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Space Earth

Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered 239

astroengine (1577233) writes "About 500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus lives a star, which, though smaller and redder than the sun, has a planet that may look awfully familiar. With a diameter just 10 percent bigger than Earth's, the newly found world is the first of its size found basking in the benign temperature region around a parent star where water, if it exists, could pool in liquid form (abstract). Scientists on the hunt for Earth's twin are focused on worlds that could support liquid surface water, which may be necessary to brew the chemistry of life. "Kepler-186f is significant because it is the first exoplanet that is the same temperature and the same size (well, ALMOST!) as the Earth," David Charbonneau, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, wrote in an email to Discovery News. "Previously, the exoplanet most like Earth was Kepler-62f, but Kepler-186f is significantly smaller. Now we can point to a star and say, 'There lies an Earth-like planet.'""
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Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

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  • by wiggles ( 30088 ) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @03:08PM (#46781773)

    Because the future of humanity depends on getting off of this rock eventually.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @03:24PM (#46781945)

    If they are advanced enough to travel here then they've had their own version of the Kepler telescope for 500 years and have known at the minimum that Earth has liquid water, oxygen, and chlorophyll (I think that can be picked up used spectroscopy). Basically anyone advanced civilization nearby probably has known about Earth as a life-bearning world long before humans came along.

    Just a cool thought to counter the idea that we're hidden until someone detects radio.

  • by Golddess ( 1361003 ) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @03:49PM (#46782211)
    That is assuming that the second/third wave colonists are even capable of stopping along the way to pick up the first wave. And that they are capable of pinpointing the first wave's exact location.
  • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @04:09PM (#46782389)

    Not at all. Einstein says nothing about FTL, accept that it's impossible to accelerate across the lightspeed barrier in normal space. There are however numerous ways in which we could conceivably "cheat" even without postulating any fundamentally new physics - from wormholes to Alcubierre warp drives. Of course if Einstein's theories are correct then any such cheating mechanism would inherently double as a time machine with rather serious implications to our concept of causality, but by this point we should all have accepted than "intuitive understanding by humans" is *not* a consideration for the laws of physics.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein