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Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Nearby, Sun-Like Star

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-for-one dept.

Space 242

likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."

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242 comments

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But are they filled with Super Men? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436088)

And if so, where do I get my kryptonite?

mmmm (2, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436098)

61 virgins...... drool.....

Re:mmmm (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436170)

Dream on, you're on Slashdot.

Re:mmmm (5, Informative)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436260)

How's that? I'm sure that it's possible to find at least 61 virgins on /. In fact, I think you are the right place if you're looking for virgins.

Re:mmmm (3, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436282)

I never said I was straight.

of course since it's the internet, I'm actually a 12/f/CA.

Re:mmmm (5, Funny)

Kugrian (886993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436662)

/me puts on his robe and wizard hat.

Oh, so you're an FBI agent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30437190)

> of course since it's the internet, I'm actually a 12/f/CA.

Really?? You work for the FBI!?

Re:mmmm (1)

PDX (412820) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436772)

Are there any websites dedicated to ending virginity of such blighted individuals? Many women refer to it as ending a drought.

72-Virginis (2, Informative)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437024)

Osama Bin Laden may be hiding in neighboring star system, 72-Virginis

Re:mmmm (0, Flamebait)

crhylove (205956) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437006)

Please be quiet about all the virgins, next thing you know slashdot will be overrun with arabs packing high explosive!

Re:mmmm (5, Funny)

TheEmpyrean (788742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436454)

61 Virgins? Can I trade them for 8 slutty broads that know what they're doing?

Re:mmmm (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436952)

sure. the diseases are a free bonus.

Re:mmmm (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30437176)

Else you could teach the virgins what you like and help them develop their own tastes, that way you quite literally have a hand-picked assortment of women that live by your will.

Think outside the box next time.

Re:mmmm (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437252)

Else you could teach the virgins what you like and help them develop their own tastes

FWIW, the two major inputs to their tastes are diet and sanitary practices. I heard vegans taste better.

(Just trying to think outside the box)

Re:mmmm (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437218)

If you've got 61 virgins to trade, I'm sure someone on here could hook you up with 8 hookers in no time flat.

Re:mmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436564)

So the story about 72 Virgins may not be too far fetched after all!!!

I don't know why I did, but... (1)

HideyoshiJP (1392619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436106)

I read that as "...were found to be orbiting 61 Virginians..."

Yes, nearby (4, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436118)

Yes, a mere 28 light years away. So all we need to do is get in the fastest spacecraft we've ever built and we can be there in just about 150,000 years.

Who's coming with me?!?!?

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

elysiuan (762931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436146)

Not so much a problem for the folks on the spacecraft, relativity can make the journey very manageable for them. They better not think about returning home to see Grandma though...

Re:Yes, nearby (4, Funny)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436188)

Not so much a problem for the folks on the spacecraft, relativity can make the journey very manageable for them. They better not think about returning home to see Grandma though...

So space will be colonized by people with dysfunctional families?

Re:Yes, nearby (3, Funny)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436284)

So space will be colonized by people with dysfunctional families?

Sorry folks, planet's closed. The six legged moose like creature out front should have told you.

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436338)

Sorry folks, planet's closed. The six legged moose like creature out front should have told you.

We shall take this planet from Moose and Squirrel.

Re:Yes, nearby (3, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436366)

Why should space be any different?

Re:Yes, nearby (5, Funny)

beefnog (718146) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436202)

What'd probably happen is about five years (as the travelers perceive it) after launch we'll develop faster-than-light travel and interrupt their journey. Or maybe just let them ride it out as a curious time capsule to cruise by and show buttcheek to.

Re:Yes, nearby (5, Funny)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437078)

That's no moon...

Re:Yes, nearby (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436220)

What relativistic effects are you expecting at .0002c ?

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

beefnog (718146) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436286)

Quit thinking in terms of chemical rockets. Put something massive in orbit, then attach ion engines and say best of luck.

Re:Yes, nearby (2, Funny)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436950)

No guidance systems? Interesting idea...

