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89 comments

Once the tech process gets better... (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535454)

Once the tech process gets better, we can find more Earthlike planets instead of just these big ones. Still, encouraging.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (0)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535468)

Your post and your sig go well together :)

I don't exactly get it... (-1, Offtopic)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535666)

I don't exactly get it...musicians outside of the RIAA are more Earthlike or something? :P
Yes, it's encouraging that indies these days can accomplish as much as they do, even if I still find some RIAA stuff to like as well.
Indeed, advancing (audio and distribution) technology is intertwined with what progress there is.

Re:I don't exactly get it... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535870)

Once the tech process gets better

Read: home musicians can get better quality sound out of cheaper equipment

we can find more Earthlike planets instead of just these big ones.

Read: music that's closer to actual music, rather than stereotypical "music" (or, in the case of exoplanets, gas giants.)

Still, encouraging

Indeed!

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (1)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535694)

Once the tech process gets better, we can find more Earthlike planets instead of just these big ones. Still, encouraging.

Not that it'll do us much good. We won't be going to any exoplanets for a long, long time.....

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34535826)

If we found an exoplanet that could support human life, I'd bet dollars to donuts that would pump up funding and public support to get there. If Mars had a breathable atmosphere then I strongly believe that we'd have people living there already.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (2)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535896)

Our breathable atmosphere didn't happen by accident. Earth had the same toxic mixture I expect we'll find elsewhere until early life started exhaling Oxygen and changing our atmosphere into the cozy blanket we call home.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535966)

Which is why, if they discovered a planet that appeared to have a non-poisonous atmosphere, we'd be even more likely to pump funding to get there. Or do you imagine the people in charge of the war on terror would like to be the ones visited rather than the ones doing the visiting? Research and money would go to space travel development, and hopefully, along the way, the warhawks would find themselves balanced appropriately by peaceniks (I say balance, because as annoying as both extremes are, paranoia does sometimes have a purpose as does trust).

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538876)

if they discovered a planet that appeared to have a non-poisonous atmosphere,

Define non-poisonous. Without proper equipment, one cannot breathe seawater, and vice versa. It is ignorant arrogance that 1: we are the only intelligence in the universe and 2: all life in the universe is modeled after us.
The article that a bacteria lives because of arsenic and that there are life-forms that survive and thrive around deep undersea thermal vents at 800 degrees Fahrenheit and hydrogen sulfide invalidates your argument.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (2)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34539130)

It might indeed be arrogance to suggest that life could only exist in an earth-like environment. Going on the statement by hoggoth (parent to my first post), he is suggesting that life on earth exists as it does now only because of prior life adjusting our atmosphere. If we found a planet with an atmosphere similar to our own (and hoggoth is correct), then it might be safe to assume there was life of some kind (again, this is based in a lot of assumptions).

Given politics in the US, it would seem then that if a planet were thought to have life, the establishment would want to have the ability to get there and investigate it at the earliest possible opportunity to determine threat mitigation responses.

It is entirely possible that your scenario of another form of life might be missed entirely by present researchers (and the camera hungry politicians who fund them). It is also possible that they would not. I am not suggesting that there is no other form of life besides earth's nor am I am suggesting that there is (both would seem to be fairly arrogant assumptions).

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536066)

Our breathable atmosphere didn't happen by accident. Earth had the same toxic mixture I expect we'll find elsewhere until early life started exhaling Oxygen and changing our atmosphere into the cozy blanket we call home.

If that's not an accident, I don't know what is. Unless you're postulating "intelligent design."

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (1)

Maritz (1829006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536722)

Not necessarily an accident but definitely historical contingency. Oxygen was a pollutant to most of the life on Earth at the time, being a corrosive and very reactive gas and poisonous to some oxygen-intolerant micro organisms.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34540208)

It's not an accident (anything that happens suddenly or by chance without an apparent cause) that our planet has this atmosphere that is beneficial to us: both events have the same root cause, which is the presence of primordial life.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (5, Interesting)

macson_g (1551397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536052)

Let me remind you of the old anti-space colonization argument: The Gobi desert HAS a breathable atmosphere and I don't see people living there.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537264)

The Gobi desert HAS a breathable atmosphere and I don't see people living there.

According to wikipedia: "The Gobi had a long history of human habitation, mostly by nomadic peoples. By the early 20th century the region was under the nominal control of Manchu-China, and inhabited mostly by Mongols, Uyghurs, and Kazakhs."

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537870)

Not to put to fine a point on it, but they do: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/236545/Gobi/47958/People-and-economy [britannica.com]

Not many, granted, but there are still people there. And it's not like the Gobi has much going for it in terms of natural resources or scientific research.

Hell, even Antarctica has an (admittedly rolling) population of up to 5000, and that's pretty much the least habitable place on the Earth's surface.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545128)

There will always be enough men that have had enough of the incessant nagging who decide that moving to the middle of nowhere and poking ice cores for a living is a major improvement in their situation.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538004)

That's because someone lays claim to it. The political/commercial/religious entity that gets to a breathable planet first may make claims of ownership much easier then say the same political/commercial/religious entity deciding to colonize the gobi desert. The local government may get upset.

The humor would be someone spends time and money to go to Planet X only to discover an older more advanced race that says "You kids get off my lawn" with the equivalent of a shotgun pointed in our direction.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (1)

Mad Marlin (96929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34543010)

Let me remind you of the old anti-space colonization argument: The Gobi desert HAS a breathable atmosphere and I don't see people living there.

Just wait until the population doubles a few more times, then it will.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (2)

pyalot (1197273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535928)

Capturing direct light from earth sized planets is extremely important. Spectral analysis could reveal free oxygen (which would mean life), environmental pollution (which would mean civilization) etc. Also if they manage to crank the resolution up, way up, we might be able to directly observe the surface structure of said planets (and any anomalies they might contain, like cities, etc.) It sure would be good to at least know you've got neighbors, and perhaps aim some comlink at them, maybe we might learn stuff nobody thought of before, or come to more humbling insights about our existence to quieten those annoying creationist trolls (though I doubt that exobiology would quieten them any bit).

would help the likes of SETI even without detail (2)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536788)

Seems like it would help the likes of SETI even without those details; we could aim/to from plausible planets rather than aiming randomly through the universe. And we could narrow our aim with more information even if we don't have full information.

Re:would help the likes of SETI even without detai (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537148)

I'm not sure it helps yet. Have we found stars for which we are sure there are no planets around ? The current observations give a lower bound on the probability that a random star has a planet, but no higher bound. If every star has a planetary system, I don't see how it will help...

Re:would help the likes of SETI even without detai (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34542756)

I doubt we have that, how difficult it is to detect a planet not only depends on the size but very much on the orbit. But you don't need to exclude anything, just to do better than random sweeps. Even if it turns out planetary systems are very common, we can pick the most earth-like planets in the most earth-like orbits around the most sun-like stars with jupiter-like asteroid cleaners and moon-like satellites and point our antennas there. If we can do things like spectral analysis, detect magnetic fields and so on let's throw that in the mix too. Of course life might be completely different, but until we've got something better to go on we should try searching for life that resembles that on earth. Just geting a partial list of candidates to rank would be a great step up from current efforts.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538682)

Once the tech process gets better, we can find more Earthlike planets instead of just these big ones. Still, encouraging.

Not that it'll do us much good. We won't be going to any exoplanets for a long, long time.....

For all anyone knows, we may have already been there.

Re:Once the tech process gets better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34541616)

Please do not value this persons opinion. He is a full blown racist, check his sig.

Wow ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34535458)

We seem to have overloaded the site already ... oh noez, Slashdot are haxxors, I mean craxxors

I got in before the Slashdotting (5, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535466)

For those who were not able to get in before the Slashdotting, here is a picture in text

. .

              O
                    o

    .

