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NASA's Kepler Discovers 11 Systems Hosting 26 Planets 89

An anonymous reader writes "NASA's Kepler mission has discovered 11 new planetary systems hosting 26 confirmed planets. These discoveries nearly double the number of verified planets and triple the number of stars known to have more than one planet that transits, or passes in front of, the star. Such systems will help astronomers better understand how planets form."
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NASA's Kepler Discovers 11 Systems Hosting 26 Planets

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  • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @08:14PM (#39463395) [] focuses on Kepler planets, and it's much more interactive than the old SETI@home

    • What is the "signal" we are looking at there? Any idea?

      • by jeff4747 ( 256583 ) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @09:00PM (#39463555)

        Any modulated RF that doesn't have a natural or human source.

        We're not going to be downloading plans, like in Contact. It's unlikely that we'll be able to decode the message, since we won't know what it's encoding.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It's unlikely that we'll be able to decode the message, since we won't know what it's encoding.

          That shouldn't be a problem, as long as the aliens use XML.

        • It would probably turn out to be a rerun of "I Love Lucy" anyway.
        • by Tom ( 822 )

          Encoding isn't the issue. Language and script is.

          If the message is encoded digitally, good luck figuring it out. First you need to find out how many bits encode one symbol, and that's already assuming that number is constant. That's the encoding part. But even if you get the symbols, how do you attribute meaning? Even lost human languages are hopeless unless you have a Rosetta's Stone or some other translation that gives you a starting point.

          The same holds true for math. We think that math transports univer

          • by Tom ( 822 )

            stupid error, it would of course not be 1+1=2 but 1+2=3 etc.

            Unless, of course, their language encoded 1 different depending on circumstances. Like some human languages that use capital letters at the start of a sentence and small letters inside the sentence. And many of those letter are not just larger versions of each other (like s and S), but pretty different (like a and A).

          • Language and script are just additional encoding schemes.

            "Table" has no inherent meaning. Instead, it's our encoding for the object with a flat top and four legs.

            Heck, "1" has no inherent meaning. We just have a common understanding of what that symbol encodes.

            • by Tom ( 822 )

              They are by far not the same.

              Language includes a change in the levels of abstraction, encoding does not.

              I had a lot more written here, but then I realized it all logically follows from this one point. You might need to have read Korzybski to understand, though. I can't explain it in a few sentences.

              • When people are speaking, yes.

                When you're talking about radio communication, "table" or "101100001000" (Table in Morse code) are encodings that then allow people to speak.

                The literal words or bits transmitted aren't language. They contain language.

        • by khallow ( 566160 )

          We're not going to be downloading plans, like in Contact.

          Unless that turns out to be what happens, of course.

          It's unlikely that we'll be able to decode the message, since we won't know what it's encoding.

          Another option here is that we can decode such a message because we do figure out what it is encoding.

          In the story about predicting the effects of room temperature superconductors, several people have warned about the great errors that always occur in predictions about the future. Those concerns apply here as well. Deciding in absence of hindsight what aspect of predictions, about human/ET intelligence contact, will occur or not, is just as error-prone

  • Hosting in space? Is that their next move?

  • by Statecraftsman ( 718862 ) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @09:01PM (#39463559) Homepage
    Does anyone know how many of the 2000+ they've found have been in the "comfort zone"?
  • Wake me up when they discover Risa.

  • by danbeck ( 5706 ) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @10:04PM (#39463769)

    The Kepler mission makes this very interesting scientific find and the only thing you people can do is trash Christians? That is your response to FINDING 11 PLANETARY SYSTEMS IN OUR GALAXY, that Christians are lolstupid?

    • by electrosoccertux ( 874415 ) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @10:17PM (#39463817)

      this is one of the reasons slashdot doesn't garner the traffic it used to. People don't care if you're pissed off at christians, in fact they find the incessant complaining quite obnoxious.

    • by tbird81 ( 946205 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @12:12AM (#39464215)

      I have to agree with what you've said, but it's not just bagging Christians that is the problem.

      Often in Slashdot there are people knowledgeable about certain branches of science. They can often provide insight that hits the sweet spot between the pop-science ad-filled blog that stories link to and the original uninterpretable specialist and dry journal article. That's what I come here for.

      Generally, the first 40 comments are people trying to make obvious jokes or trolling, followed by 20 or so dickheads like you and me complaining about the jokes. Fortunately reading the story late in the piece gets the few interesting comments up-rated - which is why I keep coming back.

      Anyway, speaking of Christians and exoplanets: Giordano Bruno [], one of the first people recorded as speculating that other stars might have planets, was executed by The Catholic Church in 1600.

      • by Tom ( 822 )

        Anyway, speaking of Christians and exoplanets: Giordano Bruno, one of the first people recorded as speculating that other stars might have planets, was executed by The Catholic Church in 1600.

        And that is why we should mock them. Because you really, really don't want us picking any of the more "adult" alternatives. Be happy that we're a bit childish and just mock them.

      • It's ignorant to equate Catholicism with Christianity. Real Christianity doesn't condone executing anyone. (cf. John 8:1-11)

        • Yeah, I'm pretty sure most of the population of, say, Texas is not Catholic, still consider themselves "Christian", and is pretty obviously in favor of executions. When you've convinced an overwhelming majority of the people who self-identify as Christians to share your beliefs, then perhaps you can make claims about "real Christianity". Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of liberal Christians who seem to be pretty good, but "Christianity" as a whole is defined by its self-identified adherents, and the over
          • Most "Catholic" politicians are adamantly pro-abortion, a subset of executions, despite a biblical commandment against it. It's easy to see how some guy who went afoul of the establishment in 1600 could get burned at the stake as a heretic and the Church take the rap. In case you wonder how many Catholic scientists did NOT get burned at the stake: []

          • Real Christianity is not defined by those who claim to be Christian. Real Christianity is defined by Christ.

            You're generalizing millions of people into one, "intolerant", "ignorant" whole. That strikes me as hypocritical.

            Not to mention your generalizing the entire state of Texas. Your arguments aren't logical at all.

    • Bah, they're only planets in metric units. In imperial units, it turns out those are only dwarf planets, and who cares about those? ;-)
    • Had to browse at -1 to understand your complaint. I am an atheist and I conccur with you. That egregerious religious bashing when the story does not mention religion at all is beyond stupid and make all taking participation in it , look stupid.

      Reserve that bashing of christianity for the next tenessee bill on "evolution is only a theory" or the next stupid things the current pope do, or the next priest diddling choir kids being shifted between parish. THis story OTOH is not about religion at all this is a
  • Come on, Kepler has been operating for years and keeps identifying a trickle of additional planets. It's not news every time the total changes.

    • by jgoemat ( 565882 )
      It's not just 26 new planets, it's 3 times the number of previously found stars with multiple planets. I think that's newsworthy.
  • Can I have one?

  • The papers were published back in January. Just look at the ArXiv links : [] from the source page [] .

    I thought these had been discussed back then.

    Back to the god-squaddie baiting!

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.