Re:Yes, nearby (4, Informative)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437110)

That is an ion engine. My back-of-envelope calculations say that accelerating to .0002c and back to rest requires an Isp of about 5300 if you assume a mass ratio of 10:1. (Which is about as high as you can expect with current technology.) You can do a little better with staging, but not orders-of-magnitude better.

If you can improve your Isp to, say, 50,000, which is well beyond current technology, then you could accelerate to almost 0.002c. Relativistic effects won't be really evident until well over 0.2c (at that speed it's only a 2% time dilation). We're not close to rockets that can attain such speeds.

Improving the mass ratio is even less helpful, btw, since that's a logarithmic factor. An Isp of 50,000 with a mass ratio of 100 still only gets you to 0.004c. I suppose it's conceivable that an interstellar ship that needed almost no structure could have an extremely high mass ratio, but you can see how ridiculously high it has to be to matter.

The only way we're going to send starships at relativistic speeds is to use (i) some form of non-rocket propulsion, like solar sails or those reactionless Casimir-effect thrusters or some other exotic method, (ii) something with a truly enormous Isp. Current ion engine tech tops out at about 30,000 s, and even nuclear pulse tops out at 100,000 s.

Re:Yes, nearby (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436344)

At .0002c, it would take about 14000 years to get there, but the lucky astronauts would only experience 13999.99972 years. Sign me up!

Re:Yes, nearby (5, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436236)

Not so much a problem for the folks on the spacecraft, relativity can make the journey very manageable for them.

I think we're a long way off building a spaceship that can achieve the speeds where that effect would make any difference.

Re:Yes, nearby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436538)

'Get out and push' is always an option.

Re:Yes, nearby (3, Interesting)

Judinous (1093945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436552)

We aren't as far off as you think. What's important is being able to constantly accelerate during the journey. Slow and steady acceleration wins the race. You're not going to do that with a chemical rocket, but with an on-board nuclear reactor and a few advancements in ion propulsion or vacuum propellers, we could make the trip. We could easily launch a probe to start making the journey in the next five years, if we allocated the budget to do so. Humans could make the trip as well, given the right accommodations--only a few years would be passing on-board. None of the technology to do this is very far-fetched at all, but we just aren't willing to spend the money.

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436682)

"None of the technology to do this is very far-fetched at all, but we just aren't willing to spend the money." But what would be the point? There is something to be said for pure science but we can usually expect some sort of positive result even from science that lacks immediate application. But given relativistic effects, how long until any science comes home? By that point we may well have discovered anything the astronauts managed to find "out there".

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

Judinous (1093945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436836)

It will be a long time until any of the science from the target planet comes home. It will almost immediately begin delivering useful data in the meantime, however. There are a lot of things to see on the way out of the solar system, and a lot of interesting data to be gathered during the journey.

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436994)

I assume the goal of any long-range mission would be to scout and prepare planets for colonization. If the geniuses on earth manage to come up with a wormhole generator the scouts could be picked up by the fleet as it makes its way across the universe.

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

KalAl (1391649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436712)

I was fanatizing about sending a probe with such a propulsion system, but then I realized that to us on Earth the probe would still take a long-ass time to get there. And once it finally does, any data it collects would still take us 61 years to see.

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

Judinous (1093945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436766)

That's true, but it could easily collect other data along the way. We could get some more interesting details about the outer reaches of our solar system than Voyager has provided, take pictures of parts of the sky that are obscured by other objects from our perspective, observe the CMB, etc. I'm sure that there's plenty of interesting things that we could come up with to have it do during the journey.

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437306)

Also, in another 10 years we'll be able to build a better probe that would probably overtake the one we sent now anyway...

Re:Yes, nearby (2, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436810)

Slow and steady acceleration wins the race. You're not going to do that with a chemical rocket, but with an on-board nuclear reactor and a few advancements in ion propulsion or vacuum propellers, we could make the trip. We could easily launch a probe to start making the journey in the next five years, if we allocated the budget to do so. Humans could make the trip as well, given the right accommodations--only a few years would be passing on-board.

Not so few as you might think. At 0.01G, we're talking about 100 years as measured by clocks on the ship.

