Kepler mission announces possibly habitable planets found (18 April)

  1. marcus

    marcus 24,743
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2014 Award

    http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/...g-splash-with-possibly-habitable-super-earths

    Just announced 18 April. "Kepler-mission-makes-big-splash-with-possibly-habitable-super-earths".

    These are in constellation Lyra. I can't evaluate how definite or reliable this is, but some readers may want to check it out.


    Here is a YouTube by a scientist at Heidelberg MPI, named Lisa Kaltenegger. It's fairly informative.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5rW70-HnhA&feature=player_embedded
    The star is smaller and much cooler than our sun, so it would probably be reddish color. The planets are most likely rocky, with water, and might be entirely covered with ocean (no dry land).

    It's not a place one would want to go :-D but it might turn out to be very interesting to study. Kaltenegger is a specialist in exoplanet atmospheres. She apparently thinks that it will eventually be possible to learn something about the atmospheres surrounding these planets. That would be a key to determining their temperature,and whether or not they could support life.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    If it would be an option... why not?
    Spectroscopy of exoplanet atmospheres is one of the major goals of E-ELT.
     
  4. Thanks for the link. The amount of planets were discovering habitable or not is going up at an exponential rate.
     
  5. marcus

    marcus 24,743
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2014 Award

    Mfb mentions the European Extremely Large Telescope, thanks Mfb!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Extremely_Large_Telescope

    40 meter diameter reflector, to be placed at 3 km altitude on mountain in Chile.

    I would say that 5-minute YouTube by Lisa Kaltenegger represents a strong public argument for supporting the construction of E-ELT (not cheap, will cost about one billion euro)


    Around 50 seconds into the first minute, at 0:51, she talks about detecting "signs of life" in the atmosphere of exoplanets. The presence of life would tend to affect the chemical composition of the atmosphere, so if you can do spectroscopy, see absorption lines etc, at a distance, and determine the chemical composition, it may be able to tell you about the presence of life.

    The star "Kepler-62" is a K2 Dwarf, temperature would be 4400-4900 kelvin, I guess, based on table VII of this source http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1981A&AS...46..193H , if someone else has a better temperature table for types of stars please post the link.

    Nasa has a newsletter about this.
    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/18apr_habitablezone/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  6. reenmachine

    reenmachine 524
    Gold Member

    Very interesting.It seems they keep finding more and more planets that are in the habitable zone.Anybody else quietly thinking we might even discover signs of extra-terrestrial life in our lifetime?

    Without getting too philosophical , would that be the greatest discovery in the history of mankind?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  7. Wow. Look at all these planets we can't go to.
    *quitely hoping that a better propulsion mechanism is achievable by humankind*
     
  8. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    I think we have a reasonable chance for the first time in human history.
    I see spaceflight and [computers and the internet] are competitors. At least the second one is required for the discovery of extraterrestrial life, however.

    Or ~2 € per inhabitant of the participating states.
     
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