1071: "Exoplanets"

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Mickal14
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby Mickal14 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:56 pm UTC

Actually we will definitely know stuff about these planets in our lifetimes, trust me :)
We are getting to the point where we can start to understand the composition of the stars these planets orbit. Understanding our solar system we can try to figure out how this will relate to the planetary composition, especially with respect to key mineral and biological ratios. This will lead for quite some years of speculation as to how these weird ratios will affect planetary systems.

But it won't be too long before we can start to get an idea of what the atmospheres of these planets contains (all the big ones should be easier... Earthlike atmospheres will take longer) But this field is growing so rapidly that it'll start to make sense soon!

Science is wonderful if you just believe you can solve your problems through small steps. You'd be surprised how fast astrobiology and exosolar planets have risen, there is no reason to believe we won't keep pushing forward exponentially!

This is a great image :) too bad it'll be out of date in 2-3 days and massively out of date in a year... but then again, thats AMAZING. When i started studying astrobiology talking about exosolar planets was so new, and now we assume what we should have always assumed... planets are everywhere. Now the question should be, what about life?

~Enthusiastic Stellar Astrobiologist

JimsMaher
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby JimsMaher » Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:41 pm UTC

Stormarov.45 wrote:Therefore, there are only 8 known planets


*cough* ... thank you, if he had counted the Dwarf planets as well in the 'Our Solar System' section, making the number ... what was it?
778 + 13 ? ... then he'd have some leeway with specific proclamations. (I did say 786 was an over-estimation, perhaps in haste, but rationalized none-the-less, "how to verify as technically 'planets' in any count?")
But that wouldn't have equaled the post 786, original exoplanet.png comic ... anyway, I think the word "known" is on the verge of being a "weasel word" here ...
778 known "exoplanets" maybe, as that definition is inherently hazier.

In a nutshell, I'm objecting to the mere appearance of treating strictly-numerical coincidences as embodied objects of affection or repulsion.

...edit: ...

1. Today is the SOLSTICE ... Astrological hoo-ha
2. Comic claims "786 planets" ... named exoplanet.png
3. It retcons "comic 786" ... also named exoplanet.png ... Numerological ha-hoo
4. ker-plowie ... my BS meter is set to maximum now, thanks Randall.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby WolfieMario » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:27 pm UTC

spartahawk wrote:Now THAT is awesome. Well done! (I don't think we could see the second level anyway, if you had done it, unless it were an enormous image.
Also, how did you approach doing that exactly??

After I did that, just out of curiosity, I checked if that image, scaled down to the size of one of the large planet-charts, looked any different. It didn't, so even 2 levels of nesting wouldn't be noticeable :P

And I took the manual approach, as I had about an hour during which I was heavily distracted (don't ask by whom or why) and couldn't do anything requiring much concentration anyhow. Apparently I have no problem doing visual tasks and image manipulation even when distracted; I wish the same were true for programming and schoolwork :roll:. So basically it was either this or Minecraft.

Anyways, luckily Randall made most planets uniformly sized (about 3-4 size groups per color). So it was mostly just copy-pasting of scaled versions of the chart, and then masking away the original dots. I did it based on color and grouped each set when it was done (changing the color of the group as a whole). The only challenging ones were the greens, which are small and far apart.


I actually thought of a non-manual approach, which would have been far faster, but didn't bother as I was a bit too distracted and wanted a simpler waste of time. Basically, I could have used Fireworks to convert the image into vectors, export to Illustrator and use that to export to SVG. Then I could import the SVG to Blender, convert it to a mesh, and group planets of different sizes as different mesh objects. Then I could collapse all planets down to individual vertexes, and use Blender's Duplication feature to duplicate planes containing the chart on each vertex (the actual image of the chart would have white removed, to prevent unwanted overlap). Since the different size groups would be separate objects, I could just scale the corresponding chart-plane down to the right size and even do the color manipulation in Blender using the texture settings.

Actually, if I had gone through the trouble and done all that, with a little juggling of object references, it would be rather easy to produce versions with arbitrary levels of nesting (I've used Blender to make "fractals" before; incidentally if I ever tricked Blender to make a real fractal with recursion it would unsurprisingly crash soon after - sadly, it never displayed recursive fractals properly). In addition, it would be possible to render the result at an arbitrary resolution, so you actually could create an image large enough that each individual planet (even those with a diameter of roughly 2 pixels in Randall's original chart) would be visible.


Sorry if you expected my approach to be programmatic; I actually lack knowledge of the sorts of programmatic image manipulation that would be needed to do this, *ahem*, without relying on eyesight and programs like Fireworks or Blender.
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San Fran Sam
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby San Fran Sam » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:59 pm UTC

beav wrote:Where's Elmo?


He's with Waldo.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby flicky1991 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:05 pm UTC

hikeeba wrote:Waitaminute! - Where's Alderaan? How could someone leave that out? Alderaan is peaceful! They have no weapons...


It's in a galaxy far, far away...
any pronouns
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby ElCarl » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:12 pm UTC

Eutychus wrote:
Qaanol wrote:This new comic 1071, being named “exoplanets.png” has broken comic 786, which was also named “exoplanets.png”.


Picture postcards of the old comic suddenly became extremely valuable.

/obscure?
/online substitute for picture postcard here


It's alright man, some of us got this.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby El Cucui » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:09 pm UTC

Given this scale, is the larger circle that could circumscribe all those planets the size of our sun?

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby SamSam » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:20 pm UTC

peewee_RotA wrote:Observationall sciences amuse me with they'reterrible language skills.

These are the 768 known planets.


Planets are turning out to be so common that to show all the planets in our galaxy, this chart would have to be nested in itself--with each planet replaced by a copy of the chart--at least three levels deep.


So... obviously we know about more?? DOH! This's how crap like the "only using 30% of your brain" rumor gets a started.


People amuse me when they're terrible at language and science skills.

"768 known planets." ... "all the planets in our galaxy."

We do not know all the planets in in the galaxy.

This is equivalent to the estimated number of species in the Amazon. When the under-educated read things like "there are estimated to be 500,000 undiscovered species in the rainforest" they're all like "durrr! How can stupid scientists know how many undiscovered species there are if they haven't been discovered?!? Durr!! Scientists is all stupid!"

In fact, though, there are many completely reasonable ways to make that estimate, and so it would not be a contradiction to say "There are 2.5 million known species in the rainforest" and "to list all the species in the rainforest, you'd need a list 3 million items long" (which is the equivalent of what Randall's comic is saying). These two statements only seem contradictory to you because you don't understand them.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby Seamus » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:40 pm UTC

carolineee wrote:If you want to contribute to the next level of this chart or are just in a state of "bored hanging around on the internet" go to http://www.planethunters.org/ and start hunting for planets. It's really nice for killing time and more useful than playing minesweeper or the like ;)


Yes! I love planethunters.org, it's awesomely addictive.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby Istaro » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:18 am UTC

Planets are turning out to be so common that to show all the planets in our galaxy, this chart would have to be nested in itself--with each planet replaced by a copy of the chart--at least three levels deep.


So how big would that be, I wonder?

If the first level is this original chart, I suppose the "full" chart would be roughly 786×786 times the area, i.e. 786 times the diameter, right? Then it's a question of resolution, but as far as order of magnitude, we're talking roughly 786 feet if I'm not mistaken.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby Plutarch » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:18 am UTC

These posts saying there's no hidden message here that the colour blind can't see aren't fooling me for a moment. I know there's a secret message and you're just not telling us about it.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby Crosshair » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:44 am UTC

ldsheinz wrote:So what i wonder is if there might be life on other planets but cause they are so far away it has yet to manifest itself in anyway.


Kristopher wrote:A better Hubble is needed.

If there are habitable planets within 20 light years, we have the tech needed to send an unmanned probe to one with a trip time of less than the lifetime of the folks who launched it.


Mickal14 wrote:This is a great image :) too bad it'll be out of date in 2-3 days and massively out of date in a year... but then again, thats AMAZING. When i started studying astrobiology talking about exosolar planets was so new, and now we assume what we should have always assumed... planets are everywhere. Now the question should be, what about life?


I hate to be the buzzkill, but I can tell that many people have only done one side of the equation. They see all these planets and think there must be life out there. That is a belief based on Star Trek, not science. The problem, simply put, is that a trillion times zero is still zero. Changing the one side to ten trillion instead of one trillion does nothing to better the odds.

Science has absolutely no clue and no serious theory about how life first originated from non-life and has found out that the process is quite difficult. (Sure there is some far-out conjecture and hand waving, but nothing that can be tested in a lab.) The Miller–Urey experiment has been a flop, there's no evidence for the primordial soup and the process doesn't work with what we now know the early Earth's atmosphere actually contained. Then you have the problem of how do these amino acids assemble into a self replicating cell? Even more perplexing, where does the information contained in DNA come from? The "Monkey's typing Shakespeare theorem" doesn't work, mathematicians have looked at it. There isn't enough time or enough "monkey's" in the entire universe to make it happen with even one work of Shakespeare. The simplest free living organism, not a virus or a parasite, we know of has 580,073 base pairs. The works of Shakespeare contain 884,647 words. Darwinism can't work until you get the first cell. The only type of biochemistry that we know of that can work without serious problems is carbon based life.

Depend on your worldview:
From an Atheistic worldview, there is virtually no chance of life other than our own just from the mathematics of the issue. WE shouldn't even be here.
From a Theistic worldview, there might be life elsewhere, (As a god could have created life on other planets.) but given our current understanding we have no way of knowing the odds.
From Classical Buddhist worldview, the physical world is an illusion so the question is without meaning. (Have a difficult problem? Be a Buddhist for the rest of the day. The problem then is just an illusion of your mind.) :wink:

Though regardless of ones worldview, we simply have no idea what the odds actually are, but from what we DO know, the odds are not good at all. Furthermore, we know that just getting there is not something that can be done by current or theoretical future technology. (No warp drive for you.) So we're gonna have to be happy sitting here looking through telescopes.

Could future discoveries change this? Perhaps, but based on our current scientific understanding, the statement "We are alone in the universe." is not a hard theory to defend.

To respond to Kristopher, we DO NOT have the technology to send a probe to even Alpha Centauri. We would need to get the probe to at least .10c, 30,000 km/s. Our FASTEST space probe to date has gotten up to 70 km/s and that was a probe to the sun. Voyager 1 is only going 17.05 km/s even after the gravity assist.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby SamSam » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:33 am UTC

Crosshair wrote:Darwinism can't work until you get the first cell.


Nonsense. "Darwinism," as you so dismissively call it, works on anything that is able to copy itself. Whether it's an organic polymer or a peptide structure, once it copies itself it's subject to evolutionary pressures.

If you're going to argue against evolution in a room full of xkcd readers, at least understand the basic science, please.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby DVC » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:07 am UTC

Things to consider:

1) The IAU's definition of a planet does not include any exoplanets, because it says that for a body to be a planet it has to orbit the Sun (not a star).
2) Even if if the definition was changed to say orbit a star, we'd have no idea if these bodies had 'cleared their orbits of debris,' and so couldn't say whether they were planets or not by the IAU's definition.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:37 am UTC

So I guess we have another linguistically strange situation where, like dwarf planets, exoplanets aren't actually a kind of planet, despite being called "planet" right there in the name.
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby DVC » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:44 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:So I guess we have another linguistically strange situation where, like dwarf planets, exoplanets aren't actually a kind of planet, despite being called "planet" right there in the name.


You want weird? What happens if we find a Jovian planet that hasn't cleared its orbit? Is it a Giant dwarf planet?

Conclusion: The IAU's definition is silly.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby Max™ » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:28 am UTC

Had to register for one joke regarding the snafu with #786.

Randall is so meta even this accident

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby Blackie62 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:51 am UTC

GodShapedBullet wrote:
jspenguin wrote:I first thought this was a color-blindness test...


Dear colorblind,

There is no hidden joke. Don't even worry about it.

Love,

Me


So that green 24 isn't supposed to be there?

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby DaveMcW » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:33 am UTC

El Cucui wrote:Given this scale, is the larger circle that could circumscribe all those planets the size of our sun?

Extrapolating from 31 pixels for Jupiter, the scale is 4600 km per pixel. That makes the large circle 6.9 million km in diameter. The sun's diameter is less than 1.4 million km.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby nitePhyyre » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:44 am UTC

egarcia8 wrote:This xkcd is simply wrong. First off there are many more than 786 exoplanets. Due to the Kepler mission there are several thousand.
I am 100% certain that the Kepler mission has not created any planets.
egarcia8 wrote:Second off, we know plenty about whats on many exoplanets. Studying the atmospheres of exoplanets is a field thats been around (with data) for atleast 10 years since the first detection of sodium in 2002 HD20945b by hubble space telescope.
decaelus wrote:In particular, we were worried that the line "We know nothing about what's on any of them." is a bit misleading. We actually know what many of the planets are made of, what's in their atmospheres, some things about their weather and internal structures. We WOULD like better telescopes, though.
Unless you are trying to be dickishly pedantic, atmospheres surround a planet, what planets are made of and their internal structures are 'in' not 'on', and saying that weather systems are on a planet is a bit of a stretch. Although, very cool. I had no idea we could detect weather systems on exoplanets. Although, I imagine that lightspeed lag makes daily forecasts out of the question.
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:05 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:Unless you are trying to be dickishly pedantic, atmospheres surround a planet

So if we want to look at Jupiter by itself, without its atmosphere, we should get rid of all that hydrogen in the way? And Jupiter's atmosphere is about 3X as massive as the "planet itself"?
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby DVC » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:25 am UTC

50 of of the Kepler objects have been confirmed, there are another 2000 odd that have the status of candidates.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby webdude » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:33 am UTC

If these are all "exoplanets," where are the commander or captain planets?

Or is that "XO" planets, in which case, yowzaa, there's a whole lot of ballin' going on in the universe!

Or maybe just a lot of coaches diagramming plays.

If there are big XOplanets, are there big O planets, created by the Big Bang?

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby VanI » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:49 am UTC

Plutarch wrote:These posts saying there's no hidden message here that the colour blind can't see aren't fooling me for a moment. I know there's a secret message and you're just not telling us about it.


Oh crap, they've caught on! Quick, color-blinded, everybody hide in your greenhouses... or are they red?
I swear, a fireball lied to me just the other day...

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:28 am UTC

Crosshair wrote:
Mickal14 wrote:This is a great image :) too bad it'll be out of date in 2-3 days and massively out of date in a year... but then again, thats AMAZING. When i started studying astrobiology talking about exosolar planets was so new, and now we assume what we should have always assumed... planets are everywhere. Now the question should be, what about life?


I hate to be the buzzkill, but I can tell that many people have only done one side of the equation. They see all these planets and think there must be life out there. That is a belief based on Star Trek, not science. The problem, simply put, is that a trillion times zero is still zero. Changing the one side to ten trillion instead of one trillion does nothing to better the odds.


Did you perhaps get training in christian logic? I don't recall seeing this pattern of reasoning from anyone but christian fundamentalists.

It does not make sense to assume the probability of life is zero, because we have an example of life. If the chance of life per planetary system is bigger than zero, then changing the number of planetary systems from a trillion to ten trillion does better the odds.

Science has absolutely no clue and no serious theory about how life first originated from non-life and has found out that the process is quite difficult. (Sure there is some far-out conjecture and hand waving, but nothing that can be tested in a lab.) The Miller–Urey experiment has been a flop, there's no evidence for the primordial soup and the process doesn't work with what we now know the early Earth's atmosphere actually contained. Then you have the problem of how do these amino acids assemble into a self replicating cell? Even more perplexing, where does the information contained in DNA come from? The "Monkey's typing Shakespeare theorem" doesn't work, mathematicians have looked at it. There isn't enough time or enough "monkey's" in the entire universe to make it happen with even one work of Shakespeare. The simplest free living organism, not a virus or a parasite, we know of has 580,073 base pairs. The works of Shakespeare contain 884,647 words. Darwinism can't work until you get the first cell. The only type of biochemistry that we know of that can work without serious problems is carbon based life.


Since we're reasoning from one example, and our only example is carbon based life, then sure. We don't know what else works. But you can't go from 580,000 base pairs for an organism that can survive in today's world, and assume that nothing simpler could survive even in an environment where there was no better-evolved competition. It's like, Julius Caesar had a reputation as a great general, but put him on a modern battlefield and he would be lost. We've had more than 2000 years of learning how to fight better since his time. Similarly, an organism that lived a billion years ago on earth might likely have a hard time surviving today, because we've had a billion years to evolve better methods to do all the things it does -- if what it did is even still a viable lifestyle today.

We have some serious theories about how life evolved from nonlife, but they still have a lot of big gaps. What we have makes sense as far as it goes, but there's a lot missing. We don't know that much about the earth's atmosphere when life first appeared here. We don't know whether life evolved here or elsewhere. We don't know how fast microbial spores travel between star systems. We do not know enough to assign odds.

Depend on your worldview:
From an Atheistic worldview, there is virtually no chance of life other than our own just from the mathematics of the issue. WE shouldn't even be here.


We don't know enough to do that math.

From a Theistic worldview, there might be life elsewhere, (As a god could have created life on other planets.) but given our current understanding we have no way of knowing the odds.


Agreed.

.... Though regardless of ones worldview, we simply have no idea what the odds actually are, but from what we DO know, the odds are not good at all.


You were right the first time. We have no idea what the odds are.

Furthermore, we know that just getting there is not something that can be done by current or theoretical future technology. (No warp drive for you.) So we're gonna have to be happy sitting here looking through telescopes.

Could future discoveries change this? Perhaps, but based on our current scientific understanding, the statement "We are alone in the universe." is not a hard theory to defend.


Based on our current scientific understanding, the statement "We are alone in the universe" is undecided. We basicly have no information. That makes it impossible to defend as true, but easy to defend as possible.

To respond to Kristopher, we DO NOT have the technology to send a probe to even Alpha Centauri. We would need to get the probe to at least .10c, 30,000 km/s. Our FASTEST space probe to date has gotten up to 70 km/s and that was a probe to the sun. Voyager 1 is only going 17.05 km/s even after the gravity assist.


Agreed, though I haven't checked the details. We might have technology which could do that, but it's untested.
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:52 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Crosshair wrote:
To respond to Kristopher, we DO NOT have the technology to send a probe to even Alpha Centauri. We would need to get the probe to at least .10c, 30,000 km/s. Our FASTEST space probe to date has gotten up to 70 km/s and that was a probe to the sun. Voyager 1 is only going 17.05 km/s even after the gravity assist.


Agreed, though I haven't checked the details. We might have technology which could do that, but it's untested.


Not to be pedantic, but the NERVA system potentially could boost to near relativistic speeds, given enough fuel (and was tested pretty extensively in the 1960's).
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby jozwa » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:54 am UTC

airdrik wrote:
article wrote:because it orbits its host star once every 30 hours, a solar “year” on KELT-1b passes in a little more than one Earth day

So what ever are they meaning by that 'solar "year"': the time it takes that planet with its star to orbit our sun? the time at which all things that orbit that star orbit it? I suppose that the time it takes that star to wobble around the system's center of gravity kind of makes sense, but isn't really what they are referring to.
It is apparent from the couple other places they referenced that data point that they were referring to the time it takes that planet to orbit its star, however the term "solar year" just doesn't make sense (especially in that context).

The meaning seems obvious to me. They even say it directly, "it orbits its host star once every 30 hours". A solar year is the "period of time required for the earth to make one complete revolution around the sun", in that context, naturally, the period of time required for the planet in question to make a complete revolution around its sun.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:10 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
Crosshair wrote:
To respond to Kristopher, we DO NOT have the technology to send a probe to even Alpha Centauri. We would need to get the probe to at least .10c, 30,000 km/s. Our FASTEST space probe to date has gotten up to 70 km/s and that was a probe to the sun. Voyager 1 is only going 17.05 km/s even after the gravity assist.


Agreed, though I haven't checked the details. We might have technology which could do that, but it's untested.


Not to be pedantic, but the NERVA system potentially could boost to near relativistic speeds, given enough fuel (and was tested pretty extensively in the 1960's).


I'll be a little bit pedantic and say it was tested on the ground for relatively short times, and it worked, but it was never actually tested at boosting to near-relativistic speed.

