Newly discovered planet may host human settlers

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Postby Cracked Pleasures » Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:21 am

I first thought to put it in 'current affairs' but hey, this deserves its own topic...



Space researchers have made a unique discovery using a telescope in the Chilean Andes. The scientists discovered a new exoplanet (= a planet turning around a different star than the Sun) which meets all criteria to host human life, and which shows a unique comparison to Earth.

Exoplanets are usually very hard to see, and only the biggest ones get discovered usually. Just over 200 exoplanets have been discovered so far, but this is the first one showing such a comparison to our own planet. The planet turns around a star much smaller and colder than the Sun, but the planet itself is about 1.5x as big as Earth. The planet also has its own moon. The planet has a temperature of 0-40 degrees Celsius, and is made of similar material and landmass as Earth. Most important (as it is essential to have a chance to host forms of life) it is perfectly capable of having oceans and lakes. The planet is approx 20 light years away from our planet and thus within 'reasonable' reach.

The new planet is already called a revolutionary discovery by space specialists. Not only do they expect NASA to do extensive research on the planet to see if it is realistic to host human life on the planet in the future, and not only it will stir up debates about forms of life (intelligent or non-intelligent) in space, the planet is probably just a top of a big iceberg. One of the scientists interviewed stated that there are a countless number of stars in space and that it is unthinkable that there aren't at least hundreds of planets. This means that very likely we will soon discover more planets that may be capable of hosting human settlers.

Without a doubt this new planet will become a key focus point of further NASA research now. To be continued...
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Postby Miserable Liar » Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:48 am

I actually really excited about this! :D

It could be anything, maybe a paralell universe. Maybe The Monkees were bigger than The Beatles, maybe Johnny Borrell's attitude is tolerable and he isn't such a twat, maybe 'dinnerladies' is funny etc. But on making those assumptions I realise that it just isn't bloody possible. It would be so cool though.
I just hope it is something worth looking at and not some big joke.
There's no reason why it can't be something worth looking at, plus, another planet to look at on Google Earth!
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Postby Cracked Pleasures » Thu Apr 26, 2007 3:06 am

Miserable Liar wrote:I actually really excited about this! :D

It could be anything, maybe a paralell universe. Maybe The Monkees were bigger than The Beatles, maybe Johnny Borrell's attitude is tolerable and he isn't such a twat, maybe 'dinnerladies' is funny etc. But on making those assumptions I realise that it just isn't bloody possible. It would be so cool though.
I just hope it is something worth looking at and not some big joke.
There's no reason why it can't be something worth looking at, plus, another planet to look at on Google Earth!


Hehe :D We'd need a new name for the new planet though, it only got a temporary name that no one will ever memorise for longer than 1 hour. So let's send our suggestions with a new name to NASA!
(PS: as soon as we got more than 15 planets we could host the first intergalaxy sports tournaments... I look forward to a football game Earth vs Mars, some diversity after all those endless United vs Chelsea games this year!)

On a serious note, I doubt if there is any form of INTELLIGENT life out there. If there was and it was somewhat close (= within reach) then why did we never get any sign of it? Either the intelligent life is hundreds of light years away and thus out of reach to ever get in touch with them, or either the only form of life out there in space are little plants and bacteries and such.

The idea of human emigration to other planets is quite weird actually but not new of course, NASA even thought of building a human village on the moon (but never got a serious answer to the questions how the lack of gravity and oxygen would be resolved). If this new planet has an atmosphere and oxygen, then I guess this is a first somewhat serious option to start thinking of life in outer space. The one problem one can face is that it would be a 100% expats society there, starting a place from scratch with people all from a different cultural background on earth, this may cause some sort of problems and see "Earth II" end up in the same mess as "Earth I".

But I agree it's a very exciting thought that life out there is possible. And if it's true that there's many more planets out there then we may not recognise the map of our universe anymore within less than 2 decades...
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Postby elko » Thu Apr 26, 2007 9:47 am

CP, bear in mind that we are intelligent life and yet we are nowhere near able to get in contact with planets outside our solar system (which in terms of space would be a miniscule distance). So I think it's possible that there are others like us around somewhere.

