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Space Science

11 New Multi-Planet Star Systems Discovered 109

astroengine writes "The number of known multi-planetary star systems has just tripled. What's more, the Kepler space telescope science team has just announced that they have doubled the number of confirmed exoplanetary sightings made by the observatory. Some of the newly discovered worlds are only 1.5 times the size of Earth, while others are bigger than Jupiter. Fifteen exoplanets are between Earth and Neptune in size, but further observations will be needed to determine if any have a rocky surface like Earth, or a gaseous consistency like Neptune."
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11 New Multi-Planet Star Systems Discovered

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  • by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:06PM (#38834569)

    ... one of the following appears to be at least probable:

    1. There really is something weird about our dual-planet system (tides, etc) that makes life truly rare.

    2. It really is impossible to go FTL, meaning we're stuck in our system, and had probably stop treating it more like a sewer than not. (Also: 50 generations to Motie-hood!)

    3. Intelligent life has a propensity to kill itself off.

    Doesn't look so good for us.

  • by ModernGeek ( 601932 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:14PM (#38834631)
    I'd consider the fourth option, that we've only had human history for 6,000 years, good records for less than probably 2,000, and that we're in the boondocks. If we had been visited, the chance is that there just isn't evidence of it, and that we'll either have to wait to be visited again, hope that other civilizations see our radio transmissions and see it as worthwhile to come here, or go out there on our own and see what's out there. The problem is that our technology is young, we are young, and there really isn't anything that interesting about us.
  • by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:36PM (#38834779)

    Maybe they took a look at how we treat the rest of the planet's people.

    We don't help the thousands of people dying of thirst in Africa. Unemployed drug addicts are put in prison instead of rehab. We'll dump our waste where our kids will find it. We use slave labour to make our toys.

    Then they decided that our overall planetary mores are to not help, and they are respecting the wishes of our species.

    Or maybe we're the equivalent of goldfish, except not as cute and we can't be housebroken.

  • by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:44PM (#38834843)

    If there IS intelligent life out there, I have serious doubts that they consider us being under the same umbrella as them

    Actually, that's my least favorite Star Trek cliche - the benevolent, highly-evolved, omnipotent alien race that sees humans as mere children, either unworthy of their time, or in need of friendly guidance (and hectoring lectures about killing each other). I would say exactly the opposite is more likely to be true: any alien species aggressive and inventive enough to explore space is guaranteed to have endured warfare and ecological destruction in recent memory. Species that lose their aggression will stay at home smoking pot, eating takeout, and watching cartoons until they all die of boredom and/or congestive heart failure. That doesn't mean that they'll find our behavior at all intelligible; if a space-faring race was highly collectivist (either by evolution or by engineering), they might find our individuality and the violence that it often leads to incomprehensible. But I doubt they'll have managed to avoid strip mining, fossil fuels, or nuclear fission in the course of their technological development, and they'll probably engage in practices that we would find abhorrent, like compulsory euthanasia.

    That doesn't necessarily mean that they'll advertise their presence to us - there are a number of good reasons to avoid doing so, which would apply even if we were a pacifistic agrarian species. But I absolutely think they would study us, because they won't even be exploring interstellar space unless they were either exceptionally curious, or exceptionally desperate. I personally find it more likely that intelligent life rarely makes it out of their home solar system in person - although I'd wager that there are a few scattered derelicts full of cryogenically frozen alien colonists drifting for centuries.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson