NASA: update on possible earthlike planets

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NASA: update on possible earthlike planets

Postby Nerd Mike » Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:21 am UTC

NASA Telescope Confirms Alien Planet in Habitable Zone: http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-telescope-confirms-alien-planet-habitable-zone-162005358.html

Still too many uncertainties to declare any particular planet "habitable" and even if we could, we're still a few thousand years from reaching any of them, but the rate at which we see new information on exo-planets is just astounding. It seems like every few months, we get a new report with even broader scope and finer detail than the last. It's time like this that I'm happy with just information for information's sake, because all of it is so fascinating and... just wondrous.

Cool stuff.
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Re: NASA: update on possible earthlike planets

Postby idobox » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:05 pm UTC

Kepler 22b looks very habitable to me.
Until we have a more powerful telescope, it's about the best we can get.
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Re: NASA: update on possible earthlike planets

Postby Soralin » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:14 pm UTC

idobox wrote:Kepler 22b looks very habitable to me.
Until we have a more powerful telescope, it's about the best we can get.

Sooner then that even, Kepler(the telescope) has over a couple thousand planet candidates now, including many that are Earth sized, or in habitable zones, or both. This is just the first Earth-sized(ish) planet in a habitable zone that has been confirmed by being observed on it's 3rd pass around it's star. Primarily because the first pass was recorded just days after they started taking official measurements. So expect to see more of these soon. :)
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Re: NASA: update on possible earthlike planets

Postby mfb » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:43 pm UTC

In a talk about planet formation, I saw some of these candidate systems. They have up to 6 candidates per system - of course, not all will get confirmed, but it looks like Kepler will give a really nice sample of exoplanets in the next 2 years. A lot of planets, and even more important: A lot of smaller planets and high number of systems with multiple planets. I think it the first large sample which is representative enough to estimate the distribution of sizes/distances to the sun.
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Re: NASA: update on possible earthlike planets

Postby M1k3_Nix » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:07 pm UTC

Link has been linked for you :)
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Re: NASA: update on possible earthlike planets

Postby Nerd Mike » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:20 pm UTC

Pet peeve: I wish that when they talked about life on other planets, news organizations would remember to qualify it as "recognizable life" or "life as we know it." It's a little thing, but if they'd remember to say it, then I'd quit having to add it manually in my head.
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Re: NASA: update on possible earthlike planets

Postby userxp » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:45 pm UTC

The first extrasolar planet was found in 1988 (just 23 years 4 months ago). Since then we have confirmed about 708 of them, not counting the 2,326 candidates of the Kepler mission.
I wouldn't bet on Kepler 22b being habitable, but I'd be very surprised if we didn't find a few dozens (or a few thousands) of earth-like planets in the next century :) .
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Re: NASA: update on possible earthlike planets

Postby mfb » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:28 am UTC

I think that is a bit pessimistic.
Kepler should find a few dozens earth-like planets within the next years. Gaia can increase that number, maybe some are added from the Automated Planet Finder or other observations. And that is just the second decade of our current century.
Within ~10 years, the sensitivity got better by at least an order of magnitude. Current observations are just scratching the edge. Imagine what could happen with the next generation of telescopes.
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