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Space Science

Potential 'Avatar' Gas Giant Exoplanet Discovered 142

Luminary Crush writes "A gas giant of approximately 1.5 Mj (Jupiter Mass) was discovered on October 22nd around the binary star system HD 176051B. It's not known with certainty which component of the binary system the planet is in orbit around at this point as both stars in HD 176051B are relatively Sol-sized (1.07 and .71 solar masses). Named 176051B b, this new exoplanet orbits within the star system's habitable zone, and if mapped onto our solar system with relative distance from our Sun it would place the large planet between Earth and Mars. While it's unlikely that such a gas giant could host life as we know it (though it's hypothesized), the location of the big planet opens up the intriguing idea of the realization of some of science fiction's famously habitable moons, Pandora and Endor. Look no further than our own solar system to see moons with the potential ingredients for life — just add heat."
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Potential 'Avatar' Gas Giant Exoplanet Discovered

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  • by The_mad_linguist ( 1019680 ) on Monday October 25, 2010 @05:27AM (#34009884)

    So, it's a much farther distance (50 ly), has a binary system (instead of a triple system), and the planet is bigger than Jupiter (instead of smaller).

    How is this related to Polyphemus from Avatar more, than, say, Bespin? ... come to think of it, both Avatar and this discovery are both overhyped. Objection withdrawn.

  • Re:Big Just (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:09AM (#34010318) Homepage

    ...and yet we sort of have just such a thing in our system - a moon hot to the point of being, by far, the most volcanically active body in the system.

    All this ignoring how many extrasolar hot Jupiters and hot Neptunes we're discovering - you people really never heard about them, about planetary migration in general?

  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Monday October 25, 2010 @09:02AM (#34010902) Homepage Journal

    Yes, but the "nice 1g" (wow, artificial gravity problem solved!) gives us about 1 light year/year^2 acceleration. That is, gain/loss of 1c per year.

    About 4 years to Proxima Centauri. 50 light years in mere 7 "subjective" years. 40 years of crew life would give 800 light years of travel distance. About 1000 parsecs in a lifetime.

    Sure, we would still need engines that can provide sustained 1g. We're nowhere near that. We have rocket monstrosities that are barely survivable at 8g and more for minutes a time, and tiny farts of ~1N that can work for many years a time. Nothing in between. I believe a pure sustained fusion rocket might be capable of reaching Centauri stars, but that's still a long way away.

  • by Gotung ( 571984 ) on Monday October 25, 2010 @11:17AM (#34012640)
    The galaxy is really, really, really big. There are lot's and lot's of stars. Really. There are a whole slew of them.

    Finding as much interesting stuff as we possibly can now, will help tremendously when we finally have the technology to send probes in a reasonable time.

    And developing new techniques for searching for interesting stuff is important as well.

    If we listened to you, in 100 years or so when we can send something somewhere, we would just have to cross out fingers, close our eyes, and point somewhere in the sky when picking where to go.
  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Monday October 25, 2010 @11:34AM (#34012884) Homepage

    What good does it do to know that habitable exoplanets are out there? Can we send people there? And even if we did ... (rest of depressing post)

    Tiger got to hunt
    Bird got to fly
    Man got to sit and wonder - why, why, why?

    Tiger got to sleep
    Bird got to land
    Man got to tell himself - he understand.

    (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)

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