Wasn't it supposed to run for something like an hour or two? And do that less than a hundred times over the product lifecycle? Or was that the first stage, to get away from Terra, and the second stage that could go to mars was never tested at all?
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby mfb » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:22 pm UTC

egarcia8 wrote:This xkcd is simply wrong. First off there are many more than 786 exoplanets. Due to the Kepler mission there are several thousand. Second off, we know plenty about whats on many exoplanets. Studying the atmospheres of exoplanets is a field thats been around (with data) for atleast 10 years since the first detection of sodium in 2002 HD20945b by hubble space telescope.

There are several thousand candidates. Some of them are planets, but some of them are just random noise or something else. It would be too optimistic to call all candidates "planets".
While it was possible to study the atmosphere of some exoplanets, these are still rare exceptions.


eran_rathan wrote:Not to be pedantic, but the NERVA system potentially could boost to near relativistic speeds, given enough fuel (and was tested pretty extensively in the 1960's).

Given enough fuel and reaction mass, any system can reach any velocity. However, the requirements get unrealistic for velocities much larger than the exhaust velocity, which is ~8km/s for NERVA according to Wikipedia. Reaching 80km/s would already require a reaction mass to rocket mass ratio of about e^10 = 22000. 160km/s would require e^20 which is nearly 1 billion.

Ion drives are a bit better (and given 50+ years of travel time, 2-3 years of acceleration does not harm), but not enough with current technology. For relativistic speeds, you need something much more energetic - propulsion by fission products, something involving fusion, external momentum and energy sources (like a laser beam) or whatever else.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:30 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
Crosshair wrote:
To respond to Kristopher, we DO NOT have the technology to send a probe to even Alpha Centauri. We would need to get the probe to at least .10c, 30,000 km/s. Our FASTEST space probe to date has gotten up to 70 km/s and that was a probe to the sun. Voyager 1 is only going 17.05 km/s even after the gravity assist.


Agreed, though I haven't checked the details. We might have technology which could do that, but it's untested.


Not to be pedantic, but the NERVA system potentially could boost to near relativistic speeds, given enough fuel (and was tested pretty extensively in the 1960's).


I'll be a little bit pedantic and say it was tested on the ground for relatively short times, and it worked, but it was never actually tested at boosting to near-relativistic speed.

Wasn't it supposed to run for something like an hour or two? And do that less than a hundred times over the product lifecycle? Or was that the first stage, to get away from Terra, and the second stage that could go to mars was never tested at all?


the NRX was run for a 2 hour test in 1968, but was stopped when they ran out of fuel. It produced 1.1 GW of power, and 334 kN of thrust. One of the original designs was to use seven in the based of a Saturn V as the initial boost, which would have produced 2.34 MN of thrust.

EDIT: after some calcs, yeah, without a LARGE gravity boost and multiple stages and considerable fuel, we'd still be in the ~10 km/s range.
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby pkcommando » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:09 pm UTC

Plutarch wrote:These posts saying there's no hidden message here that the colour blind can't see aren't fooling me for a moment. I know there's a secret message and you're just not telling us about it.

No message. A cool rocket ship, yes, but no message.
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby dp2 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:17 pm UTC

SamSam wrote:
peewee_RotA wrote:Observationall sciences amuse me with they'reterrible language skills.

These are the 768 known planets.


Planets are turning out to be so common that to show all the planets in our galaxy, this chart would have to be nested in itself--with each planet replaced by a copy of the chart--at least three levels deep.


So... obviously we know about more?? DOH! This's how crap like the "only using 30% of your brain" rumor gets a started.


People amuse me when they're terrible at language and science skills.

"768 known planets." ... "all the planets in our galaxy."

We do not know all the planets in in the galaxy.

This is equivalent to the estimated number of species in the Amazon. When the under-educated read things like "there are estimated to be 500,000 undiscovered species in the rainforest" they're all like "durrr! How can stupid scientists know how many undiscovered species there are if they haven't been discovered?!? Durr!! Scientists is all stupid!"

In fact, though, there are many completely reasonable ways to make that estimate, and so it would not be a contradiction to say "There are 2.5 million known species in the rainforest" and "to list all the species in the rainforest, you'd need a list 3 million items long" (which is the equivalent of what Randall's comic is saying). These two statements only seem contradictory to you because you don't understand them.

There is a significant difference between what you said and what Randall said, and that is the word "estimated".