It would be nice to think we could all go live on this new planet once we have fucked up Earth beyond repair (possibly already?), but it is 20 light years away.... I think by the time we had the technology to get there, we wouldn't have any Earth left to stand on.
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Postby rubygirl » Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:26 pm

Actually we barely know our 'own' solar system...

we are not sure if some forms of life exist on the planets around us - even if not intelligent life forms.

besides, the idea of having some other place 'for evacuation' can be quite tricky - we have put our own planet and our own lives in danger and now people can try to take comfort in the vague idea of 'escaping' this world that we have wasted - and changing it with something else to exploit. Instead of focusing on how to save what we have, because this planet offers the ideal environment for our form of life...anything else would be less than perfect, if actually possible.
I know how scientific discoveries can be exciting, how tempting the promises of sciences sound...but science has done us at least as much bad as good. And science without a soul can be a very destructive force.
But not to delve into abstractions...

- we are not really able to reach and study the nearest planets - I mean, I doubt if humans will lay feet on Mars or Venus in the near future;
- there have been ideas about 'using' Mars as a 'substitute' Earth - it's close (relatively), though a bit colder, it has similar size and composition as the Earth, it is proven that it has had water at some point - and may still have underground waters. And there are even projects how to use microorganisms to exude oxygen in Mars's atmosphere so at one point it can have enough to host life forms such as ours.
- we are far from the prospective of reaching even the star closest to us ( alpha from Centaur), let alone one that is 20 light years away. BTw, they suspect that even our closest star neighbor has planets orbiting around - though exoplanets are indeed very difficult to be discovered, as they don't reflect enough light and are not visible from such a distance (only if they are huge enough they can be recognized as small spots in front of the respective star).

I don't want to sound negative here, I'd love to see more from space, I'd love many new things to be discovered and made known - but always bearing in mind that we should preserve our own blessings ...

And I suppose there are many life forms in the universe - as one said, it's would be a great waste of space otherwise ;)
But maybe they are very different from us - we people tend to have the idea the 'extraterrestrials' are something like us - maybe shaped a bit differently, but nothing more. Well, I find this hard to believe.
They may be too far away.
The closest to us may not have evolved enough to travel to another star system - like we are not able to ourselves.
Or they may not be interested - if they are highly evolved, some primitive self-destructive life form may not be their greatest concern... ;)

Not to mention the many theories of extraterrestrial being coming from space and giving some special knowledge to the ancient people, helping them build the pyramids, etc... which is a different story :P
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Postby Cracked Pleasures » Thu Apr 26, 2007 3:12 pm

The new planet made Wikipedia now and is temporarily named Gliese 581c (we need a new name, that current name sounds like a turn-off and won't tempt people to book their outer space holidays!) : <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gliese_581_c" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gliese_581_c</a>

Ruby, that was an excellent post! One sidenote is that I believe the 'destruction of Earth' was not the main motivation to desire extraterrestrial human settlements, but that the growing population on Earth would be the official main motivation for NASA to desire life in outer space as it would resolve the problem of overpopulation here, plus it'd create entirely new cities and thus new companies and a new economy in space (so it'd resolve both overpopulation and unemployment on Earth).

I doubt if it's realistic though, what is the furthest distance in terms of lightyears we can reach? I believe 6 lightyears is currently the maximum, and it's take ages to get that far, let alone 20 lightyears. Unless the discovery of this new planet will lead to massive research and investments in the 'space industry' leading to better rockets and more advanced ways to travel further away into space.
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Postby Miserable Liar » Thu Apr 26, 2007 9:28 pm

It is amazing to think about this new planet. Maybe a different language which is so hard to understand. Maybe they make paper out of rock, maybe they don't know what music is, maybe they thought of mobile phones before us, computers may be a phenomenon that we can show to them, maybe we can have msn conversations with them, file transfers may take centuries to send, their currency may be exchanging leaves, a star may be their version of god, but more importantly...........Cannabis may be legal.
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Postby rubygirl » Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:57 pm