Re:I got in before the Slashdotting (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34535522)

test

Re:I got in before the Slashdotting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34535590)

Or you can just click on the link to view the pics yourself, since the site isn't Slashdotted.

Re:I got in before the Slashdotting (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535668)

Man. My mod points just evaporated - but I'd have marked your post
+1 Awesome
if I still had 'em.

Re:I got in before the Slashdotting (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545142)

That's nowhere like it.

.
                                  o

                      O
                          o
                        o

Far more accurate. Polar view, by the way, if it wasn't obvious.

Quite strange. (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535480)

When Galileo invented the telescope, pointed it to the sky and mapped more stars than anyone before him (or since, he still holds the record for the number of stars cataloged) most people objected saying, "well this tube seems to be showing many interesting things. But what is the guarantee it is showing the real thing? What if it is producing illusions?". Even when pointed to terrestrial objects and showed that it is always showing the real thing, there were doubts. His lenses had terrible spherical aberration and chromatic aberration and had very heavy rainbow fringes on bright objects and things were shown upside down. One could almost forgive the bishops and the cardinals distrusting the instrument, and saying they will believe only things that they can see with their eye.

Fast forward 400 years, images captured on a charge coupled device producing pixels from light gathered by giant telescopes is considered "direct imaging" and is somehow more reliable and more worthy of our trust than the Doppler shifts, wobbles and loss of brightness due to osculation!

Re:Quite strange. (5, Funny)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535628)

loss of brightness due to osculation

It is true that once the serious making out begins, higher mental function tends to shut down, but I don't think that was quite what you meant.

Re:Quite strange. (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535640)

is somehow more reliable and more worthy of our trust than the Doppler shifts, wobbles and loss of brightness due to osculation!

WTF is osculation?

From Webster's:

osculum (äskyoo lm, -ky-)
noun pl. oscula -la (-l)
any of the openings of a sponge though which water passes out

Are you suggesting that the images have been passed through the pisser of a sponge?

Re:Quite strange. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34535718)

Are you suggesting that the images have been passed through the pisser of a sponge?

I'll be in my bunk.

Re:Quite strange. (1)

jbsouthe (448785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536236)

Ala Apple dictionary lookup thingy:

osculate |äskylt|
verb [ trans. ]
1 Mathematics (of a curve or surface) touch (another curve or surface) so as to have a common tangent at the point of contact : [as adj. ] ( osculating) the plots have been drawn using osculating orbital elements.
2 formal or humorous kiss.

I'm not sure if he meant the former or the later

Re:Quite strange. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536328)

Typical typo (1)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536666)

Typo buddy...

Thet's what I thought when I first read your post. What really ticks me off is when otherwise comprtent writers (Alistair Reynolds, I'm looking at you...) use the word "occlude" to describe an object passing in front of (or behind) another object. Occult means "pass behind" or hidden from view"*, occlude means "stopped up"

*a much better definition of "occult powers" than the definition "supernatural".

Re:Typical typo (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34539056)

use the word "occlude" to describe an object passing in front of (or behind) another object. Occult means "pass behind" or hidden from view"*, occlude means "stopped up"

*a much better definition of "occult powers" than the definition "supernatural".

A better definition would be "arcane" since even with the best telescopes available, it is still hidden from view.

Re:Quite strange. (5, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535692)

Trust is not so important as being reproducible and verified by multiple methods. There's no explicit reason to distrust "doppler shifts, wobbles and loss of brightness due to osculation" but it's good science to say "Well, if what we're measuring is the result of a planet, we should be able to do X and see the planet directly. If we don't, there's something wrong. That it has been correct for near star systems give credibility to the other methods that they'll be correct for distant star systems. Sometimes you have to accept single-source results because it's the world's largest and most sensitive telescope or most powerful particle accelerator or things like that, but it's not ideal to leave it at that. Verifying results is a lot less glorious than making the discoveries in the first place, but it's an important part of science.

Re:Quite strange. (1)

toetagger (642315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535762)

One could almost forgive the bishops and the cardinals distrusting the instrument, and saying they will believe only things that they can see with their eye.

So in other words, those bishops and cardinals must have seen God, otherwise they wouldn't belief in him. More likely, this has to do with what we want (or need) as humans. In their case, it was power, in our case, it is hope (through exploration/discovery).

Re:Quite strange. (3, Insightful)

AaronParsons (1172445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536058)

It is all rather miraculous, how far scientific instrumentation has come, but I'm not quite sure what you're getting at with:

is considered "direct imaging" and is somehow more reliable and more worthy of our trust than the Doppler shifts, wobbles and loss of brightness due to osculation!

This is "direct imaging", because it is directly measuring the spatial distribution of photons arriving from this system, even if it is done with mirrors and CCDs, and not your eye. This sets this measurement apart from the other techniques you have described for inferring the presence of planets from their gravitational pull on the host star.

As for "somehow more reliable", I don't think there's any need for hand-wavy words like "somehow". All of these measurements you mention have error bars (and it should be a crime that any scientific press release be allowed to drop the error bars when reporting). Simultaneously fitting for four separate orbits (including distance from star, mass of planet, inclination of orbit, etc) for this many planets means there is substantial covariance between the parameters you are fitting for. Direct imaging, on the other hand, only has to stand out relative to the noise background. It is hard to judge from the color scale of the images, but these look like easily >5sigma detections of each planet.

Re:Quite strange. (2)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536584)

I don't see how directly measuring the spatial distribution of photons arriving from the system is any different from directly measuring the frequency distribution over time of photons arriving from the system, or directly measuring the number of photons arriving from the system.

We seem to put higher credence on one method because it's the method our eye uses to measure something.

Re:Quite strange. (2)

AaronParsons (1172445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537260)

We do put a lot of credence on imaging as people, but this breakthrough discovery doesn't have that same problem. It's not like we waited to discover exoplanets until we imaged them directly. That discovery happened a decade ago, and was done using the pull of a planet on its host star.

Imaging is a powerful step forward. Localization matters. You've piled up all of the signal associated with a planet in a bin, where that signal is very easy to differentiate from background signals and from noise. There is no doubt that the image shown in this case that four planets exist. That kind of confidence is hard to get from fitting the 4-way pull of those planets on a host star over a period of many years.

Re:Quite strange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34537468)

Because the photons measured in the indirect methods (RV, astrometry, transits) are all coming from the star not the planet. In direct detection, the photons come from the planet itself. Big difference there.

Re:Quite strange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34537302)

You do realize that these days "Doppler shifts, wobbles, and loss of brightness due to osculation" (I assume you mean transits) are measured by CCDs as well? The difference is that Marois et al have captured photons "directly" from the planets themselves - hence direct detection. These other methods are measuring changes in the light from the star - so they are indirect.

We should also note, to be complete, that since Marois is working in the infrared he's not using a CCD .

Re:Quite strange. (2, Informative)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538968)

When Galileo invented the telescope,

More like re-invented.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

Re:Quite strange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34543234)

Quoting a work of fiction to support your own world view doesn't make it true.

Let's not ignore the oceans (4, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535488)

The oceans are about 5% explored. [noaa.gov] More resources should be geared toward the oceans as well.

You never know...we might find some creature under there that has some complex protein mankind could use to treat chronic diseases like diabetes, AIDS and the like.

How'z that?

Re:Let's not ignore the oceans (3, Insightful)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535638)

Meh, thanks to us, in a few hundred years the oceans will be too acidic for any of those critters to survive. Seems like a safer bets to point ourselves outward in the hopes of avoiding a similar fate for ourselves.

Re:Let's not ignore the oceans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34535714)

The oceans may hide a lot of stuff, but i'm pretty sure there is no exoplanet to be found.

Re:Let's not ignore the oceans (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34539136)

The oceans are about 5% explored. [noaa.gov] More resources should be geared toward the oceans as well.