And if people are uneducated about science, I blame the scientists.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby dp2 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:27 pm UTC

SamSam wrote:
Crosshair wrote:Darwinism can't work until you get the first cell.


Nonsense. "Darwinism," as you so dismissively call it, works on anything that is able to copy itself. Whether it's an organic polymer or a peptide structure, once it copies itself it's subject to evolutionary pressures.

If you're going to argue against evolution in a room full of xkcd readers, at least understand the basic science, please.

I don't think crosshair is arguing against Darwinism/evolution. I read it as: for a process to work on anything that is able to copy itself, you first have to have something that is able to copy itself.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby SamSam » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:13 pm UTC

DVC wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:So I guess we have another linguistically strange situation where, like dwarf planets, exoplanets aren't actually a kind of planet, despite being called "planet" right there in the name.


You want weird? What happens if we find a Jovian planet that hasn't cleared its orbit? Is it a Giant dwarf planet?

Conclusion: The IAU's definition is silly.


To say that the definition is silly, you have to know that what you are suggesting is possible. The IAU believes it's not possible. I trust them more.

It's like saying "What if we find a lactating rock? Is it a mammal? Conclusion: the definition of "mammal" is silly."

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby flicky1991 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:15 pm UTC

SamSam wrote:
DVC wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:So I guess we have another linguistically strange situation where, like dwarf planets, exoplanets aren't actually a kind of planet, despite being called "planet" right there in the name.


You want weird? What happens if we find a Jovian planet that hasn't cleared its orbit? Is it a Giant dwarf planet?

Conclusion: The IAU's definition is silly.


To say that the definition is silly, you have to know that what you are suggesting is possible. The IAU believes it's not possible. I trust them more.

It's like saying "What if we find a lactating rock? Is it a mammal? Conclusion: the definition of "mammal" is silly."


If we find a lactating rock, naming it might not be on the top of the list.
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby SamSam » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:21 pm UTC

dp2 wrote:
SamSam wrote:
Crosshair wrote:Darwinism can't work until you get the first cell.


Nonsense. "Darwinism," as you so dismissively call it, works on anything that is able to copy itself. Whether it's an organic polymer or a peptide structure, once it copies itself it's subject to evolutionary pressures.

If you're going to argue against evolution in a room full of xkcd readers, at least understand the basic science, please.

I don't think crosshair is arguing against Darwinism/evolution. I read it as: for a process to work on anything that is able to copy itself, you first have to have something that is able to copy itself.


You missed the cues, which is that the only people who use the term "Darwinism" to mean evolution are creationists, and the strawman argument about monkeys and typewriters. (This is what happens when creationists all get their arguments from the blogosphere echochamber.)

"Darwinism can't work until you get the first cell" is suggesting that evolution can't explain how something as complicated as a cell could form, because evolution only works after cells have already been created. Ergo, the argument goes, life has zero probability of arising randomly on a planet.

I was saying that anyone who thinks that evolution doesn't apply to self-replicating polymers doesn't actually understand evolution. Ergo, the argument is meaningless.

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby San Fran Sam » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:43 pm UTC

Plutarch wrote:These posts saying there's no hidden message here that the colour blind can't see aren't fooling me for a moment. I know there's a secret message and you're just not telling us about it.


If you delete the text, and take the ratio of the area of the planets to the area of the white space you get

Spoiler:
Pi

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby willaaaaaa » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:49 pm UTC

Those are some huge letters! The P in "PLANETS" could fit about 13 Jupiters in it! Now that's what the astronomists should be investigating.
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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby nykevin » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:53 pm UTC

SamSam wrote:"Darwinism can't work until you get the first cell" is suggesting that evolution can't explain how something as complicated as a cell could form, because evolution only works after cells have already been created. Ergo, the argument goes, life has zero probability of arising randomly on a planet.

I was saying that anyone who thinks that evolution doesn't apply to self-replicating polymers doesn't actually understand evolution. Ergo, the argument is meaningless.


I do have to wonder where the "You need a cell" idea came from, though... Perhaps they think a cell is an irreducible complexity?

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Re: 1071: "Exoplanets"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:39 pm UTC

nykevin wrote:Perhaps they think a cell is an irreducible complexity?
That, and maybe they remember elementary school biology, when they were told something like "all cells come from other cells".
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