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Space Earth NASA Science

Kepler Confirms Exoplanet Inside Star's Habitable Zone 257

Posted by Soulskill
from the book-your-vacation-early dept.
astroengine writes "Plenty of 'candidate' exoplanets exist, but for the first time, Kepler has confirmed the existence of an exoplanet orbiting its Sun-like star right in the middle of its 'habitable zone.' Kepler-22b is 2.4 times the radius of Earth and orbits its star every 290 days. 'This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth's twin,' said Douglas Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. 'Kepler's results continue to demonstrate the importance of NASA's science missions, which aim to answer some of the biggest questions about our place in the universe.'"
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Kepler Confirms Exoplanet Inside Star's Habitable Zone

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  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:02PM (#38269398) Homepage Journal
    Bemoan our lack of FTL transit and paw desperately at the sky, while our sad little mudball continues to shout itself to pieces over meaningless displays of tribalistic self-importance, treats the future as its greatest enemy, and continues to believe that such is the best course of action.
  • Re:Take that... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:11PM (#38269518)
    Sure, because the science deniers are swayed by evidence.
  • Re:Take that... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adonoman (624929) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:13PM (#38269556)
    This is a terrible example of science working, if you're trying to portray science as useful. All this is, is a set of data, that according to our current scientific theories shows a very high probability that there exists a planet 600 light years away that stands a good chance of having liquid water.

    When we land there and find that there is indeed such a planet, that's when we say: "Take that oh deniers of the science. It works bitches,"

    If you're trying to show that science works, stick with examples where science has made seemingly outlandish predictions that later turned out to be true. Like the relativistic effects that need to be dealt with for GPS to work. Or go with the daily grind of science that is pumping out useful technologies in the form of airplanes, computers, plastics, and medicine.

  • by tgd (2822) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:21PM (#38269692)

    Agreed. If it's the same density then 2.4x radius would be 14x the mass. I'm trying to picture a planet with intelligent pancake beings.

    Or they'd have a stronger physiology. Or live in the water. Or perhaps a thousand other options we haven't thought of.

  • by malilo (799198) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:25PM (#38269762)
    Given the billion-year timescales to evolution, I'd say the likelihood of such synchronicity is exceedingly small. Unless they've known about our planet for millions of years and have come to the conclusion that no possibility exists for technology allowing a visit.
  • Re:Take that... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geoffrobinson (109879) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:27PM (#38269808) Homepage

    I seem to have missed all those people out there who think science doesn't work.

    I know people skeptical of man-made global warming. I know of many others that aren't hard-core Darwinists (to various extents; not all Young Earth Creationists).

    I know of absolutely no one who denies all of science as a discipline of knowledge. Definitely as a discipline which claims total knowledge, but not as a valid path of knowledge of the natural world.

    I guess that's a long way around the barn to say "you are arguing with a straw man."

  • by c6gunner (950153) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:33PM (#38269974)

    Bemoan our lack of FTL transit and paw desperately at the sky, while our sad little mudball continues to shout itself to pieces over meaningless displays of tribalistic self-importance, treats the future as its greatest enemy, and continues to believe that such is the best course of action.

    You know the difference between a pessimist and an optimist?

    Pessimists suck :(

  • by dissy (172727) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:38PM (#38270100)

    I donno what a simbad is, a friend of mine went around calling it "sinbad" like the sailor for a while. Which is probably a cooler name, at least in the US.

    According to the documentation for the app that the web interface talks with:

    SIMBAD is the acronym for:
    Set of
    I dentifications,
    M easurements and
    B ibliography for
    A stronomical
    D ata

  • Re:Take that... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c6gunner (950153) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:51PM (#38270400)

    The issue is that those who are "skeptical" of "man-made global warming" (with a few rare exceptions), and those who "aren't hard-core Darwinists" (a euphemism for "intelligent design", I take it?) by necessity have to reject science as a methodology in order to maintain their beliefs. They accept "science" as the name for a field which gets them useful toys, while completely rejecting the way in which it functions.

    Also, the word "Darwinist" is asinine. It's a perfect illustration of the difference between people who take things on faith, and those who try to maintain a scientific approach to life in general. For the former, an idea is necessarily tied to the person who proposed it, and its validity hinges entirely on the character and reputation of that person. For the latter, the individual is irrelevant. Calling someone a "Darwinist" is as absurd as calling them "Newtonist", "Einsteinist", "Maxwellist", or "Saganist". It's a word which has been manufactured by theists for the sole purpose of framing the debate in a way with which they're comfortable; as the weighing of the opinions of prominent figures, rather than an honest, objective analysis of the data.

