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Space

Carbon Dioxide and Water Found On Exoplanet 151

Posted by timothy
from the don't-drink-the-water-and-don't-breathe-the-air dept.
Off the Rails writes "The BBC reports that evidence has been found for both water vapour and carbon dioxide on a planet 63 light years away. The planet is a 'hot Jupiter' with a surface temperature of 1173K and an orbital period of just 53 hours. The gases were found spectroscopically once its orbit had been deduced from observation. NASA hailed the news as proof that Kepler will be able to do its job of finding planets capable of supporting life." Wikipedia also has an entry on the planet, dubbed HD 189733b.
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Carbon Dioxide and Water Found On Exoplanet

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  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @04:25PM (#26066139) Journal

    NASA hailed the news as proof that Kepler will be able to do its job of finding planets capable of supporting life.

    So the announcement about the discovery of a planet not capable of supporting life... is proof that Hubble's replacement will be able to find planets that will support life?

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @04:38PM (#26066335) Journal

    Yeah.... that was my thought too. If you start throwing ideas out there about "new life forms that would thrive in that temperature range" -- why not postulate about ones that don't require an atmosphere or "breathing" at all? Seems just as possible to me.

  • Um No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @04:42PM (#26066399)

    "NASA hailed the news as proof that Kepler will be able to do its job of finding planets capable of supporting life."

    Seeing as it can only seem to spot super massive planets the size of Jupiter or larger, this will likely not help one whit.

    Is it a good first step? Sure.

    So there is water vapor and CO2? Big deal. It is also over 1000 degrees K, a bit hot no? It is also not solid, sometimes a problem. It is also frickin huge, so unless you want to transform yourself into a diamond due to being crushed by unbelievable pressures, you may want to look else where.

    To my understanding (which may be limited) this stuff is figured out by observing the "wobble" of light from a star. This is apparently caused by small gravitational effects caused by planetary bodies. How they get composition I am not entirely sure. However it seems that unless your planetary body is of a significant mass, the "wobble" isn't as easily seen. Which is why we are getting news about a super massive hot Jupiter being proof that a technology will fulfill its roll in finding planets suitable for life.

    Perhaps they mean to do it by subtraction. Simply identify all those that are unsuitable, subtract that from the total, and what you are left are bountiful earth like paradises with green amazon women.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Entropy98 (1340659) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @04:43PM (#26066429) Homepage

    How do you know this planet isn't teaming with life?
    --
      IP net address Finding [ipfinding.com]

  • by Suisho (1423259) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @04:44PM (#26066437)
    "Although they are keen to stress the planet is far too hot to support life, they say the finding represents an important proof of concept, showing that it is possible to detect CO2 in the atmospheres of distant planets orbiting other stars, and that the same method could be used to look at planets which might support life."
  • by Explodicle (818405) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @04:52PM (#26066543) Homepage
    Considering the top limit for hyperthermophiles here on Earth is 250 degrees F [astrobiology.com], it's not just human life that couldn't survive there. If we're going to assume it's life unlike anything we've ever seen before, then why do you think the presence of water or CO2 will help?
  • by lateralus_1024 (583730) <mattbaha@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @05:37PM (#26067093)

    " NASA hailed the news as proof that Kepler will be able to do its job of finding planets capable of supporting life."

     
    Somebody's trying to avoid funding cuts from the new administration ;) I'm looking at you NASA.

  • by SwedishPenguin (1035756) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @07:48PM (#26068527)

    That may well be true, but that doesn't take away the negative impact SUVs have on the environment. An SUV is far heavier and emits far more greenhouse gasses than a regular car.
    Just because other things are even worse doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything about massive, unnecessary cars. Get a smaller car, use transit, get a bike, it does have an impact. If you constantly argue that anything you do has a smaller impact than other things, we'll never get anywhere.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @07:59PM (#26068621) Homepage

    Is it really not obvious what they were saying? Does it really need to be spelled out? Apparently, so here goes. They were able to identify a planet that has both water and carbon dioxide. It happens to be very hot, and thus this particular planet is unlikely to host life, however it is a proof of concept for the technique of doing spectroscopy on distant exoplanets. They are going to be fielding better telescopes in the future, which should be able to detect smaller and cooler planets that are capable of supporting life.

    Hope that makes sense!

  • by Timberwolf0122 (872207) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @10:35AM (#26075395) Journal
    Carbon Dioxide and Water + 100 tons per square inch atmospheric pressure != NO LIFE (look at the ocean floor)
    Carbon Dioxide and Water + 100 tons per square inch atmospheric pressure + 1173K = NO LIFE
  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @11:12AM (#26075937) Homepage

    I had assumed what you said was what they meant, but the summary still could have been worded better.

    Lol, yeah, of course you did, but an "I understand it, but think the summary could have been worded better" post isn't as fun as an "I'm smarter than NASA" post, is it?

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