In another step toward finding
alien lifeforms who will teach us lots about really clever stuff like time travel and teleporters Earth-like planets that may support life similar to thsat found onb earth, NASA has announced the Kepler space telescope has confirmed observing its first-ever planet in a habitable zone outside our solar system.
Confirmation means that astronomers have seen it crossing in front of its star three times. But it doesn’t mean that astronomers know whether life actually exists there, simply that the conditions are right. What they have seen might be the Midgard Serpent chasing it’s own tail for all they know.
Potential life bearing planets have to be the right distance from their star to support water, plus have a suitable temperature range and atmospheric composition to support life. And if they are to support inteligent life there are other things that must be in place; Television, pubs, a beer making industry, a welfare state system and football stadiums.
“We have now got good planet confirmation with Kepler-22b,” said Bill Borucki, Kepler principal investigator at NASA Ames Research Center told media representatives. “We are certain that it is in the habitable zone and if it has a surface, it ought to have a nice temperature”.
Spinning around its star some 600 light years away, Kepler-22b is 2.4 times the size of the Earth, putting it in class known as “super-Earths,” and orbits its Sun-like star every 290 days. Its near-surface temperature is presumed to be about 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius). Scientists do not know, however, whether the planet is rocky, gaseous or liquid. Ah well gaseous could be a bit of a problem unless the life forms are like Amoeba Constabulae. In which case our first explorers would be able to say, “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it.)
It should be mentioned that a light year is the distance travelled by light at 186,000 miles a second, in one Earth year. So obviously the scientists know there are lifeforms there because with super dooper radio telescopes they can see the little green buggers waving to us. But at that distance we will never see them with the naked eye. Let’s hop Santa Claus brings us all some good binoculars.
The planet’s first “transit,” or star crossover, was observed shortly after NASA launched its Kepler spacecraft in March 2009.
Kepler is NASA’s first mission in search of Earth-like planets orbiting suns similar to ours, and has so far cost the US space agency about $600 million.
But these are exciting times for
Trekkies Astronomers; this is the fourth “first” earth – like planet discovered in the past two years (OK, I admit one was only a maybe).
Kepler is searching for planets as small as Earth, including those orbiting stars in a warm, habitable zone where liquid water could exist on the surface of the planet. In addition to French astronomers’ confirmed finding of Gliese 581d in May, Swiss astronomers reported in August that another planet, HD 85512 b, about 36 light years away seemed to be in the habitable zone of its star.
However, those two planets are “orbiting stars smaller and cooler than our Sun,” NASA said in a statement, noting that Kepler-22b “is the smallest yet found to orbit in the middle of the habitable zone of a star similar to our Sun.” In other words these guys have no idea if any of the possible life supporting planets could actually support life. And as show above it wll be quite some time before we can get there so all they will have to go on is guesswork, supposition and wishful thinking.
Once again we at Boggart Blog feel the scientists are so lost up their own equations they are missing the point. The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, is that none of it has tried to visit us yet.
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