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Kepler Probe Begins To Find Exoplanets In Habitable Zone (And other cool cosmology stuff)


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#1 bornagainathiest

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 03:26 PM

http://www.jpl.nasa....elease=2011-373

The first of many, I reckon.

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#2 Onyx

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 10:56 PM

Yippppeeeeee! How long before the asaris, Klingons, Vulcans, Saiyans, Krytonians, ET, Paul, Ewoks, C-3PO and Darth Vader-a-likes will be found and met? This is one of the coolest news in a long time! :D
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#3 Kaiser01

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 11:22 PM

i love the ideas behind astro biology. i think that when we make contact with aliens it will be a really bazzar experince. thats why i dont know if what SETI is doing is correct becuase of the fact we expect the aliens to behave like us, act like us, and look like us. but in reality becuase of the total isolation we will probly be so far apart we may be completly inept to communicate with one another for several generations. i mean look at how difrent life is on our own planet non-the-less across billions of light years. however i am absolutly thrilled at this and i would be happy with simple organisms but would jump with joy if we found "sentient" beings witch in my opinion is phesable if not down right predicatable at least within the goldylock zone.
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#4 SillyString

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 11:49 PM

Heard about this earlier today. Fantastic news.

i love the ideas behind astro biology. i think that when we make contact with aliens it will be a really bazzar experince. thats why i dont know if what SETI is doing is correct becuase of the fact we expect the aliens to behave like us, act like us, and look like us.


I have to agree with you here. We've barely scratched the surface of being able to communicate with other species on our own planet, much less any other.
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#5 Ouroboros

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 11:52 PM

NIIIIIIIICE!!!
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And behold, one came who in the form of a demon holding a beer, and he spake with a tongue of red. And when he spake, he said bye bye, and all listened, and watched as he smote the babbling troll with his +5 banhammer of fedupishness. And there was much rejoicing.



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#6 bronxo

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:55 AM

Very cool. I can't say life in other places appeals to me or seems likely to me, but I sure think a new world like the one we found in 1492 can be very beneficial to the human species.
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#7 stryper

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:10 AM

Ironiclly, the habitable zone for us and our ecosystem would be fatal to different lifeforms. Therefore, looking for planets that can support life is currently a very narrow search in a very limited range of what life is.

That said. I do love this project. My hope from it that by finding planets where life as we know it could exist that it will hopefully expand the minds of the general populace to see that our planet, while perfect for us, is one of many in what is a very small section of the galaxy that Kepler is looking at.
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#8 ConureDelSol

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:35 AM

I am officially geeking out!

Although I'll be dead by the time they do anything productive with this information I bet.
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#9 Thought2Much

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 11:52 AM

I do think that discoveries like this are amazingly cool. However, as we study the universe and finds like this are reported, I get a little sad.

At some point for me, it really began to sink in just how big the universe is. I began to really understand that not only is the entire universe big, but that even the nearest stars will be unreachable by humans, not just in the near future, but probably forever.

In other words, there will never be galactic empires or federations. There will never be interstellar trade routes or pirates. There will be no grand cruise liners plying the space lanes carrying tourists to see the wonders of the galaxy. The laws of physics that help keep the universe together and determine how it behaves simply don't allow for rapid communication between the stars, or for traveling to them within a human lifespan. There will be no hyperdrive, hyperspace, or warp drive, there will be no travel by wormholes or any other fantastical means of circumventing the hard reality of our physical world. This means that there most likely will never be a face-to-face first contact between humans and another species. At best, our machines may meet their machines in some distant future millennium somewhere out in the darkness, and then they will both report their findings back to civilizations that have long since either died out or have changed beyond all recognition.

Maybe someday we will be able to detect that another world has life by teasing apart the spectral signature of its atmosphere. We may even receive a signal of some sort from another race seeking to find out whether it is alone in the universe, sent thousands of years ago. But we will never step foot on their world ourselves.

Sometimes, it is difficult to look up into the night sky and know that we, in the flesh, will never be out there.