  • Re:Take that... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geoffrobinson (109879) on Monday December 05, 2011 @04:23PM (#38270970) Homepage

    "by necessity have to reject science as a methodology"

    Not at all. They just disagree with certain conclusions or in the case of man-made global warming think the case is inadequate so far.

    That's not disagreeing with science as a methodology. Although evolution as a historical science is a hell of a lot different than physics, chemistry, or straightforward biology in the methodology department. That's not a fault. That just has to do with dealing with the past and not being able to run experiments.

  • Re:Take that... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bertok (226922) on Monday December 05, 2011 @05:14PM (#38271772)

    I disagree in the instance of androgenic global warming. It's just that science doesn't have all the data on that yet, nor do we know the models are correct. As to the rest, well, pretty much yeah.

    I disagree in the instance of evolution. It's just that science doesn't have all the data on that yet, and I find it hard to believe that I'm related to monkeys. As to the rest, well, pretty much yeah.

    I disagree in the instance of vaccinations. It's just that science doesn't have all the data on that yet, and I find it hard to believe that some lab geek knows what's best for my kids. As to the rest, well, pretty much yeah.

    Do you see a pattern emerging?

  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday December 05, 2011 @06:15PM (#38272758)

    ROFL. Yeah, when we land there. It's ONLY 600 light years after all.

    I get it, I really do. We've only barely been to our own moon. We can't even get to mars. If we said we were going to send a probe you'd have every right to laugh, let alone a manned mission.

    But hear me out first.

    Mankind has only been engaged in industry for a couple of hundred years. And that was enough to get us to the moon. And humanity has no signs of ending anytime soon. What will we be capable of in another thousand years? Ten thousand? A million? Because if we don't do anything stupid we have that time. Our sun has a few billion years left in it.

    It's important to look for extrasolar planets. It is important to see if they can maintain human life.

    Reason being, that's the first step. We won't ever try to leave this solar system if we have no expectations to be able to survive out there. Now we are finding out that there are planets out there that might be able to support us. Now we have a reason to want to try to reach them. Yes, 600 light years is an uncrossable barrier to us. Today. But if you told the Wright brothers that we'd be walking on the moon in 70 years they would have told you you're nuts. They wouldn't have believed it. Another uncrossable barrier. To them. Not to us.

    Finding these planets is exciting. It says that there is a reason to try to go. It kindles a desire to go see them. And given a million years of human progress, the science *will* come. Maybe it won't be as sexy as warp ships. Maybe it'll just be colony ships moving at a fraction of light speed and take a thousand years to get there. But one way or another, we will get there.

    We will most likely visit this planet. Someday.

  • Re:Take that... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by budgenator (254554) on Monday December 05, 2011 @08:06PM (#38274286) Journal

    So do I, it would be a real bummer to find the Good Twin(tm) out there.

  • Re:Take that... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScentCone (795499) on Monday December 05, 2011 @11:29PM (#38275946)

    Do you see a pattern emerging?

    A see a fallacious pattern, in the service of rhetoric, sure. But you know perfectly well you're ignoring the key part of this. It's not about "denying climate change." It's about raising an eyebrow when someone like Al Gore, who's positioned himself and his friends to make millions of dollars off of their hysterical characterizations of the situation, insist that human activity is the (and the only) driver of climate change. And that putting US tax dollars into specific funds, projects, and foreign investment groups - in which he is invariably invested - will solve the problem.

    I will gladly deny his shrill, breathless assertions and his oily pitches for pumping money through his world-saving carbon credit cash cow operations as an accurate representation and treatment of the situation. And there are millions of people who echo his lines, more or less word for word, or who have their own vested interests in similar distortions.

  • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @02:19AM (#38276824)

    "If you told the Wright brothers that we'd be walking on the moon in 70 years they would have told you you're nuts. They wouldn't have believed it."

    But if you told the Apollo astronauts that 40 years later we wouldn't be able to go back to the moon or if you told the Mercury astronauts that 50 years later the US would no longer be able to put a man in orbit, they would also think you were nuts.

    Progress only happens because we do things, not just because time passes.

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