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'Super-Earth' exoplanet spotted 42 light-years away

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11-09-2012, 02:43 AM
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Krishna
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'Super-Earth' exoplanet spotted 42 light-years away

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20249753

Quote:
Astronomers have spotted another candidate for a potentially habitable planet - and it is not too far away.

The star HD 40307 was known to host three planets, all of them too near to support liquid water.

But research to appear in Astronomy and Astrophysics has found three more - among them a "super-Earth" seven times our planet's mass, in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist.

Many more observations will be needed to confirm any other similarities.

But the find joins an ever-larger catalogue of more than 800 known exoplanets, and it seems only a matter of time before astronomers spot an "Earth 2.0" - a rocky planet with an atmosphere circling a Sun-like star in the habitable zone.

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11-09-2012, 03:00 AM
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this is fascinating , I'm glad to live in this era because for the first time we have the technology to spot these planets despite the light of the stars they gravitate around that are hiding them.

People don't talk about it a lot but there's a massive potentiel for a major discovery in the next 50 years and I want to be a witness of it.

Seems to me they keep finding more and more potential planets that could have the right conditions for life , and while these projects are still primitive for the moment , you have to be in awe of the number of ''earth-like'' planets they keep finding.

It's just getting harder and harder not to suspect alien life.Think about it , we could be the generation that will discover alien life.This would change the metaphysics forever.


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11-09-2012, 04:35 AM
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When did 42 light years become "not so far away"?

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11-09-2012, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsholygrail View Post
When did 42 light years become "not so far away"?
Considering that the Galaxy is right around 100,000 light years in diameter, 42 light years is practically across the street.

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11-09-2012, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by BenchBrawl View Post
this is fascinating , I'm glad to live in this era because for the first time we have the technology to spot these planets despite the light of the stars they gravitate around that are hiding them.

People don't talk about it a lot but there's a massive potentiel for a major discovery in the next 50 years and I want to be a witness of it.

Seems to me they keep finding more and more potential planets that could have the right conditions for life , and while these projects are still primitive for the moment , you have to be in awe of the number of ''earth-like'' planets they keep finding.

It's just getting harder and harder not to suspect alien life.Think about it , we could be the generation that will discover alien life.This would change the metaphysics forever.
Actually we may have discovered alien bacterial life as early as the Viking missions in '76 - NASA just dismissed it at the time due to two of the three tests failing. Recent analysis indicates the Viking tests probably did find life, but more research is needed to definitively confirm that finding.

I don't think it would necessarily change metaphysics. Perhaps some deeply religious individuals would have their conception of the universe radically changed, but for the majority of us, it's just reaffirming the probability that we aren't the only planet in the universe that has life.

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11-09-2012, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Avder View Post
Considering that the Galaxy is right around 100,000 light years in diameter, 42 light years is practically across the street.
But it's not. It's 42 LIGHT YEARS away. Doesn't matter what it's proportional comparison is to the rest of the galaxy, it's still beyond even fathomable from a human perspective.

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11-09-2012, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsholygrail View Post
But it's not. It's 42 LIGHT YEARS away. Doesn't matter what it's proportional comparison is to the rest of the galaxy, it's still beyond even fathomable from a human perspective.
I can fathom it. If we can develop a rocket that can both accelerate to and decelerate from 0.5c it would take only 84 years of real-time to travel there, and the people on board would only experience about 73 years of time due to the effects of time dilation.

That's only a few generations worth of humans. So if we were to put a group of 20 somethings on board a ship and send them off to this world, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would all make it to the world alive with sufficient supplies for the journey. And if the medical care was good enough, its entirely possible that some or all of the original crew members would make it there as well, depending on how many of them could live into their 90s.

And then if we can get up to even higher speeds, it further increases the time dilation, making longer and longer trips possible for the colonists.

And there are also a few working ideas on how to actually break the speed of light and travel like they do in Star Trek.

So I can fathom it quite easily. 42 light years will be a journey that will be attainable within the next few generations. All we need is a habitable world within a small range, and we can start planning the mission.

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11-09-2012, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsholygrail View Post
But it's not. It's 42 LIGHT YEARS away. Doesn't matter what it's proportional comparison is to the rest of the galaxy, it's still beyond even fathomable from a human perspective.
What? That's only 420 trillion KM away, that's just around the corner.

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11-09-2012, 07:20 AM
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Anything is possible.

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11-09-2012, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsholygrail View Post
When did 42 light years become "not so far away"?
Yeah, it's like hundreds of trillions of miles/kilometers away from North America. Definitely not a bus league market. Plus they're so behind us - they just got the 1970 Stanley Cup finals this year and think Nixon is still the US president.

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11-09-2012, 08:23 AM
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It's 40 light years but would take over 150k years to get there.

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11-09-2012, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Shrimper View Post
It's 40 light years but would take over 150k years to get there.

Sounds like a boring ride. And then you get there and the locals are all ground hugging slugs with no pants or manners.