Edited by Trapped, 06 December 2011 - 09:01 PM.

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:39 PM

Can't wait till we find more.

Wonder if Titan developes life, millions or even billions of years from now, when our sun gets closer and puts it in the habitable zone, if we'll end up declaring that little world, or even Europa, a natural preserve?
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#11 Thought2Much

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:51 PM

Can't wait till we find more.

Wonder if Titan developes life, millions or even billions of years from now, when our sun gets closer and puts it in the habitable zone, if we'll end up declaring that little world, or even Europa, a natural preserve?

Some scientists are trying to figure out if there might be life under the surface of Titan already. It's possible there's a layer of liquid (possibly water) under the icy crust.

I'd have to track down someone that knows the math, but I think Titan is too far away from the sun to become more habitable even when the sun is in its red giant phase. If anything, the increase in temperature would boil off the supercold gases there, and make it less habitable to the lifeforms that might possibly be under the surface, but that's just a wild ass guess. The red giant phase for the sun will also be relatively short, on the order of millions of years as opposed to billions of years, so that doesn't give life an awful lot of time to get going, and then once the sun shrinks into a white dwarf, that boost in energy will be gone.
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#12 HereticZero

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 04:21 PM

The news is exciting! Some day we may find out if life exists beyond our own world.
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#13 Legion

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 08:51 PM

I do think that discoveries like this are amazingly cool. However, as we study the universe and finds like this are reported, I get a little sad.

Trapped I thought this post of yours was very expressive so I had to give you a +1, but I think there's a good chance you're wrong about the impossibility of interstellar travel. At this point in time we like to think that we have a good understanding of space-time and all that Jazz. But I suspect that we are in for a few more revolutions in physics, and who knows what these future discoveries may bring?
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#14 Thought2Much

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 09:03 PM


I do think that discoveries like this are amazingly cool. However, as we study the universe and finds like this are reported, I get a little sad.

Trapped I thought this post of yours was very expressive so I had to give you a +1, but I think there's a good chance you're wrong about the impossibility of interstellar travel. At this point in time we like to think that we have a good understanding of space-time and all that Jazz. But I suspect that we are in for a few more revolutions in physics, and who knows what these future discoveries may bring?

Thanks, Legion.

I hope I'm wrong. Hopefully as we learn more about physics and the universe we can finally look back at the light barrier the same way we look back at the sound barrier. For now, though, there isn't even a hint that this is possible, because if it were, then there would be others visiting us already and proving that it can be done.

But again, I hope I'm wrong.
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#15 ConureDelSol

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 08:16 AM

Can't wait till we find more.

Wonder if Titan developes life, millions or even billions of years from now, when our sun gets closer and puts it in the habitable zone, if we'll end up declaring that little world, or even Europa, a natural preserve?


+1 for Europa! I was extremely disappointed when they abandoned the project to send a probe to Europa to see if there's a subsurface ocean... It's officially my favorite moon.
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#16 bornagainathiest

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 10:50 AM

Yep!

This sure is great news.

But would you guys like to try out something really cool that'll give you a personal connection to these planets?

If yes, try this.

Go outside at night and look up to this area of sky. (Sorry, these are summer constellations, so you'll have to wait.)


The Kepler probe is looking for exoplanets ONLY within a very small are of the sky, a patch you can cover with your outstretched hand, almost midway between Deneb and Vega.

Posted Image
Posted Image


The painting below shows the direction Kepler's looking in, along the Orion Spur and into the Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way.

Posted Image

So, when you cover that patch of sky with your hand, you've got 2,326 exoplanet candidates under there. Posted Image
Of these, approximately 200 are Earth-sized.

The numbers just keep on stacking up, too!

Kepler's search area covers just a fraction of 1% of the Galactic Habitable Zone (GHZ), and it can only find planets that are transiting (crossing in front of) their host stars. The chances of those stars, those planets and Kepler's telescope lining up aren't high. This means that for every transiting planet we do see, there could be dozens more that we don't.

