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Space Earth NASA Science

NASA Finds Evidence Of 10 New Earth-sized Planets (usatoday.com) 63

NASA said Monday it has found new evidence of 219 planets outside our Solar System. Ten of those exoplanets appear to be similar to the size of the Earth and orbit their stars in the habitable zone. From a report: The new planets' existence must still be double-checked. But Kepler's latest haul -- which includes a planet that is only slightly larger than Earth and receives the same amount of energy from its sun as Earth -- is the latest triumph for Kepler, which has spotted roughly 80 percent of the planets orbiting stars other than our sun. Because of their potential for hosting life, the 10 Earth-size planets are the most glamorous of the newly announced planets from Kepler. But those 10 were joined by an additional 209 more garden-variety planets that are unlikely to be hospitable to life because they are too gassy, too hot, too cold or otherwise unlike the only known planet to host life: Earth.

NASA Finds Evidence Of 10 New Earth-sized Planets

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  • and I bet they would be even earthier sized
    i love spacex and telsa so much

  • That makes 24 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, 2017 @04:12PM (#54649897)

    We are now up to 24 exoplanets that are very similar to earth in terms of size and ratio of distance to star : star size. With 24, we are starting to get into statistically significant numbers. Close observations should start to give us an idea of whether life is common or if we are a very rare oddity.

    Yes, life could evolve on other types of planets, but this is all we know for now and is the most sensible place to focus our efforts. So over the next few years I hope we spend a lot of effort looking at these two dozen planets to see what we can see.

    FWIW, the closes planet of this type is "only" 4 light years away. The furthest 1402 light years away (far by even Star Trek standards).

    • by Jhon ( 241832 )

      "FWIW, the closes planet of this type is "only" 4 light years away."

      https://www.space.com/32546-in... [space.com]

      Might be able to get there in 20-30 years then 4+ years to get the data back to earth. If we "magically" had 'starshot' technology ready to go (we don't). Besides, I'm unsure we have the ability to send something that could transmit meaningful data across 4+ light years.

      • I imagine laser communications would likely suffice, though 4ly means a lot of juice required. The technology probably exists, but just how much power is such a probe going to have to pack?

        • just how much power is such a probe going to have to pack?

          It doesn't have to pack any power. Using a solar sail, it could exit the solar system at about 0.05c (80 years to go 4ly) just using sunlight. But it could be boosted to a much higher speed by also aiming earth or space based lasers at the sail. If we can get it up to 0.2c, that is only 20 years to destination.

          If the probe is small, the sail can also be small. Some proposals are for a probe the size of a pack of cigarettes, or even a postage stamp.

          Stopping at the other end of the journey is a much harde

          • It doesn't have to pack any power. Using a solar sail, it could exit the solar system at about 0.05c (80 years to go 4ly) just using sunlight. But it could be boosted to a much higher speed by also aiming earth or space based lasers at the sail.

            That's not even a new idea. Back in 1974, The Mote in God's Eye [wikipedia.org] had an interstellar probe carried by a light sail come into a human-colonized system and reveal the Motie's existence to humanity. In fact, the space-based lasers that were used to launch it were so
          • by Kjella ( 173770 )

            It doesn't have to pack any power. Using a solar sail, it could exit the solar system at about 0.05c (80 years to go 4ly) just using sunlight. But it could be boosted to a much higher speed by also aiming earth or space based lasers at the sail. If we can get it up to 0.2c, that is only 20 years to destination.

            This is all space-fantasy theory just like we can send nuclear-powered Orion space ships, except we've never built anything like it. It has a greener profile but it relies on equally unlikely theories that we can build huge sails many kilometers wide of materials so thin and light they're almost like air and have them travel for years at fractions of c without hitting anything that'll rip them apart. The biggest test we've done is 14x14m and the biggest non-fantasy use is that it might be enough to deorbit

            • To a Space Nutter, fantasy is reality. They will just reply with "well we will construct it in space in our space factories".
              • .. or just "but Elon Musk!"

              • by Anonymous Coward

                Maybe you should better pick what hill you will fight for. Instead, you reply about how stupid space nutters is to a post that confuses units of energy and power, doesn't realize that lasers of many 10s of k W CW (as in not microsecond bursts) already exist and are off the shelf, and somehow fucked up the math enough to say 3GW is comparable to all the electricity produced in the world when it is more like a single large power plant. The GP seems to have gotten much more wrong than right.

                I'm not here to arg

            • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

              You be missin' some zeros. The world generates about 24,000 TWh/y currently:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

              A typical nuclear reactor puts out around 1 GW. So you need 65 of them (or one with 65 times the capacity). Not trivial, but not exactly requiring engineering breakthroughs either.

            • To send one ton to Alpha Centauri in 40 years you need a 3.6 km sail and a 65 GW laser.

              Plus a huge lens.

          • just how much power is such a probe going to have to pack?

            It doesn't have to pack any power...

            Of course it does. What's the point in sending a probe that can't report back with its findings?

            • Of course it does. What's the point in sending a probe that can't report back with its findings?

              It is going to another star system, where there will be ... a star. So it can use solar power during departure, sleep during the 20 year transit, and then use star power at the destination.

          • If the probe is small, the sail can also be small. Some proposals are for a probe the size of a pack of cigarettes, or even a postage stamp.

            How many useful instruments, including a transmitter capable of reaching us, can you pack in a postage stamp ? And how are you going to do a close flyby of the earth-like planet we would be interested in ?