If we define "a few years" as "five or less", we'd need about 1.5G constant boost to reach 61 Virgo in "a few years". Which, by the by, translates to a mass ratio of about 2700 if we're using a photon drive, or a number that's the next best thing to infinity if we're using any drive we can foresee in the next couple decades.

Re:Yes, nearby (3, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437096)

If we stick with only 1.0G, then we wouldn't need artificial gravity for the people on board. We could maintain 1.0G acceleration on the way there, then spin the ship around (so the floor is pointing towards the destination) and maintain 1.0G deceleration for the second half of the journey.

The problem is, even if that means the people on board only experience 5-25 years, how much time will pass on Earth before we found out what this exploration team discovers there? (Remember, once they get there after however many years (hundreds? thousands?), they'd have to send their data by radio at light-speed, which would take yet another 28 years.) If we were to pony up the money to finance a mission like this, we, our children, our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren would never find out the results, if any. We'd probably develop FTL in that time and have a colony already established on any viable planets in the 61 Virgo system before this team even arrived!

As far as I'm concerned, the only way any mission to another star system at low sub-light speeds makes any sense is if you're going to launch a "generation ship", a giant ship with an entire colony on board with everything needed to be self-sustaining indefinitely, so that this ship can travel from star system to star system, radioing back what it finds in each one and continuing until they find a place worth stopping at and establishing a permanent colony. But a ship like this would in itself be a major leap in technology, since we certainly don't have the capability to build such a massive space-based structure that can travel long distances through space, be self-supporting indefinitely, and able to handle any problems it might encounter (micrometeors?).

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437200)

"If we stick with only 1.0G, then we wouldn't need artificial gravity for the people on board."

Considering their new home has five earth masses at the very least, they might as well get used to 5.0G. Ouch.

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436826)

What about decelerating once we got there? That'd be kinda important, too. ;)

hold on now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436880)

you aren't thinking it all the way through...
the other half of the acceleration necessary to get somewhere is the deceleration necessary to stay.
If you do reach a speed which will get you there in a "reasonable" timeframe
you better prepare to jump out when you arrive because you will be going so fast your spaceship will not be able to stop or even linger.
your window of opportunity for doing something when you arrive will be hours/minutes at best.

Unless, of course, you spend half of the trip decelerating which tends to make it a longer trip then you were thinking in the first place.

The New Horizons Mission to Pluto using gravity assists will take 9 years to arrive. but will have only a couple of days once it gets there due to it's speed.

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436968)

No one wants to spend tons of money to send a group of people on a dangerous mission to a place that far away. Even if they survive, and assuming they can make it in their lifetimes due to relativistic effects, thousands of years will pass on Earth before we finally receive radio transmissions back from this team when they reach 61 Virginis. For all we know, during that time, someone will develop FTL technology. By the time the people inside reach their destination, they'd find an Earth colony or research station already there, would hitch a ride back home to Earth with the next FTL shuttle transport, it would be 3500CE and everyone they know would be long-dead and their mission probably forgotten about until their faces show up on the news: "Long-forgotten Earth mission to 61 Virginis found alive! News at 11" (translate this into whatever language is common 1500 years from now, probably some kind of blend of English and Mandarin).

Re:Yes, nearby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30437180)

It would be more interesting to send them on a return trip to effectively travel thousands of years in the future.

Re:Yes, nearby (2, Informative)

KitsuneSoftware (999119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437020)

Unfortunately, it's a lot further off than you think. To accelerate to near the speed of light, regardless of the method, requires an enormous level of energy: for comparison, the space shuttle (68,000 kg) going at half the speed of light will have a kinetic energy of 9.455x10^20 joules. Again, for comparison, the total solar flux of the earth is about 1.75x10^17 watts, while total human power consumption is around 16x10^12 watts.

Re:Yes, nearby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436608)

We could build something to get there if we really wanted to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstellar_travel#Proposed_methods_of_interstellar_travel [wikipedia.org]

But trying explaining that to our Congress folk with their Law backgrounds without them laughing or killing it because "we still have people going into foreclosure!"