You never know...we might find some creature under there that has some complex protein mankind could use to treat chronic diseases like diabetes, AIDS and the like.

How'z that?

Or make a weapon from it.
There, fixed that for ya.

A better link: Herzberg Institute directly (4, Informative)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535558)

I hope this doesn't cause a slashdotting of the Herzberg Institute, but...
http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/news/nrc/2010/12/08/exoplanet-marois.html [nrc-cnrc.gc.ca]

Re:A better link: Herzberg Institute directly (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537244)

The planets orbit the star HR 8799, which lies about 129 light years from Earth and is faintly visible to the naked eye

If there are any post-industrial intelligences there, they should be hearing our radio signals -- morse code from the 1800s. Has SETI been looking at them?

Re:A better link: Herzberg Institute directly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34543540)

I went to a presentation on the SKA recently, and I'm not sure we would be able to do this. There is so much weather and radio interference in our planet to get any reliable radio waves without averaging over about 8 hours of exposure time.

One statistic the presenter gave was that the amount of energy of a falling snowflake is greater than all radio wave energy collected by radio astronomers ever in the history of radio astronomy.

With those kinds of energies good luck getting a good reception!

We need better "image" classification standards (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34535968)

While this is better than the blobby pixels we usually get for such remote planetary bodies, I don't consider this an "image" appreciable to the lay person. It just shows fuzzy dots around a larger fuzzy region and to this lay person at least does not conclusively show that these "objects" are indeed exo-planets. Who's to say they aren't some other, wholly unrelated celestial body? And what information does this sort of "image" convey even to professional astronomers?

If a horde of scientists can argue for months about whether or not Pluto is really a planet then rule that it is not, why can't this same group rule on what constitutes an "image". Perhaps different classifications of images needs to be established, ranging from "Blobby Pixels" to "HD Photograph". You might argue that this is ridiculous, but I think it would be a good thing to set such standards since it would serve to measure our telescopic and imaging technology and allow us to benchmark our abilities to image across vast distances. With such measurements, we could then possibly derive a comparative rate of advancement to predict when we might be able to image further into the universe which in turn might help us plan objectives further out into the future.

Re:We need better "image" classification standards (1)

AaronParsons (1172445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536248)

As with a lot of things, context is everything. By itself, one of these images doesn't say much. But when you know that it was pointed toward a system known (through independent measurements) to have planets, and that it was taken in an infrared band where lukewarm blackbody spectrum of dusty planets are expected to have peak, and the "blobs" are at angular separations that correspond in distance to tens of AUs (1 AU is the distance of the Earth from the Sun), then you start to have something. As with all of science, new developments "stand on the shoulders of giants", and in this case, that is the substantial literature that has built up in the last decade around exoplanetary systems.

And as for an image classification system: published, peer-reviewed papers are the fundamental units of science. Because of the context issue, a thousand words is worth substantially more than a stand-alone picture. The "image" is just a figure in a paper, and loses its value outside that context.

Re:We need better "image" classification standards (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536272)

Repeat the observation another 2 times and you have the minimum amount of data required to describe the orbits of those bodies from optical observations alone. That would prove that the objects are orbiting the central star.

If the images are 13 months apart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536194)

shouldn't the planets have moved? I though most of the newly discovered planets had crazy fast orbits.
Even the inner planets don't appear to have moved. I would expect these pictures to look more like the
moons of Jupiter. Never in the same spot in two different photos.

Re:If the images are 13 months apart... (1)

agw (6387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536490)

They are all very big planets far away from the star. The nearest/fastest has a 50 year orbital period. So it moved like 4 degrees between the pictures.

Re:If the images are 13 months apart... (1)

bmk67 (971394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536512)

These are not "hot Jupiters", they are gas giants dozens of astronomical units (i.e. billions of miles) from their host star. The innermost (HR 8799e) is substantially farther out than Saturn, nearly as far as Uranus. The outermost is substantially farther out than Pluto. I wouldn't expect that b, c, and d would have appeared to move much. Planet e wasn't detected in the 2008 images, and probably would not have appeared to move much between the 2009 and 2010 images. I would expect that e has an orbital period in the neighborhood of 50 years, with b-d in the hundreds.

"imaging" finds far-out planets better (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537142)

They are further from the glare of the home star, which can be partially masked. Another exoplanet imaging result found a planet at about the distance of Neptune. The long-delayed Webb telescope should be great for this kind of searches.

Why don't they move? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538302)

I'm just eyeballing the pictures, but, they don't appear to move.

This isn't surprising for the outer dots, which are 20-60 times farther from the star than Earth is from the sun, but the innermost one doesn't seem to move either. Not even a little.

There should be some rearrangement in the 4 months between the photos.

Where is it?

Re:Why don't they move? (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538720)

That's an interesting observation. The innermost planet imaged is 14.5 AU from the star, placing it somewhere between Saturn (at about 9.5 AU) and Uranus (at about 19 AU) in distance. If the star had a mass similar to the sun, this would place the orbital period somewhere between 30 years and 90 years. So that probably explains it.

I can just imagine... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538770)

I can just imagine a crowd of sentient beings all peering hopefully at an image much like the one in TFA, showing a star and four planets much like our own, wondering the same thing I am...

"So, when are we going?"

Strange heading, could be my parser's damaged :-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34541914)

"First Four-Exoplanet System Imaged"? Actually, every other system in the universe is at least an eight-exoplanet system, inasmuch as it has at least eight exoplanets (Mercury, Venus, Earth et al).

Science or hyper-extrapolated sensationalism? (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34544212)

I can't help but think that many of astronomic "discoveries" these days is hokum. It's either that or the overblown headlines.

Tell me straight:
1) Is ANY EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE found? (the simplest of bacteria/viruses are ok, proteins that make life forms aren't)
2) Is there any evidence of WATER ANYWHERE else but here? (answers "there could be ice" & "look at the Mars' ridges" are not acceptable, sorry)
3) Is there a planet LIKE EARTH of whose existence we are certain? (anything goes here really)

Re:Science or hyper-extrapolated sensationalism? (1)

Punko (784684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545876)

1) We're still looking. It helps to find planets so we know where to look. Space is big, really.
2) By 'water' I will assume you mean water in its liquid phase, because water in solid form has been found all over the place. Its common as muck.
3) As soon as you can tell me exactly what you mean by "like earth". Do you mean with oceans and land and nitrogen/oxygen rich atmosphere with white and black sand beaches and restaurants where the steak overhangs the plate on 3 sides? If you mean have you found a planet which you could beam down to without breathing/life support gear (and live), then no, not yet.

As for the discoveries being hokum, it sounds like you're waiting for the ULTIMATE DISCOVERY. Sorry guy, but its all incremental knowledge that will let us find the big stuff. Finding important stuff in hard to find places a long way away tends not to be done "by accident" but by years of hard work. Any idiot can discover the moon on his own, but can you honestly say that you could have discovered that the Earth moves around the sun, and not the other way around?

Would you spend the years in careful observation, with meticulous record keeping, facing the storms of "intelligent criticism", to collect enough data to prove your point to the world that your crazy idea makes sense? Lots of professional people do, they are scientists; lots of other people do too, they can be hobbyists; lots of crazy people do too, they may be just crazy.

There is no substitute for hard work in scuence.

Re:Science or hyper-extrapolated sensationalism? (1)

Punko (784684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34545910)

There is no substitute for hard work in science.

And no substitute for checking your spelling.

Re:Science or hyper-extrapolated sensationalism? (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549998)

Exactly. In short: no, yes(?) and no. It was just overblown headlines.
It's not me who's waiting for a big discovery, it's just them who are pushing small ones as such.

Let's instead talk about Mars: How does one *know* (because "know" is what one needs to justify the headlines) that there is water on Mars?
Guessing ftl.

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