Miserable Liar wrote:..........Cannabis may be legal.

or even better yet...they may have many other 'versions' of it :D
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Postby Miserable Liar » Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:55 pm

Maybe their cannabis is purple. Maybe they smoke it up their nose? :blink:
Earth v2 would be cool. Plus it would be better to say "What planet are you from?" rather than "What country do you come from?" Lets hope we don't make them become slaves and whip them, no earthism should take place! I wonder what the equivalent of a female human would look like, 6 breasts with multi-coloured nipples?
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Postby Cracked Pleasures » Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:34 am

Miserable Liar wrote:Maybe their cannabis is purple. Maybe they smoke it up their nose? :blink:
Earth v2 would be cool. Plus it would be better to say "What planet are you from?" rather than "What country do you come from?" Lets hope we don't make them become slaves and whip them, no earthism should take place! I wonder what the equivalent of a female human would look like, 6 breasts with multi-coloured nipples?


Wow, that would be even more exotic than the average Japanese X-rated film ... Or maybe the people living there would have a yellow skin and 4 fingers, that'd mean there's actually a true Homer Simpson out there!

And maybe they would not have a war (that would teach us earthlings all a lesson, wouldn't it?) or still fight with rocks and catapults like we did 800 years ago (or on the cotrary, they may have very advanced high-tech weapons and start exporting them to earth...)




On a serious note though, how long would it take us to travel 20 light years? Is there anyone with some good knowledge of space that could calculate? How long travelling is 1 light year?
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Postby chicken » Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:24 pm

-i believe water in the form of ice has been discovered on the poles of mars. i could be wrong on this, but i'm almost positive i've read about this before.

there's still a lot we don't know about our own planet!! (or, more properly, the gracious planet who has generously decided to host us homo bacterius) just this week i read a new theory about why mass extinctions occur every 65 million years here.

as if we are the zero point, gad. :D folks, please....everything has to mirror us? i smell a monty python skit in here somewhere.
we haven't even figured out how to govern ourselves, let alone really know anything about space and other planets. what's to say aliens aren't walking amongst us at this very moment, watching? maybe they've figured out how to vibrate on a different level/plane so that we can't 'detect' them? maybe one of them broke their sacred code and whispered something in Einstein's ear while he slept? i'm just saying it is hubris to believe we've got things figured out.


as for your question, CP, i heard an estimate on the tele the other evening, but was too zorked out on pain killers to recall accurately. i remember them saying it could be done within the span of one lifetime, but only it we could travel at the speed of light. (rather obvious, now that i see it typed out as such) :P :lol:

my guess is that space travel as we know it today will never ever get us there. there's preliminary evidence of how an extended period of time in space / away from gravity and/or earth's magnetic fields will result in degredation of human DNA. provided i understand it correctly, what this means is that all of the DNA in our bodies would start to unravel/degrade to the point where normal cell replication would cease. that would be....like....uhhh.....fatal. :ph34r:
so until we find a stargate or learn how to fold space, i think the ability of humanity to explore strange new worlds is profoundly limited. makes sense when you think about it: we are earthlings, not spacelings.

of couse you all know that NASA exploys highly imaginative and creative people to generate ideas of what extraterrestrial life would be like, right? seriously, they do. what a fantastic job would that be?!!??!!
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Postby Cracked Pleasures » Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:39 pm

I read somewhere that due to some sort of weird scientific effect, our DNA would actually be reserved longer and thus we'd age slower in outer space than on earth. Your explanation sounds a lot more logical though, chicken, so I doubt if what I read is somewhere near the truth.

Anyway, 20 light years... and this is, in space terminology, not even that far. Imagine the hundreds of stars and planets even further away, there may be an incredible amount of planets we'll never ever know. Even with the scientific progress we make worldwide, I doubt we'll ever discover all secrets of our galaxy (and by the way, the universe is NOT endless, Einstein even calculated the exact measurements of our universe)
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