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Space Science

Multiple Asteroid Belts Found Orbiting Nearby Star 135

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-word-on-asteroid-suspenders dept.
Kligat writes "Scientists have found two asteroid belts around the star Epsilon Eridani, the ninth closest star to our solar system. Epsilon Eridani also possesses an icy outer ring similar in composition to our Kuiper Belt, but with 100 times more material, and a Jovian mass planet near the edge of the innermost belt. Researchers believe that two other planets must orbit the 850 million year old star near the other two belts. Terrestrial planets are possible, but not yet indicated."
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Multiple Asteroid Belts Found Orbiting Nearby Star

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  • Yes, it would be a good candidate for a probe, especially since we could learn more about the early solar system.

    But as for setting up a colony, that seems doubtful. The star is only 850 million years old, it doesn't seem likely that any rocky planets in orbit would be stable enough yet to support life (it would be a lot easier to set up camp on a planet teaming with at least primitive life, assuming an ecosystem compatible with life from Earth). Not to mention the increased likelihood of cometary impacts on planets in the inner system (a younger star system wouldn't have cleared out all the debris from the initial formation yet).

  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @09:33PM (#25550385)

    In a hundred or so years when we have the technology to get there. Might even be the ideal place for a colony someday.

    Look, I agree that it's a nice place to go visit, but if you looked into things, you would find that it is 10.5 Light Years Away [solstation.com] from earth it would take close to an eternity to get there with current rocket technology [northwestern.edu] and certainly what is being developed. And not to rain on the parade again, but before anyone goes touting ION ENGINES will get us there, no, they really won't. You see Ion Engines [northwestern.edu] need large amounts of power to run. Really large amounts that are generally limited to the amount of juice that can be generated by huge solar panels. Short of putting a nuclear reactor on this ship to get us there, we simply won't have enough sunlight to make the engine run once is starts to fade away from the centerish part of our solar system.

    In short, I would love to agree, but I really think that you would need to change the "hundred or so" part of your post to be "many hundreds or so".

    That's assuming we can deal with the massive solar winds [wikipedia.org] that are 30 times as powerful as the ones in our system. Did I forget that part?

  • by Markvs (17298) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:40AM (#25557119) Journal
    While it is low density, it's also full of smaller bodies which have questionable movement characteristics. Quite simply, we cannot be sure at this time if it will be an issue or not. Being in a ship going (say) .01c and getting bombarded by a dozen basketball sized objects per hour for days would be an issue!

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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