astronomers' findings are being published in Astrophysical Journal and were announced by the National Science Foundation on Wednesday.

The planet circles a star called Gliese 581. It's about 120 trillion miles away, so it would take several generations for a spaceship to get there. It may seem like a long distance, but in the scheme of the vast universe, this planet is "like right in our face, right next door to us," Vogt said in an interview.

That close proximity and the way it was found so early in astronomers' search for habitable planets hints to scientists that planets like Earth are probably not that rare.

Vogt and Butler ran some calculations, with giant fudge factors built in, and figured that as much as one out of five to 10 stars in the universe have planets that are Earth-sized and in the habitable zone.

With an estimated 200 billion stars in the universe, that means maybe 40 billion planets that have the potential for life, Vogt said. However, Ohio State University's Scott Gaudi cautioned that is too speculative about how common these planets are.

Vogt and Butler used ground-based telescopes to track the star's precise movements over 11 years and watch for wobbles that indicate planets are circling it. The newly discovered planet is actually the sixth found circling Gliese 581. Two looked promising for habitability for a while, another turned out to be too hot and the fifth is likely too cold. This sixth one bracketed right in the sweet spot in between, Vogt said.

With the star designated "a," its sixth planet is called Gliese 581g.

"It's not a very interesting name and it's a beautiful planet," Vogt said. Unofficially, he's named it after his wife: "I call it Zarmina's World."

The star Gliese 581 is a dwarf, about one-third the strength of our sun. Because of that, it can't be seen without a telescope from Earth, although it is in the Libra constellation, Vogt said.

But if you were standing on this new planet, you could easily see our sun, Butler said.

The low-energy dwarf star will live on for billions of years, much longer than our sun, he said. And that just increases the likelihood of life developing on the planet, the discoverers said.

"It's pretty hard to stop life once you give it the right conditions," Vogt said.


Well it's about fucking time.
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Yoshi » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:34 pm

Wow, that's pretty awesome. It's pretty neat about the whole nice zone for habitable. One in five to ten is a pretty large amount.
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby PunkyChipsAhoy » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:06 pm

So THAT'S where ET is.
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Doctress Who » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:09 pm

I've been there. Nice planet. Good for holidays.
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby PunkyChipsAhoy » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:10 pm

i swear to god doctress if that's what I think it is..
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Doctress Who » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:12 pm

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Well come on, what does my username say?
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby PunkyChipsAhoy » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:21 pm

OOOOOOOOOOOH

THAT SASSY BRITISH BITCH OF MINE!
A Pimp Named Jeezy Creezy: Lasting all the way up to Valentine's.

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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Mathias » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:23 pm

Wow, check out the spam in here.

So...where is this "habitable zone"?
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby zepherin » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:29 pm

If your going to with the username. Commit to it. I approve. :bigsmile:

Also to stay on topic. Vegas is offering 100/1 odds on first contact within a year.

http://news.discovery.com/space/no-un-a ... ll-in.html
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Monkeys85 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:29 pm

This is interesting, if we ever get there we can ruin that planet too!
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Morpheus » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:34 pm

World domination.
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Whatis6times9 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:35 pm

Morpheus wrote:World domination.

No Pinky, Galactic domination.
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Mathias » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:35 pm

Globicide.
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Morpheus » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:36 pm

But which nation will get there first?
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Mathias » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:37 pm

Kazakhstan.
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby PunkyChipsAhoy » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:38 pm

Whatis6times9 wrote:
Morpheus wrote:World domination.

No Pinky, Galactic domination.



damn I was gonna do a Pinky and the Brain joke, and I should've considering I've been rewatching the majority of the series in these past months.
A Pimp Named Jeezy Creezy: Lasting all the way up to Valentine's.

And the Pimpeth lord sat amidst his real ballin' players, the Apostles, and raisingeth his cup of Cristal as they devoured the grapes and cheese from the finest bitches in town he said

"Sleepery Dee, Sleepery Doo.
Whoever betrays me tonight, I'll mo'fuckin' cap you!"
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Doctress Who » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:39 pm

zepherin wrote:If your going to with the username. Commit to it. I approve. :bigsmile:
Well good to know my humour is appreciated. :3

zepherin wrote:Also to stay on topic. Vegas is offering 100/1 odds on first contact within a year.

http://news.discovery.com/space/no-un-a ... ll-in.html
I think that's very optimistic. Back in the 80's they thought we'd all be riding around in hover cars by now. Progress usually takes a long time to get anywhere.
And that's assuming there is life on that planet that can be 'contacted'. Just because there's a chance of life, doesn't mean it will be sentient to a human extent.
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby PunkyChipsAhoy » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:44 pm

Plus Obama hates NASA.
A Pimp Named Jeezy Creezy: Lasting all the way up to Valentine's.

And the Pimpeth lord sat amidst his real ballin' players, the Apostles, and raisingeth his cup of Cristal as they devoured the grapes and cheese from the finest bitches in town he said

"Sleepery Dee, Sleepery Doo.
Whoever betrays me tonight, I'll mo'fuckin' cap you!"
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby DaCrum » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:27 pm

IT'll be a while until we get there. Between finally canceling that failure of a shuttle program, and the fact that it's millions of miles away, it may be a very long time.

Also, what about a magnetosphere? What if it doesn't have an iron core? How about seismology?
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Ro Wong » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:29 pm

Morpheus wrote:But which nation will get there first?


Bet that all those monkeys and other critters we've sent into space are on that thing right now, waiting for us to show up.
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby DaCrum » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:30 pm

Laika the dog?! :D
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Doctress Who » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:31 pm

Planet of the Apes all over again!? Another remake!?

nooooooooooo
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Mathias » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:32 pm

It's not a remake; it's a "re-imagining."
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby Jay » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:30 am

Doctress Who wrote:I think that's very optimistic. Back in the 80's they thought we'd all be riding around in hover cars by now. Progress usually takes a long time to get anywhere.
And that's assuming there is life on that planet that can be 'contacted'. Just because there's a chance of life, doesn't mean it will be sentient to a human extent.

That's actually a misnomer.

Progress does not take a long time to get anywhere. It's progress that is inherently unpredictable, so the progress we get is rarely what we imagined it to be.

Honestly, who thought people would be walking around today with entire libraries of songs and several movies in a 1 by 2 by 1/3 inch piece of metal? Or hell, that's not even pushing it: how about the libraries of songs and movies on a tiny piece of plastic and metal that is like 1/2 by 1/2 by like 1/12 inch?

Just because sci-fi authors weren't able to divine the future doesn't mean progress doesn't happen. Economy and politics define what become what happen: not Utopian dreams and fantasy.
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Re: Scientist find possible inhabitable planet

Postby PunkyChipsAhoy » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:46 am

...... Jay do you ever tire of proving comments wrong?
A Pimp Named Jeezy Creezy: Lasting all the way up to Valentine's.

And the Pimpeth lord sat amidst his real ballin' players, the Apostles, and raisingeth his cup of Cristal as they devoured the grapes and cheese from the finest bitches in town he said

"Sleepery Dee, Sleepery Doo.
Whoever betrays me tonight, I'll mo'fuckin' cap you!"
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