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Pack your bags! NASA spots SEVEN nearby Earth-sized alien worlds

This post has been deleted by a moderator

This post has been deleted by a moderator

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Pint

Trappist?

Does that mean it has beer?

Woohoo!

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Pint

Re: Trappist?

It would be nice if they could name each planet after a Trappist beer.

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Re: Trappist?

Belgian astroboffins, nuff said

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IT Angle

I tried the "travel poster" link and it shows the message "Web application could not be started" along with all sorts of info like the application root directory, environment variables, user and group info, ruby config settings, and load and library paths. To me that's like showing phpinfo() for a crashed php page. Why would it do this?

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@sjsmoto

Because someone has debugging turned on like a knob.

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Does the knob go to 11?

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works now... using palemoon..

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So... in a thousand years when we are all dead, someone else will get to go check it all out. Great.

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JLV
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Joke

I'd rather sit it out for a while. Or at least until I change out of today's red shirt.

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Someone will be beaming "mars attacks" and soapie TV shows to them by now. We're all doomed

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They might be thinking the same thing after they see that nonsense.

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Unhappy

Grr. Some back of envelope maths, and I can't fit these planets into the Titius-Bode sequence. This annoys me. Still, there could be missing bodies, or other information we don't have (yet) that will change that.

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Well, this will be a very good test to see if that hypothesis holds up (and it is only a hypothesis). The interesting thing is that the planets are close enough together that Spitzer can detect variations in their orbits every time they pass in front of the star. There's a lot of interaction, yet they have very likely been in stable orbits for billions of years.

One thing's for sure. We're going to learn a ton of orbital mechanics and planetary science just from this one system alone, and now we know where to look, we're going to find a lot more like it.

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Orbits

They do have interesting resonant orbits.

The "goldilocks" zone might be too close to star, so planet(s) might be tidally locked or periodically hit by solar flares. Both mitigate against life.

The Talmud suggests there are 18,000 planets with life. Given number of stars in the Milky Way, that might be a serious under-estimate.

We are only at the beginning of this kind of search. The James Webb telescope will allow search for biological or industrial activity via better spectroscopic analysis.

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Angel

Frame dragging

Too bad they're all tidally locked. We need Superman to fly around them all really really fast to apply some decent angular momentum. That works, right?

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Terminator

Re: Frame dragging

Nah, you just settle down around the Terminator and keep commuting between the dark and lit side daily - such a precious opportunity to define your own arbitrarily long diurnal cycle should be cherished, not squandered! (NO, not that terminator... -->)

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Re: Frame dragging

You could do that here if you "settled" far enough north. or south.

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bep

Tides and stuff

Isn't part of the current theory of why advanced life evolved here that the tides, night and day and the seasons were important. These planets will lack all that. So maybe bacteria, Fred the chimp not so much?

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Re: Tides and stuff

Those planets are close enough together that tides will be ... interesting.

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Re: Tides and stuff

Pretty sure our magnetic field is also important, I wonder if any of these planets* have magnetic fields?

*not actually planets according to the official definition.

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Holmes

Re: Tides and stuff

Not necessarily - in a system that crowded you may have one or more with large enough satellites to prevent it from being tidal locked to the star.

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Re: Tides and stuff

It's very hard to put any meat on any hypothesis when you're working with a sample of one -- Earth. Those who favor the "rare earth hypothesis" will point to all the factors that created Earth's environment, from the large moon, plate tectonics, Jupiter's role in sweeping up the debris in the inner Solar System, the Sun's stability, and on and on.

But, in reality, it's all conjecture until we have more sample data to work with, since we don't yet even have a clear understanding of the events that led to abiogenesis here on Earth. We don't know which conditions are required, which conditions simply improve the chances, and which conditions have no impact. If life on Earth got started among the deep ocean fumaroles as some scientists propose, it could reduce the number of required conditions quite considerably, given the protective covering of miles of water.

That doesn't really help when considering the advent of intelligent life, but one step at a time...!

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Re: Tides and stuff

Very important for protection but then their star is a weak flame indeed compared to our own.

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Mushroom

Re: Tides and stuff

"Isn't part of the current theory of why advanced life evolved here "

Considering society today with the bigotry, wars, religious fanaticism and cults, "our" love of social media, reality TV shows, soap operas. Economic markets that are not economic. Leaders who can't lead, managers who can't manage. Politics worldwide that enables the incompetent to rise to the top and where ignorance is no barrier to bending policies and laws to your viewpoint.

The argument can be made that it still hasn't.

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44 million years for a jet to get there

If a US airline was operating that flight they'd still only serve a snack.

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vir
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Re: 44 million years for a jet to get there

Plus a good couple of million years on the tarmac waiting for the de-icing truck to arrive.

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Angel

Re: 44 million years for a jet to get there

And why a jet? Silly idea, there's no air in space for the fuel to burn.

Use a C5 instead, at least you can attach some solar panels to recharge the battery on the way.