I'm mean seriously... What's stopping us from building an anti-matter rocket? Nothing except for funding... In fact, we might have been able to make one with less money than we've spend on all of our wars in the past decade...

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437160)

Two things: money and time. Even with $1 trillion (the cost of the Iraq War) to spend on such a project, it would take some time to develop the necessary technologies, which are only theoretical at this point. Even with massive funding, it took almost a decade for the Apollo program to reach the moon, and at the point the program was begun, chemical-based rocket engines had already been invented, tested, developed, and used for numerous launches into space and for military purposes. You're talking about developing a totally different propulsion system, for which we don't have any prototypes to my knowledge. Of course, with lots of funding and commitment, it might only take a decade or two, but if we never get started we'll never get there.

But I don't see it happening in the next century or so, because there simply isn't any will by the voters to make it happen. We're more interested in financing foreign wars, and bailing out large poorly-run corporations (no, it's not just the politicians that want this, we, the people want these things too, because we keep voting for politicians who do these things).

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

trickyrickb (910871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436700)

My gut instinct is we will figure out how to put bodies into extended deepfreeze (and more importants get them out of it) well before we figure out how to get to relativistic speeds become an issue. I'd also bet that there would be no shortage of volunteers for a no going back, one way, first contact trip towards a promising star if such a technology were developed. Or perhaps post singularity, we will abandon our bodies and just all go there in a little tin can as per the excellent Creative Commons licensed story Accelerando, by Charles Stross: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/accelerando/ [antipope.org]

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

FunkyRider (1128099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436176)

Or carry human dna sequence in computer disks and rams and go there. Then rebuild those DNA to born new human beings! At least 'The Scientists' say so!

Cheetos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436444)

Your bringing the Cheetos right?

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436842)

Yes, a mere 28 light years away. So all we need to do is get in the fastest spacecraft we've ever built and we can be there in just about 150,000 years.

I suggest we go faster than that. It'll only take me 18,000 years to properly pimp out my hardcore Diablo character. What am I going to do with the rest of the time?

Re:Yes, nearby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30437086)

Diablo 2?

Re:Yes, nearby (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437166)

Is there another version of Diablo that has hardcore characters?

Re:Yes, nearby (2, Insightful)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437270)

Compared to that, the Starbucks in Mississippi is "nearby" if you walk. I mean REALLY nearby.

I'm kinda tired of the "like Earth" suggestions with 15G gravity, or oxygen with sulfuric acid or something.

Guys...really...no place close. No place suitable. Space exploration is dead only on TV.

This is irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436138)

In 6 months, Google will launch their own Super-Earth.

Re:This is irrelevant (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436848)

Yeah, but it will be in Beta for a few light years... and you have to get invited first.

fat (2, Interesting)

dumuzi (1497471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436148)

A more massive Earth is no good, if I go there I will be hundreds of pounds (unless the planet's radii are more then 2.5 and 2.7 times greater then Earths). I want a smaller Earth to visit so my BMI calculation will no longer show me to be obese. Let me know when you find something with about 0.8 of Earths gravity.

Some water would be nice too.

Re:fat (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436280)

BMI calculates mass, not weight.

Re:fat (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436544)

That depends on the density of the planet.

A core made of materials with lower density than liquid iron and nickel could be larger but of overall less mass. The result would be a bigger planet with the same or lower gravity.

Fishy... (3, Funny)

chocomilko (1544541) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436154)

Hey! I thought it was supposed to be 70 Virginis.

Something tells me that these astronomers are keeping Virginis 1 through 9 to themselves. Grab your torches and pitchforks, kids.

Re:Fishy... (1)

jornak (1377831) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436204)

It's 72 virgins. Get it right.

Re:Fishy... (1)

Zantac69 (1331461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436226)

So what does that have to do with 72 trekie fan bois?

Re:Fishy... (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436270)

They would be the virginis that are being talked about. Please try to keep up!

Re:Fishy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436642)

it was 72. but with the financial crisis, they had to lay off the surgeons specialized in hymen reconstruction.

Re:Fishy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436258)

Must've been some kind of tax on that......