        • by Jhon ( 241832 )

          Never mind the juice required. How often have we built complex electronics that can continue working without maintenance for over 30 years? In even an ideal environment (never mind space)?

          Man I hope they can work out the kinks and get transmissions back in my lifetime... Unlikely, but it would be awesome (and I'm not suffering from dementia).

          • by sconeu ( 64226 )

            Voyagers 1 and 2 say hello.

            • Voyagers 1 and 2 say hello.

              ... and that was over 35 years ago. We have learned a lot since then about rad-hardened electronics, redundant systems, memory scrubbing, etc. Building a probe that can endure a 20 year interstellar journey should not be difficult.

            • by Jhon ( 241832 )

              "Voyagers 1 and 2 say hello."

              You know, there's a great line in the book The Martian when asked about someone being on Mars without an MAV (which had the only radio backup). The answer was "One in three -- given empirical data" (this was the Arias III mission). Look at the list of solar system probes vs. those that are still working. The odds are not in our favor by a long shot.

              Also, Voyager's 1 and 2 have a big barrel of radioactive material (RTG) providing power and managed to navigate out of the solar

      • If we can hit the target with a laser (as in starshot), it could probably send that laser back (with data).
        Problem is, i doubt we can hit it with a laser.

    • "very similar to earth"

      Some of the details get hidden away here (e.g. for the purposes of click-bait).

      I read a similar article covered from a different place and it mentioned this very close size to earth is more like 30 times the size.

      I'm sure if you got off the rocket ship and weighed 30 times more you'd hardly be able to notice.

      The keystone cops experts come in and say, "well in astronomical terms it is very close". Which is exactly why astronomy has little personal significance to anyone (ot
  • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @04:28PM (#54649993) Homepage

    Here's the NASA link: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/ne... [nasa.gov]
    and here's the space.com story, with more details: https://www.space.com/37242-na... [space.com]

  • Terrible news (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FeelGood314 ( 2516288 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @04:30PM (#54650015)
    This means what ever filter has prevented someone else from already colonizing our galaxy, being something we have already avoided, is a little less likely. That means that the thing preventing us from being the first to colonize the galaxy is probably still in our future.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      We already know "the thing". It is that the cost-benefit ratio of colonizing other planets makes it absurd compared to investing that money into dealing with population growth on this one.

      The only thing the future is needed to prevent the action is the time required for wistful Star Trek fans and scamming "taxpayers go broke validating my coolness" CEO's to grow up.

      We probably haven't been colonized by other planets because other planets never quite reach that level of economic stupidity and recklessness.

    • Three questions
      1. If we knew we were going to go extinct could we send a message to other potential civilizations warning them*?
      2. Would we?
      3. Has anyone left us such a message?

      *I'm thinking probes with messages written on them and a radio active material with a billion year half life. The probes don't have to go fast, they can take a million years to reach their destinations. They just have to last a billion or so years and be discoverable.
    • Err... what?

    • This means what ever filter has prevented someone else from already colonizing our galaxy, being something we have already avoided, is a little less likely.

      Oh God, does this mean our galaxy is viewed with the Clarendon filter?!

    • The "filter" that space nutters ignore is distance and the speed of light. Basic physics. You can never reach even the closest of these planets because you cannot accelerate anything to any significant fraction of C. The fastest we ever gone is 0.0002% the speed of light. This is reality.
      • Re:Terrible news (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WrongMonkey ( 1027334 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @06:44PM (#54650959)
        Limitations based on the speed of light are only a problem for us because we have a such a limited lifespan. Its not hard to imagine a species that is biologically immortal (either naturally or technologically), for whom spending a few millennia on a interstellar journey is the equivalent to a long cruise at sea.
      • We could accelerate a craft to 5% C or more with existing fission tech. Such a craft would have to be unmanned though, the tech we have could not support nor protect humans for a century long trip
        • And it is not unreasonable to accept that we could do 0.1c with a fusion drive.

          The problem is this - space is really, really big, and even at 0.1c you're going to be in the void for generations. It seems more or less impossible there's another 'Earth' waiting out there that is tuned to supporting our particular needs, so even another watery 1G nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere'd planet in the habitable zone of a calm yellow dwarf would mean a major terraforming effort and more generations living in enclosed envir

    • What makes you think that any sufficiently advanced species would want to colonize the galaxy? The whole assumption that advancement equals expansion is itself a primitive, imperialistic mindset. Most long term successful species establish a sustainable equilibrium with their environment.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        As far as Earth is concerned, that mindset is practically built into our DNA. Consider how we live today and you'll notice that while the lyrics has changed, the song is the same.

        But either way, any intelligent species, especially one superior to ours enough to stop trying to kill itself, will realize that the star they depend on will eventually wink out - taking most anything in the solar system with it. So while they may not find a purpose to colonize the galaxy, they would certainly see the benefit to le

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        Hippie BS. If you give any species the opportunity to expand, they will. Species live in equilibrium because they do not live "sustainably." Many of their members, particularly the young, get eaten or starve to death.

        • That is an oversimplification to the point of absurdity. I guess you've never heard of K verus r reproductive strategies? If your asserted claim were true, then the most technologically advanced human societies would have the fastest population growth rate. In fact, the opposite is generally true.
  • more garden-variety planets

    Err, surely it's the Earth-like ones that are more likely to be of garden variety...

    • Was thinking the same. Note that the expression doesn't occur in the actual article, so it's probably msmanishbeau's attempt to say "common or garden", which doesn't particularly fit anyway.

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