Kepler Team Finds New Habitable Zone Planets

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this is cool, now we need to invent the warp drive. Then we need to invent SBUs so we can go take their systems over.
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This is awesome.
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Very cool news. Keep in mind there is no guarantee there is actually liquid water on any of them though. The graphic for our own solar system is instructive : Both Venus and Mars are within the habitable zone, but due to a runaway greenhouse effect (Venus) and the lack of a decent atmosphere (Mars) they're not actually habitable.
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Don't worry too much, all those things should come in less than 25 thousand years.Oh, and I can't wait to see irl goonswarm.
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It's amazing how quickly space discoveries are being made. It's a great time to be a space junkie.
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Barely made it to the moon, and we're already trying to grind SOV war. We're hopeless D:
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Wow This is amazing news! Time to give NASA more funding!
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You know the other option for some of the closer planets Kepler has found is to take a long term view of mission planning. I am sure it would be possible to build at low cost (low cost is a relative term I know) a mission probe that could reach some of the closer Kepler worlds in 80-120 years and beam reports back where the transmissions would not take longer than 3-15 years to reach us. This would mean a launch, travel time and first feedback 100-150 years for the info. Considering that many of the classical gardeners planned and planted gardens that would take a similar time to reach the desired look, the time frame I mention is not inconceivable Besides which, any expansion to other stars is the future we hold for our children and grandchildren. Why not start the scouting on their behalf now? It could even be funded with donations from children around the world each contributing pennies (or the local equivalent) and the design work being done by Universities as graduate engineering practical exams to keep costs down.
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I have always come to a philosophical problem whenever I discuss the possibility of a habitable planet. If we assume three factors for a planet: receives ample amount of energy (in the form of light and heat) from its star, has an atmosphere (does not matter the gas/chemical makeup) that is capable of producing enough pressure to hold major gasses in itself (for example our planet releases hydrogen and helium but contains larger gases), and the planet is within the habitable zone. Now that we know the planet is habitable and it can sustain life; can we not assume that the life on that planet could evolve to not need water and even be non carbon based? I say this because of the work that Miller-Urey did to show that compounds can be made in a atmosphere such as early earth. If there are different chemicals, or if different compounds are made and they survive; could we not assume that the life produced could evolve and be based on something like Nitrogen?
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nice, moar planets for goons to conquer. Now the question is do they have technitium on then?
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It's possible that life could have evolved using a different chemical makeup than life on Earth. A frequently mentioned alternative for carbon is silicon, because it too can form the kind of complex molecules that are required to store the information contained in a DNA molecule. Water might also not be required, although given how every lifeform on earth depends on it, such lifeforms would be hard for us to imagine.Some possibilities that are considered are creatures floating in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter, or a low-energy ecosystem living in the liquid methane environment on Saturn's moon Titan. Until we actually send a probe there though, all of this is conjecture.As a species, we've only very recently begun to explore space, and we know very, very little about the nature, requirements, and abundance of life beyond the Earth. So we start our search by looking for extrasolar planets that are like our own. It also helps that there's something emotionally appealing about the thought that there might be a twin of the Earth out there, somewhere in the sky.

It’s an exciting time to be a nerd interested in space.

Since April 2009, the Kepler satellite has been watching a small patch of sky for the telltale signs of stars that wobble or are eclipsed by orbiting planets. To date, it has identified 2,740 planet candidates and 122 confirmed extrasolar planets. The search for planets that could harbor life has picked up pace since the mission started, and they have made another leap forward today. On April 18th, NASA’s Kepler Mission team announced the discovery of several new planets that lie within their sun’s habitable zones and could harbor the conditions favorable for sustaining surface water.

The Kepler-62 system consists of five planets, two of which (Kepler-62e and 62f) are in orbit within the habitable zone. The Kepler-62 system is interesting in that the star is smaller and cooler than our sun, therefore the zone in which liquid water may be present on its planets is closer to the star. Kepler-62’s two habitable zone planets are actually the outer planets in the system, with three inner planets much closer to their star. Kepler-62f, the outermost planet - the closest analog yet found for Earth within a habitable zone - is only 40% larger than our planet. Kepler 62e is slightly larger, at approximately 60% larger than Earth. It might be a little early to start planning a vacation, as the Kepler-62 system is nearly 1,200 light years away from our own. While it's an interesting case that will help answer questions about how common earth-like planets are in our galaxy, it’s unlikely that we will be visiting anytime soon.

 

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The third announced planet, Kepler-69c, is alone in the habitable zone of Kepler-69. However, it compensates for its crippling loneliness by being roughly 70% larger than Earth. Its sun is similar in ours, but the early indications suggest that conditions on its surface might resemble those on Venus. I would recommend SPF-400 and a sturdy spacecraft that won’t buckle under the pressure. Kepler-69 is even further away from Earth than Kepler-62, at approximately 2,700 light-years.

 

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These discoveries are exciting, as they show progress and refinement in the search for extrasolar planets. In only a few years the ability for skywatchers to identify planets has grown in leaps and bounds. The data that Kepler is collecting will continue to feed scientific inquiry and hopefully inspire new generations to find planets that could someday be reachable by mankind.

For more information, visit the Kepler Mission Page.

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A long-time tabletop and video game fan, MintFrog's antics offer no good explanation for why he hasn't yet been eaten by wolves.