Re:Fishy... (3, Funny)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436318)

You're mistaken. Virgins one through nine ARE the scientists.

Re:Fishy... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436414)

Virgins one through nine ARE the scientists.

Then I would like to be paired with 7 of 9. I always thought she was hot!

dissapointing (5, Interesting)

jocabergs (1688456) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436212)

High gravity + Close to its star = big fat, sweaty alien women.

  I'll get excited when we find a planet about 93 million miles away from its star, the proper solar light properties for blue skin and near earth gravity. I've always had a thing for blue skinned alien girls.

Re:dissapointing (1)

tekproxy2 (1386447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436970)

I should like to think that at least one planet with actual sexy blue-skinned aliens will be discovered precisely for that reason because that is a really, really good idea.

Re:dissapointing (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437112)

I for one, am a little nervous about meeting our flying, heat-vision-wielding overlords from Super-Earth.

Mr Shatner! (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437140)

I've always had a thing for blue skinned alien girls.

Mr Shatner, I didn't realise you were a slashdot user! Nice to talk to you! Please don't write any more Star Trek films though. Star Trek V was enough.

Re:dissapointing (1)

rcamans (252182) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437298)

Oh, sure. Big, fat, sweaty alien women are about as close to a real date as you're going to get, buddy. Better jump on that wagon before it leaves town.

Wow, a confirmation (4, Informative)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436262)

Why is everyone surprised that super-earths are orbiting other stars? I've always wondered that.

Anyway in case anyone hasn't RTFA (or noticed the light-gray on white links at the top of the oklo.com page) you yourself can help them search for nearby earths by downloading the tool at http://oklo.org/downloadable-console/ [oklo.org] while you're still unemployed.

Re:Wow, a confirmation (2, Insightful)

zill (1690130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436498)

Why is everyone surprised that super-earths are orbiting other stars? I've always wondered that.

Because the the term "super-earth" is intentionally used to misled the general public into thinking that those planets have a Earth-like habitat, which imply the possibility of colonization.

If the title was instead "Heavier than Earth rocky planets found outside of the solar system" no one would read it.

Re:Wow, a confirmation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436958)

Really? Shoot, it didn't work on me. I thought it was just a lot easier than saying "micro-jupiters" or super-duper-mars-es". It's not like they meant that the super-earths were super beautiful or super unspoiled. After all, they probably have super-hurricanes and super super-earthquakes.

Re:Wow, a confirmation (2, Informative)

TropicalCoder (898500) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437098)

There is nothing in the article to support the title, "First Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Sun-Like Stars". First they say "These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars." and then later "The inner planet of the 61 Vir system is among the two or three lowest-amplitude planetary signals that have been identified with confidence". and finally, "The researchers said they cannot tell yet if HD 1461b is a scaled-up version of Earth, composed largely of rock and iron, or whether, like Uranus and Neptune, it is composed mostly of water."

I don't see anything in the article to justify calling these planets "Super-Earths", which is a stupid term anyhow, since there is only one planet Earth and we are on it.

Re:Wow, a confirmation (1)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436668)

Why is everyone surprised that super-earths are orbiting other stars? I've always wondered that.

I think it has to do with the fact that finding exo-planets, especially ones only a few times larger than our planet, is still something new. We've only been able to confirm extrsolar planets for 17 years, and it has only been in the last 5 years that we've been detecting anything even remotely as small as Earth. I agreed that as time goes on these will be less note worth, as we are getting better at detection, at least until we find something in the .8 to 2.0 Earth masses range which would be quite the news.

Re:Wow, a confirmation (2, Insightful)

Stupid McStupidson (1660141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437100)

at least until we find something in the .8 to 2.0 Earth masses range which would be quite the news.

Wake me up when you find a .8 to 1.2 Earth masses with oxygen and water.

Re:Wow, a confirmation (1)

OctaviusIII (969957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437170)

I don't think it's surprise so much as it's excitement: "We always thought they were there, and now we know they're there! Friggin' awesome!" I imagine scientists having this reaction, typically followed by chest-bumps.

Super War (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436312)

I say it is high time we develop a warp ship capable of carrying the combined military might of the entire planet to this system.