Here's some helpful links.

http://en.wikipedia...._Habitable_Zone
http://upload.wikime...l-annotated.jpg


Thanks,

BAA.
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#17 stryper

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 10:58 AM



I hope I'm wrong. Hopefully as we learn more about physics and the universe we can finally look back at the light barrier the same way we look back at the sound barrier. For now, though, there isn't even a hint that this is possible, because if it were, then there would be others visiting us already and proving that it can be done.

But again, I hope I'm wrong.



There could be other reasons why no one visits use. We are essentially in hicksville in intersteller terms. To come out to where we are is like traveling from the Fertile Crescent to Pitcairn Island in the middle of the south Pacific.

First you'd have to have the technology.
Second, even if you did there is probably little here that can't more easily be obtained from sources closer to your home system.
Third, we are not a space faring race. So we would have little to offer one who was.

So really it would have to an intrepid explorer who would want to visit us to begin with.

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#18 Thought2Much

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:52 PM




I hope I'm wrong. Hopefully as we learn more about physics and the universe we can finally look back at the light barrier the same way we look back at the sound barrier. For now, though, there isn't even a hint that this is possible, because if it were, then there would be others visiting us already and proving that it can be done.

But again, I hope I'm wrong.



There could be other reasons why no one visits use. We are essentially in hicksville in intersteller terms. To come out to where we are is like traveling from the Fertile Crescent to Pitcairn Island in the middle of the south Pacific.

First you'd have to have the technology.
Second, even if you did there is probably little here that can't more easily be obtained from sources closer to your home system.
Third, we are not a space faring race. So we would have little to offer one who was.

So really it would have to an intrepid explorer who would want to visit us to begin with.

This is all true. I think it's possible that interstellar travel is difficult even for an advanced species, or that there aren't any sufficiently advanced species that have existed long enough to travel to us yet.

Regarding the second option, it's worth noting that evolution doesn't necessarily prefer to select for intelligence as a survival trait. Arguably the most successful group of macroscopic animals on earth is insects, and other animals find all kinds of ways to be successful without needing to become intelligent; some get faster, some get larger, some change what they eat, etc. This becomes especially important to think about when you realize that we're only one of a few species that has used tools to change our environment, and most of these have only existed in the last few million years (some species of apes, such as neanderthals and others used tools a lot like we did; if there is any evidence of some kind of dinosaur civilization, we have yet to find it). So it's possible that many, many planets might have life, and even advanced plant and animal life, yet never evolve something that is not only intelligent, but also has the required mode of thinking to want to build things, be sociable enough to solve problems through cooperation, and be adaptable to survive in their particular environment. That takes a pretty peculiar and particular mix of traits to work, and it is something that really does make us unique on earth. It's possible that something similar could happen elsewhere, but it looks like it's far from being a given that a planet with a biosphere will also develop a technological civilization.

It's also possible that some advanced species (or their automated probes, which is far more likely) visited earth tens of millions of years ago, cataloged us as "mostly harmless," and left. If they weren't aware that a technological civilization would spring up here at some point, they might not have had any reason to follow up. However, I would think that any planet with a thriving biosphere like ours would have to be interesting to another species, even if there were a lot of them out there. Consider that there are people that study nothing but ants their entire lives; we know about plenty about them already, and we've found tons of species of them, yet any myrmecologist would spring at the chance to study a newly discovered species of ant. I don't see why aliens wouldn't see our planet the same way.

Edited by Trapped, 09 December 2011 - 01:56 PM.

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#19 Legion

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:57 PM

There is an abundance of life in the universe. It's just a matter of time before we see it and are changed.
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#20 HappyChef

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 02:14 PM

We can't even evolve beyond genocide of our own species,so would an advanced E.T. species willingly interact with such a violent and cruel organism.

We have a lot of growing up to do before we can hope for an interaction that will be obvious to us. Like the story of Japedo on the floor "I'm teaching the alphabet to the ants" Can ants appreciate/interpret the Hubble or the CERN supercollider,much less a flash card?
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