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Gleise 581g; does it exist and could it harbor life?

  1. Nov 9, 2011 #1
    my previous post about using nuclear power to travel near or at the speed of light was solely inspired by gleise581g. this system being relatively close at 20.5 LY away, which with current propulsion technology would take around 300,000 earth years to travel there. although this extrasolar planet has had alot of uncertainty about its existing, from what i have read it was recent confirmed. this 'super-earth' is about one and a half times the size of our own planet meaning that its gravity would be similar. the star gleise 581 is about the third of the size of our sun but because gleise 581g is much closer in comparison to our earth and sun, it is considered to be in the middle of the habitable zone as far as not too hot and not too cold. the importance of that is that because its temp on average is about 20 cooler than earth's (without atmospheric effects) is that it could be able to retain surface water. and since it is similar in size its magnetic feild would be able to hold a thick enough atmosphere to protect the planet, which is very important because gleise 581g is tidally locked with its sun, this meaning its year and day are the same and there is always a dark and a light side, but with a dense enough atmosphere it would be able to disperse heat evenly across the planet. with all of the above considered it sounds like this planet is our best chance of finding any kind of life intelligent or not. but before we hurry to pack our bags we have a huge obstical to overcome. that obstacle is the way we travel through space, currently scientists worldwide are developing new methods of propulsion, some say nuclear is the future, others say Electromagnetic pulse is. regardless this is a huge problem for us to overcome before we can even think about visiting E.T.
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  3. Nov 9, 2011 #2


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    A very interesting find if it turns out to be a confirmed planet.
  4. Nov 9, 2011 #3


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    Geoff Marcy is someone whose judgment and intelligence I have a special respect for. One of the first to discover exoplanets. An early developer of the wobble method. In the 1990s I talked with him in his office and attended lectures by him. Does that mean anything? Maybe just that I am biased. If that's the case, so be it. I'll go by Marcy's word on this.

    "It's a goner." He does not think the case for 581g has been proven.

    Here's a bit with an interview with Marcy, but not about this particular Gliese581 thing.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  5. Nov 9, 2011 #4


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    Van, about spreading life to exoplanets, what seems to me to be the critical technology is robotics.

    We need a form of conscious life that is not so picky about where it can live and reproduce.
    should not be so dependent on earthlike atmosphere and liquid water. should be just as happy in dry vacuum conditions, or methane atmosphere.

    should also be able to sleep for 1000 years and wake up fresh as a daisy to take care of business. Better tolerance of ionizing radiation would be nice too.

    Earth life forms are not very well-adapted for space colonization. So we need to invent some better-adapted "children". My two cents.
  6. Nov 10, 2011 #5
    Marcus, i believe robotics, and the advancement in robotics is the worst thing humans could engineer. i think that when we decide to make our mark across the milkyway and beyond we'll have to make our evironments more suitable, e.i. terra forming. humans are just so evolutionary advanced that we have adapted to a perfect environment where we have specific needs. in fact there may be life alot closer than we expect, take saturns moon titan. there are confirmed methane and ethane lakes rivers and seas. this is what earth was considered to be like early in its life. you gotta look at space and time as the same thing to understand how long the timeline and vast the distance really are, bottom line we are along way from taking any kind of population off this planet.
  7. Nov 10, 2011 #6
    Enceledas; saturns other moon is in fact much more likely to harbour life than Titan as it is suspected of having HUGE amounts of liquid water.

    Terraforming is a nice idea but technologically extremely difficult. I fear Marcus is right and any real exploration/colonisation is more likely to be undertaken by VonNeumann probes than manned spacecraft.

    @Marcus I dont think we need conscious "life" - just conscious "intelligence" and I think their can be a small but clear distinction between the two
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  8. Nov 10, 2011 #7
    i have read about enceledas as well and both moons are mainly ice meaning they both would have harvestable water. but these moons do not volcanic activity which is fundamental in generating oxygen/carbon dioxide. and yes we will probly never leave this planet before our race is extinct but regardless i think robotics is a bad desicion because everyone will want a robot and theyll want the smartest one which will fuel there advancement until they become smart enough to realize our way is wrong. then we are doomed. but that's very much off topic.
  9. Nov 10, 2011 #8


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    Bear in mind that whether or not Gliese581g exists, there are almost certainly a lot of planets out there that are potentially habitable. Check out the Kepler mission site for a list of the recent discoveries. (http://archive.stsci.edu/kepler/planet_candidates.html or http://kepler.nasa.gov/). Also check out this paper: (http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.4682v1), where the author claims, based on the Kepler data, "Thus about one-third of FGK stars are predicted to have at least one terrestrial, habitable-zone planet. "

    As far as getting to one of them, it will take a while. I could envision sending out robotic probes in the next few centuries that could report back in 1000 years or so. Maybe by then we could have self-contained colony ships that could travel to the nearest stars in a few centuries. Or maybe we could engineer life-forms better adapted to survive different environments, as Marcus suggested. If we take a long-term view of this endeavor - centuries and millenia, then it does not look impossible, as some on this forum have suggested.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  10. Nov 10, 2011 #9
    I have read the list of planets found by kepler and its astounding to think that out of the billions of stars 30 percent could have habitable planets. i also found that figure breathtaking. all of these new developments have been so compelling and i agree with the time scale on this matter unless something drastic happens that would hasten this progress but until that happens this is just going to be the most talked about and most suspensful subject in science.
  11. Nov 10, 2011 #10
    Enceladus is theorised to have salt water under its crust. In fact there is evidence at the moment suggesting that their is an entire ocean under its outer crust!

    In my opionion great endeavour should be made towards investigating Enceladus as the most likely place in our solar system to harbour life!
  12. Nov 10, 2011 #11
    we should begin to put more effort into exploring and testing on both enceladus and titan, both are very intriguing and would be very miraculous if in fact they did harbor any kind of life. because from there we can begin devising ways to make it more habitable for humans. one idea i have came up with is creating man made atmospheres inside almost a large bubble, this could regulate weather and temperature and also be able to sustain farming and other industries. i know this sounds straight out of sci-fi channel but if it were plausable it would be a great way to disperse our population.
  13. Nov 10, 2011 #12
    Biodomes are a very old idea and I can assure you have been developed and studied thoroughly. Also why would you begin terraforming those planets it makes little sense?

    If we found additional life on a planet then we should do NOTHING to that planet and let the planet takes its natural evolution. If we terraform a planet with any organisms whatsoever on - we will be changing the natural habitat and probably causing genocide.

    The best planets to terraform are ones with similar to earth conditions - not ones that harbour different life. Terraforming in itself is an IMMENSE undertaking, probably as difficult as travelling to the nearest "earthlike" planet.
  14. Nov 10, 2011 #13
    thats true but you dont hear of biodomes as much anymore, and i agree we should stick with the planet we have, but human instinct is to expand and develop regardless of right or wrong we cant change the way our society has accepted the method of developing everything we think of. but if earth were in immediate peril i have a feeling that some of these things would be considered especially terraforming or biodoming other planets/moons in our solar system.
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