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Boffin

Re: 44 million years for a jet to get there

Not an awful lot of sunlight out there! Most of the way,anyway.

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Facepalm

Re: 44 million years for a jet to get there

Damn it you're right! So three, maybe four days longer?

I'll pack some extra sandwiches.

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Re: 44 million years for a jet to get there

I suspect one would like to get there before the Universe ends in heat death...

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Re: 44 million years for a jet to get there

As long as there are lemon-soaked paper napkins

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Windows

Re: 44 million years for a jet to get there

Kids these days, no patience, it's all rush rush rush!

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Anonymous Coward

I always love the way people assume life evolved on earth. No prebiotic soup, inhospitable conditions and not enough time. Plus we can't actually make a cell WITH intelligent design let alone without it. Then we have the problem of how error correcting coding in DNA got there by chance. Philosophically those clinging to the Darwinian model are no better than someone observing a firing squad of a million shooters all missing the condemned man and insisting they did so by chance... and please before some Dawkins fanboy trots out the mantra ' but evolution is a fact' please remember that the only field tests of bacterial evolution show that any animal over 4kg will not produce enough beneficial mutations to explain the rapid speciation in the fossil record.

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Really, a creationist?

Deny it all you like, but evolution *is* a fact. There is more than enough evidence for evolution for that fact to be non-controversial expect with people with a religious agenda. Your efforts -- and indeed, the efforts of the entire Creationist community -- are as effective as trying to demolish Mount Everest with a spoon.

By the way, not too long ago, people like you were poo-pooing the idea that there were billions of other planets in the galaxy. That turned out well...

Back to the subject in hand. It's way to early to know whether there is a chance life exists on these freshly discovered planets. First we have to detect and analyze the gases in their atmospheres (if any) and then we will have to figure out what we find could have been the byproduct of life as opposed to non-biological chemical processes.

This is an important discovery, but there is still a long way to go and a lot of hard work ahead for NASA scientists and other astronomers. Meanwhile Creationists will do what they do best -- remain armchair critics.

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vir
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Good troll. 4/5.

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Facepalm

@ AC

"we can't actually make a cell WITH intelligent design"

FYI We're more than half way there.

"let alone without it"

If you provide an Earth sized laboratory and the funds to run it for a few dozen million years, then you can be pretty sure lots of those cells will be created, and without any Intelligent Design involved.

"Then we have the problem of how error correcting coding in DNA got there by chance"

In exactly the same way other characteristics of living beings got there, that is, through chance and Evolution. Pre-biotic evolution in this case.

"please remember that the only field tests of bacterial evolution show that any animal over 4kg will not produce enough beneficial mutations to explain the rapid speciation in the fossil record."

Citation required, and not a citation from some Creationist hellholeecho room, please. While you are at it, please explain also how the Hell you translate "bacterial evolution over a few decades" into "any animal bigger than 4Kg over millions of years". TY in advance.

I know that educating the wilfully ignorant is impossible, but there is a small chance some young/innocent reader might be misled by your BS, so I'm posting this answer to your comment in order to minimize that risk.

Have a nice day.

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I'm not sure I'd give it 4/5, it's just not that original, but it's kind of exciting to come across a real live creationist in the comments of El Reg.

If we're all nice and quiet, and don't move about too much, he might not be scared away, and we can observe him to see how the Creationist lives in the wild.

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Bronze badge

>we can observe him to see how the Creationist lives in the wild.

And which member of the flock is the Creationist? Oh, I see! Never mind.

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Devil

Next on Thrust:

All brontosauruses are thin at one end, much much thicker in the middle and then thin again at the far end.'

'That is my theory, it is mine and belongs to me, and I own it and what it is, too.'

Anne Elk

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JLV
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Facepalm

Yup, all this scientific hypothesizing is waaaay less credible than this little jewel, straight outta the Good Book:

http://creation.com/kangaroos-dinosaurs-and-eden

We are also told in Genesis 1:29-30 that Adam and Eve, and all the animals, were to have vegetarian diets. So T. rex was originally a herbivore!

I see you are in good company, Sir Ignoramus!

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T-rex was just an easter egg silly!

A pretend skeleton put in the ground for shits and giggles

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Evolution is a *fact*no matter what alternative creationists might want to fantasise about; there is enough proof all around you if you would just take your creationist blindfold off.

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Mushroom

> No prebiotic soup, inhospitable conditions and not enough time.

i.e. one damp packet of minestrone, a draughty workshop and a kettle that takes for sodding ever to boil.

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Holy Moly!!

Has anyone else read that link that JLV put up? It's awesome. I haven't had such a good laugh in ages.

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Anonymous Coward

"The enormous power of the telescope will enable astronomers to see into the atmospheres of the planets and look for evidence of oxygen, ozone and methane – considered possible signs of life – and will also calculate their temperatures. [...]"

The planets' sun is a "cool" one (as in temperature) - so the telescope will have a clearer view of the planets than it would for a sun like ours.

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Alien

12 Parsecs away?

Why, that's just enough time to do a Kessel run.

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