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11-09-2012, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsholygrail View Post
But it's not. It's 42 LIGHT YEARS away. Doesn't matter what it's proportional comparison is to the rest of the galaxy, it's still beyond even fathomable from a human perspective.
In the vast expanse of the universe 42 light years is nothing. We will not be able to travel outside our own solar system in our life times but when one considers that hubble has taken photos of object 13.5 BILLION light years away it puts things into a perspective. At 42 lightyears, we could definitely make some more keen observations than planets discovered much further away.

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11-09-2012, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avder View Post
So I can fathom it quite easily. 42 light years will be a journey that will be attainable within the next few generations. All we need is a habitable world within a small range, and we can start planning the mission.

I agree that the distance is fathomable, and 42 light-years is very much the local neighborhood astronomically. Reaching that distance in the "next few generations" is extremely optimistic, based on how little we have accomplished in manned space flight since 1972. Humanity is about 1 1/2 generations removed from the last time it walked on the moon. Mars at its closest approach is typically more than 200 times farther away than the moon, and there's little indication that we'll be walking on that planet in less than a generation.

Now, 42 light years is 7 million times as far away as Mars. I know that we're fond of saying that anything's possible, but it is fantasy for the youngest people on this board to think that we'll be reaching any stars in their lifetime.

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11-09-2012, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Polakis View Post
I agree that the distance is fathomable, and 42 light-years is very much the local neighborhood astronomically. Reaching that distance in the "next few generations" is extremely optimistic, based on how little we have accomplished in manned space flight since 1972. Humanity is about 1 1/2 generations removed from the last time it walked on the moon. Mars at its closest approach is typically more than 200 times farther away than the moon, and there's little indication that we'll be walking on that planet in less than a generation.

Now, 42 light years is 7 million times as far away as Mars. I know that we're fond of saying that anything's possible, but it is fantasy for the youngest people on this board to think that we'll be reaching any stars in their lifetime.
I'd argue that we could be on Mars already if there was a will and more importantly money to get it done.

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11-09-2012, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by beowulf View Post
I'd argue that we could be on Mars already if there was a will and more importantly money to get it done.

Agreed. A major obstacle for Mars exploration has been political. Now extend this problem to a journey to a star, which is almost infinitely more difficult and expensive.

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11-09-2012, 12:52 PM
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The worry I have is that it's 8 times the size of earth. Gravity would be enormous, and we would probably need robotic assistance just to move around there until those living there eventually let natural selection take place and get much stronger over many generations.

I wouldn't be concerned about 42 light-years, if humanity can invent a way to put us into a cryo-stasis within the next few hundred years, and space travel at a speed at even 5% light speed, it's possible for humanity to get there eventually, it would just take a long time, and we need to make sure we don't completely **** over the earth we have before we can get an alternative habitable planet.

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11-09-2012, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by yotesreign View Post
Sounds like a boring ride. And then you get there and the locals are all ground hugging slugs with no pants or manners.
Space Hippies. I hate them already.

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11-09-2012, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsholygrail View Post
When did 42 light years become "not so far away"?
Since that's how everyone with a background in astronomy or cosmology will see it.

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11-09-2012, 04:34 PM
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Heres how I differentiate between "not far away" and "far away" with current technology.

If I can take a photocopy of my ass, digitize it, aim a directional antenna at a star, transmit the bits, and I can count on those bits getting there before I am expected to be dead, then it's not very far away astronomically.

Its all about who you can moon in the cosmos.

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11-09-2012, 05:01 PM
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Krishna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avder View Post
Heres how I differentiate between "not far away" and "far away" with current technology.

If I can take a photocopy of my ass, digitize it, aim a directional antenna at a star, transmit the bits, and I can count on those bits getting there before I am expected to be dead, then it's not very far away astronomically.

Its all about who you can moon in the cosmos.
Exactly. If we use the 100,000 light years as as measurement for the universe and this planet is 42 light years away, that's only .00042 of the universe. For an earth comparison of the same size, that's like travelling 10 1/2 miles. It's not a huge distance

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11-09-2012, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Krishna View Post
Exactly. If we use the 100,000 light years as as measurement for the universe and this planet is 42 light years away, that's only .00042 of the universe. For an earth comparison of the same size, that's like travelling 10 1/2 miles. It's not a huge distance
think it's important to consider the current tech though.... because by comparison us getting to this planet right now would be like be like an ant trying to cross the Mississippi River. Sure the river's only a mile wide. Not a big deal if you've got a fancy boat.

So where's our fancy space boat?

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11-12-2012, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krishna View Post
Exactly. If we use the 100,000 light years as as measurement for the universe and this planet is 42 light years away, that's only .00042 of the universe. For an earth comparison of the same size, that's like travelling 10 1/2 miles. It's not a huge distance
Its a tremendously huge difference. Relative to the entire Universe? Obviously not. But humanity isn't exactly zipping around the Galaxy at will now or any time soon. Even with a Neil DeGrasse Tyson level of commitment to a US Space Program, sending humans to this Exo Planet will be very, very hard to achieve.

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