We'll move quickly, from one "Super" Earth to the next, conquering indigenous peoples and enslaving them to toil in our mines until the planet is naught but a smoldering husk, a shadow of what used to be.

Then we'll see who is "Super".

Who's with me!?!

Re:Super War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30437124)

You go, we'll stay here and keep the home fires burning.

28 light years (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436342)

Yes, a mere 28 light years away. So all we need to do is get in the fastest spacecraft we've ever built and we can be there in just about 150,000 years.

Well, maybe not us, but bacteria could. Or... maybe bacteria came from there, and landed here. Betcha didn't think of that.

Re:28 light years (2, Informative)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436718)

Bet that bacteria did not think about that either.

You know... cause they’re bacteria! ^^

Re:28 light years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436888)

Oh sure, so you are telling me that some 150k years ago bacteria had the tech and political will to launch an intergalactic mission to explore strange new worlds? And if so, why don't we see any evidence of these great astronaut bacteria today? Did they all slowly devolved into the plain old slimy if often goo-y bacteria that are now present on Earth? Why wouldn't their be at least some bacteria walking around, if a little slow, showing the great lineage of the astronaut bacteria. I posit that if this is the case we should be able to find evidence of our former Bacteria Astronaut Overlords, however since that has not happened I must conclude that the Young Earth creationist belief was correct. Earth was made in the last 10k years, so our planet wouldn't have been created, their for it was impossible to land here when our beloved and often missed bacteria astronauts flew by. I wish them the best will continue to pray for their safe voyage.

Duh! (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436992)

And if so, why don't we see any evidence of these great astronaut bacteria today?

Because that bacteria killed off all of the dinosaurs who then fell down on them crushing the bacteria.

Bacteria are really tiny, you know, and dinosaurs were really big.

Re:Duh! (1, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437128)

Bacteria are really tiny, you know, and dinosaurs were really big.

And you're the result of millions of years of evolution since then? I'm disappointed.

oblig... (2, Funny)

nih (411096) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436412)

found to be orbiting 61 Virginis

now to be known as the slashdot system...

Drake's Equation (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30436664)

Is the estimation of Drake's equation getting better now with the discovery of more plants? Does anyone have an up to date estimate?

The 'verse (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436728)

We've found it. Get started on Artificial Gravity and Terraforming tech so we can use it when we fill up Earth that was.

Re:The 'verse (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436782)

Let's start with FTL or at least relativistic-speed conventional propulsion instead.

If we have FTL travel, finding a habitable planet becomes a fairly trivial task.

What about... (1)

tekproxy2 (1386447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436878)

How far away are we from discovering Rainbow Worlds? Those have much more minerals and would make the ~30 light year trip more worth it.

Re:What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30437272)

Plus their locations are very valuable to the Melnorme.

Super Earths? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436908)

How can they tell that they are "Super" Earths? Are they wearing a big "S"?

I would assume that they are 3/4 covered with water, and have a large diversity of living creatures wandering about. Otherwise, how can you compare these planets to Earth? Thats like saying a toilet is just like a box of cookies, except that they're made from different materials, are different sizes, used for a different purposes, and look nothing alike.

blast off to awaiting Virginis (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437008)

If they had be found to be orbiting 72 Virginis then a certain religious theory might have become more feasible. But no ...still pending evidence.

Bowl of petunias, anyone? (1)

Sleeper Service (39044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437072)

According to The Times, it was actually a number of new _plants_ discovered near this "neighbouring" star (neighbours 27 light-years away? I should be so lucky). They were apparently accompanied by a slightly surprised looking whale.

Ummm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30437088)

Is it just me or does that strike anyone else as an astounding deduction?

Maybe Im just ignorant, but it seems to me that detecting 2 low-mass planets out of all the planets within ~30 light years, and then going on to say "These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars" is a little crazy.

"size" = mass (1)

kryptKnight (698857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437244)

From the article, these planets are between 5 and 25 times as massive as the Earth. These planets are notable because they orbit a star that is about the same temperature and mass as the Sun, the planets themselves are of unknown composition.
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