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New Telescope Hunts for Earth Sized Planets 104

TENxOXR writes "The French-led Corot mission has taken off from Kazakhstan on a quest to find planets outside our Solar System. The space telescope will monitor about 120,000 stars for tiny dips in brightness that result from planets passing across their faces. The multinational mission will also study the stars directly to uncover more about their interior behavior."
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New Telescope Hunts for Earth-Sized Planets

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  • Nice surprise! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @02:16PM (#17379010) Journal
    I wasn't aware of this mission at all, and was just sitting here waiting for the James Webb Telescope, the Terrestrial Planet Finder observatories, or the Kepler mission.
    Btw, of those, NASA's Kepler telescope is the earliest from the space agency, scheduled for launch in October 2008.
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @02:30PM (#17379172)
    When it comes to space launches, no nation beats Russia on cost, reliability and efficiency. One thing still bothers me...why haven't the US or EU nations been successful on this front? There are huge sums of money to be made but the Russians still beat us (the USA) in this game. Why?
  • Far as I know, the amount of water on the surface of the Earth is vital to life as we know it. The water keeps the temperature relatively even across the entire globe. This is especially important because it keeps the day side cool and the night side warm.

    So say we find Earth sized planets? What's the next step? See how warm they are? If they are a certain temperature (where water is a liquid, a small temperature range in the grand scheme of things) then look a little closer?

  • Re:A time-saving tip (Score:4, Interesting)

    by E++99 ( 880734 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @02:51PM (#17379372) Homepage
    I wouldn't be too interested in having them wasting efforts in finding those as they'll probably have trouble holding an atmosphere to harbor life anyway.

    This kind of reasoning is ubiquitous, but it always bothers me. We only know of one kind of life (terrestrial life), but even that kind of life doesn't require a gaseous atmosphere. Only certain terrestrial species require an atmosphere. Even those species, such as mammals, reptiles, and birds, only require an atmosphere after birth, and get along just fine without it up until then. So on the one hand, assuming that all life is very similar to terrestrial life, I find nothing to suggest that an atmosphere is vital. But on the other hand, seeing that we only have knowledge of terrestrial life, extrapolating at all from that knowledge to the supposed "requirements for life" is not reasonable.
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @03:01PM (#17379526) Journal
    Not sure if we can directly detect water signatures, but scientists can at least estimate the range from their stars, the type of star, and basic atmospheric composition. I guess these could be enough to make an educated guess of their temperature at least.

    Here's the news of the first atmospheric measurement by Hubble in 2001, and then keep in mind it's not even specially equipped for these things like these "next gen missions": http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/ 2001/38 [hubblesite.org]
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @03:43PM (#17380080)

    Sure, the Americans and Europeans have better technology but it isn't being used.

    Sure? So you think that the Americans and Europeans have better tech? I personally, I'm not sure. What I know is that we Americans kind-of blow our own trumpets, which is sad. The Russians on the other hand, just do their thing. Remember when they were the ONLY link to the ISS? They did not blow their trumpets one bit. If it were the Americans it would be a different story.

    They still have the biggest and heaviest airplane ever developed - even bigger than the A380, and this was almost 2 decades ago! . No body mentions this! In fact, I thought the Europeans were gonna borrow the design of the A380 from them. Apparently we only seem to thrive at complexity.

    The rockets that are flying are still 60's tech, mostly military derivations at at that.

    Ahh, so what has our 21st century tech achieved? Nothing! It appears to be a beacon of corruption, nepotism and bigotry. You probably would not even appreciate the fact that the ISS would be a failure if the Russians were not involved.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes