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'Most Earth-Like' Exoplanet Gets Major Demotion

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the science-works dept.

Space 206

audiovideodisco writes "Last month, the team behind NASA's Kepler planet-finding mission announced the discovery of the most Earth-like planetary candidate ever spotted: KOI 326.01, an approximately Earth-sized planet orbiting in the habitable zone of its star. There was much excitement; one astrophysicist even calculated the value of the new planet as exactly $223,099.93. But when an innocent fact-checker's question sent one of the researchers back to look at some figures, she noticed that the star's brightness was listed incorrectly in a reference catalog, throwing the planet's properties into doubt. After jiggering the calculations, the Kepler team now says that KOI 326.01 is neither Earth-sized nor in the habitable zone, and may actually be orbiting a different star. The Kepler researcher says, 'We're seeing the scientific method playing out in real time.' While this news is a bit of a downer, Kepler is just getting going, and it's expected to find many, many more Earth-like planets."

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Har (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421332)

More evidence for creationists! Looks like your 'science' is flawed!

Real time science indeed (2)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421354)

All great science starts with "hmmmmm, that's funny...".

Re:Real time science indeed (0, Troll)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421484)

All bad science begins with "A scientist says it, therefore I believe it". How many people have heard, and repeated the previous "declaration" as "fact" but will remain unaware of this new information? And how many of the ignorant pseudo scientists will continue to believe, even if you present this evidence.

Much of what passes for science is indistinguishable from religion.

Re:Real time science indeed (5, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421586)

Just... No. What you are describing is nothing related to science.

What you are talking about may apply to science journalism. That is basically what happens when a liberal arts major gets told that he drew the short straw and has to write a science article instead of sympathizing with starving Rawandan kids or discussing the latest celebrity gossip.

Re:Real time science indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422376)

That's pathetic. The arts major makes a difference to someone's life and the "scientist" staring at unreachable stars using data with unacceptably high margins of error just issues a press release. Riiiight.

Re:Real time science indeed (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421594)

At least it attempts to explain reality with observable phenomenon instead of the old "God did it, no thinking required" that religion is so fond of.

Re:Real time science indeed (1)

dfetter (2035) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422388)

s/no thinking required/thinking actively discouraged/

Re:Real time science indeed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421630)

That's not their fault. It's the pathetic science media for rushing out "interesting" facts and never reporting with the same gusto the updates.

The media is great for rushing to report findings before they've completely gone through the system.

Just follow the alcohol and heart disease risk time line ... you'll see that the media got it mostly wrong. And of course, the alcohol industry hasn't been much help in correcting the facts.

Re:Real time science indeed (2)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421666)

You're right. Look how long "a god did it" has lasted.

Science and religion have a lot in common in that they both attempt to explain the world (universe) and our place in it. The difference is that science can at least admit that it could be wrong. Falsifiability and all that.

Re:Real time science indeed (3, Insightful)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422286)

The difference is that science can at least admit that it could be wrong.

Unfortunately, some of the more hardheaded religious folks consider that to be a reason why religion is superior. I can't find the link, but a while back I came across a site that among other things had a series of one-panel comics by a creationist, and one of those comics made fun of science precisely because of its ability to change its mind about things.

"Reporter: A new discovery changes everything you thought you knew about the origin of life.... wait, no, that discovery was just debunked by an even newer discovery."

Re:Real time science indeed (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422438)

Heh. Was watching an old "House" episode (4x02 - The Right Stuff) the other day, and fell in love with this quote:

"Rational arguments don't usually work on religious people. Otherwise there would be no religious people."

Re:Real time science indeed (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421676)

Greetings, Pot! Great description of kettle.

All bad science begins with "A scientist says it, therefore I believe it".

No, that's not called "science", that's called "religion".

Intractable belief in something without evidence, or even in direct contradiction of known evidence, is known as religion. This is the philosophical opposite to science.

Re:Real time science indeed (1, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422382)

You're saying it doesn't happen in science? That misrepresented "facts" are never taught as "truth" in science? Or is it that you hate it when what passes for science is compared to religion ... well because it acts a lot like religion?

You want an "intractable belief" that is prevalent in science? Here's one ... that science is without bias.

This is a fine case of bias leading to a conclusion that was passed around as true, because science wants it to be true. How else do you explain how far wrong it might be that the planet they said was one thing, couldn't be further from the truth.

However, in science's defense, they correct their mistakes eventually. And no doubt they might actually discover "earth like" planet, around a "sol like" sun, in an "earth like" habitable zone. On the other hand, they might never find such a thing. One thing is for sure, scientists will believe there is one, even if they never find evidence, and someone else will fabricate data to prove it.

Remember, it took 40 years to discover that the Piltdown man was a hoax, and in those 40 years, thousands of people got their masters and doctorates based in part on their thesis using Piltdown man, and not one of those degrees were ever revoked. Science doesn't have the sterling reputation it thinks it has.

My point is, that science is flawed, because people performing it are flawed. It does tend to correct itself over time however, but it cannot nor does it attempt to fix the problems it causes when it is wrong.

This has nothing to do with religion except where science acts like a religion while trying to pretend it never does.

Re:Real time science indeed (2)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423004)

Maybe it took 40 years to fully debunk, but that doesn't mean there weren't people right from the offset (from the wikipedia article):

From the outset, there were scientists who expressed skepticism about the Piltdown find. G.S. Miller, for example, observed in 1915 that "deliberate malice could hardly have been more successful than the hazards of deposition in so breaking the fossils as to give free scope to individual judgment in fitting the parts together."

In essence it took 40 years for the people who benefited from or were fooled by the fakery to die off. There is a small segment of the population who will never admit a mistake.

Re:Real time science indeed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421740)

Anyone else find it funny that someone with the handle of "Archangel Michael" belittles science by equating it with religion?

Re:Real time science indeed (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421744)

I see parent was unfairly modded "troll" while I was typing my response above. He raises a valid (and true) point, and whoever modded him "troll" is EXACTLY the kind of closed-minded twit he was (non-inflammatorily) talking about.

Re:Real time science indeed (2)

lupinstel (792700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421884)

I agree with this guy. I have hated science ever since I was blinded by it back in 1982.

Re:Real time science indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422132)

Was it rammed up like a douche, another boner in there tight?

Re:Real time science indeed (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422024)

If astronomers tomorrow discovered that the moon orbits 1cm out further than originally measured does the moon cease to exist? In your mind it does....

Re:Real time science indeed (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422442)

There is a difference between a measurement error, and being completely wrong. This is not akin to the moon's orbit was miscalculate by 1 cm, but rather that the moon orbited Mars, and not Earth, was twice its size and inhabited by Flying Spaghetti Monsters.

In otherwords, it wasn't even close. But enough people wanted it to be true, so the didn't even bother checking.

Re:Real time science indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422714)

Yup, the very definition of Space Nuttery.

Re:Real time science indeed (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422136)

"Much of what passes for science is indistinguishable from religion."

close

"Much of what passes for science according to the average idiot is indistinguishable from religion."

is accurate

science has nothing to do with religion. science is proof, without belief. religion is belief, without proof. to confuse those two requires that you not quite understand either. so congratulations, you're an idiot

Re:Real time science indeed (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422594)

So, when science declares something as "true", and it turns out that it isn't even close to being true, that people believe what science says is not science?

I mentioned this above, but science has a long history of frauds being passed as truth because people want to assume the conclusions are true. See Piltdown Man for a fine example of something that took 40 years to prove was not only wrong, but a hoax. And yet for 40 years was passed around as "science". So, excuse me for questioning science's conclusions and being labeled religious for doing it. And people say I'm ignorant of what science really is,

I thought that was exactly what science was supposed to be; question everything.

Re:Real time science indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422960)

A poignant post about the same subject here: http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/20/believing-science/ [judithcurry.com]

Re:Real time science indeed (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422294)

And these days the next step after hypothesis is to issue a press release touting your amazing discovery.

Oh no! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421382)

And we were so ready to colonize that sucker too! Hundreds of thousands of eager young families ready to suburbanize the universe! With our metal tubes and kerosene, nothing stands in our way! Not energy limits, not technological limits, biological, psychological, physical or economic limits! We have big hard drives now, so logically the universe has shrunk and our physical tech has scaled to match!

Really .. (3, Funny)

bsquizzato (413710) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421412)

After jiggering the calculations, the Kepler team now says that KOI 326.01 is neither Earth-sized nor in the habitable zone, and may actually be orbiting a different star

"Sooo ... about everything we said, it's actually the complete opposite"

Epic fail.

Re:Really .. (3, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421450)

Sounds more like an epic success for science to me.

Re:Really .. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421512)

Sounds more like an epic success for science to me.

Well, for the scientific method at least.

Being this wrong is seldom considered an 'epic success'.

Re:Really .. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421554)

No. It is an epic failure. The fail is that a scientist went out and said he is "100% sure life exists on this planet". It raised a lot of eyebrows on Slashdot. It made headlines.

Now when the opposite news comes out, it just makes scientists look stupid.

The fail is rushing to conclusions before double checks have taken place.

Re:Really .. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421604)

who the hell said 100% sure life exists on this planet? I sure don't remember that. I just remember them saying it is a planet about twice the size of earth in an orbit that would produce an insolation similar to earth.

Re:Really .. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421708)

"The chances for life on this planet are 100 percent," Steven Vogt, a UC professor of astronomy and astrophysics says. "I have almost no doubt about it."

I and every other research scientist I know (a lot of them) all just shook our heads when we heard that quote.

Re:Really .. (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422174)

Yeah, some scientists do say dumb things sometimes. Apparently once a climatologist told a UK reporter that there would be no snow in Great Britain in a few years due to global warming. It's a ridiculous statement because the climate isn't changing that rapidly or dramatically. But today many people refuse to believe AGW because that prediction didn't come true. Scientists need to watch what they say to journalists, because they can cause entire fields to lose credibility with the public when they make such dumb predictions. Why don't other scientists immediately come out and denounce statements like these to save face?

Re:Really .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422364)

Especially dumb, since in most climate models of global warming, after the loss of arctic ice leads to a reduction in the Atlantic current, northern Europe and England will actually get colder = more snow, while central latitudes will heat up a lot.

Re:Really .. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422244)

If he said it it at all was clearly in the context of the status of the planet as it was understood at the time.

If you really were a research scientist you'd understand that.

Re:Really .. (0)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422400)

In the context of the status planet as it was understood at the time, it was STILL a stupid thing to say. Especially to a reporter.

If you understood science at all, you'd understand that.

Re:Really .. (0)

JordanL (886154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422820)

I can see why you posted as an AC...

Just to extend your logic, within the context of the Westboro Baptist Church's teachings, their actions and claims also make sense.

Context rarely disproves stupidity.

Re:Really .. (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421838)

The fail is that a scientist went out and said he is "100% sure life exists on this planet".

Really? Who said the scientists said that?

You should stop reading news from that outlet immediately, because it's bullshit that makes the Weekly World News headlines like "Space Whelk Poised to Consume Earth" and "Woman's Varicose Veins used as Treasure Map" seem like responsible journalism.

Though none of these sources are really heavily scientific, they don't dumb "planet found with Earth-like dimensions that's probably in a temperate zone between the freezing and boiling point of water" to "scientist claims 100% knowledge that life exists on a specific exoplanet". You might want to consider them as at least superior news sources to whatever you are currently using.

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/02/practical-and-religious-implic.html [newscientist.com]

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/02/19/6087627-planet-probe-spots-hot-prospects [msn.com]

Re:Really .. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422034)

That'd be...

CNN

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/30/100-percent-chance-for-life-on-newly-found-planet/ [cnn.com]

Space.com

http://www.space.com/9225-odds-life-newfound-earth-size-planet-100-percent-astronomer.html [space.com] ,and a host of others. This was in mainstream press. Not tabloids.

There are a few scientists around who occasionally say idiotic things. Unfortunately, sometimes they do it in front of reporters. This would be one of those times.

Re:Really .. (2)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422072)

That'd be...

CNN

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/30/100-percent-chance-for-life-on-newly-found-planet/ [cnn.com]

Space.com

http://www.space.com/9225-odds-life-newfound-earth-size-planet-100-percent-astronomer.html [space.com] ,and a host of others. This was in mainstream press. Not tabloids.

There are a few scientists around who occasionally say idiotic things. Unfortunately, sometimes they do it in front of reporters. This would be one of those times.

I sure wish people would Google before asking such easily answered questions...

Re:Really .. (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422394)

That'd be.. about Gliese 581g. Not KOI 326.01.

Now, referring to the G581g claim, "100% chance FOR life" and "100% chance OF life" are two very different assertions. It was still pretty hyperbolic, and of course future observation will almost certainly make Vogt regret those words later, but G581g is still voted the "Most Likely To Be Like Earth" at the moment. The calculations were checked before such assertions were made (unlike KOI 326.01, which broke based on an interesting anomaly in a spreadsheet that turned out to have bad data which was discovered and corrected within a couple of weeks.

So assuming you're the same Anonymous Coward who made the assertion that the claims on KOI 326.01 went from "100% certain there is life there" to "oopsie, wrong star!" you're conflating the two for obvious comic effect. Which is OK, but don't be surprised when the non-anonymous adults call you on such claims from time to time.

Steven Wrightism (1)

knarfling (735361) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422172)

"Hey! We've found this earth-like planet orbiting a particular star. Wait a minute . . . Wrong star. And it really isn't earth-like at all."

Sound a lot like a Steven Wright.

"A funny thing happened to me this morning. Wait a minute . . . That wasn't me."

Re:Steven Wrightism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422424)

And it wasn't funny!

Cue in Star Trek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422214)

"It's strange a malfunctioning sensor gave such a specific misreading."

Re:Really .. (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421560)

Welcome to science. I would deem this a big success!

Re:Really .. (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421712)

Its success unless you've already put ten percent down on that $223,099.93. Then its just another Florida real estate swindle.

Re:Really .. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422428)

Its success unless you've already put ten percent down on that $223,099.93. Then its just another Florida real estate swindle.

Which, arguably, it was to begin with anyway.

You seriously expect people to be legitimately be selling a planet or part thereof?

Re:Really .. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422646)

Besides Earth, of course.

I'm sure some cunning linguist will be all over the semantics of that if I don't qualify it.

Re:Really .. (2)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421896)

Welcome to science. I would deem this a big success!

No, science would be "as a preliminary, tentative finding, the data seem to indicate that this is the case, but we need to double-check all sources of error, look for contradictory information, and even after all that, if we still cannot falsify it, we can say only that it is consistent with our current understanding, something that has changed before and will likely change again". Of course, that isn't as exciting in a press release, hence the problem.

Many people want final ultimate answers on certain questions. "Could there be other planets out there that might even be able to support life (as we know it)?" is one of them. It's related to the question of whether we are alone in the Universe. It's harder to appreciate that the search for such answers and the questions they raise is the more worthy point.

This was a big success for yellow journalism. It was a gigantic fail for science. It calls into question how many other jumps to conclusions there are that we don't yet know about because they haven't yet been identified. You can have great science or you can make great press releases and sell newspapers. Wherever those two ends are opposed, we get to find out what our real priorities are, don't we?

I agree it's definitely better than nothing that this one was corrected. That means this failure was recognized and corrected. It does not mean no failure took place.

Re:Really .. (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422278)

This was a triumph. I'm making a note here: "HUGE SUCCESS".

Re:Really .. (1, Insightful)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421650)

Epic SCIENCE you noob.

"Oh shit, if that number is wrong then this planet is in a whole different place! Let's check! IT IS! HUZZAH! We know more today than we did yesterday!"

That's science. And you suck.

Scientific method or fact checking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421438)

I'm no scientist but seems like a rather easily correctable mistake given the complexity with everything surrounding the project.

Did they forget to carry the 1 when calculating its brightness?

Re:Scientific method or fact checking (3, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421582)

The catalog was wrong, it's not a calculation it's just having the wrong data. Of course a quick look at the picture would have shown the error, but who looks at anything but the table of numbers?

Re:Scientific method or fact checking (4, Funny)

Whalou (721698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421644)

I never look at the pictures, I only read the articles.

The eureka paradox. (2)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421464)

At bleeding edge of knowledge/measurement the margin of error is often larger than the margin of excitement.

Re:The eureka paradox. (0)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422050)

Bleeding edge means new but not too new.

One might say... Bob is going to try that cutting edge new router. But I'm going with the bleeding edge one from that other company that has been out for a few mounths and has some firmware updates.

In this case the theory is becombing bleeding edge where it was cutting edge. So you should say "At ' the cutting' edge of knowledge/measurement the margin of error is often larger than the margin of excitement"

Re:The eureka paradox. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422276)

Per Wikipedia:
The term bleeding edge is formed as an allusion to "leading edge" and its synonym cutting edge, but implying a greater degree of risk: the "bleeding edge" is in front of the "cutting edge".

Re:The eureka paradox. (1)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422588)

Wikipedia is always right. But when you get cut is takes afew seconds for the bleading to start. Unless you chop an artery or somthing. It's a terrible analogy.

Re:The eureka paradox. (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422862)

Wait, you were being serious? I thought for sure you were being facetious...

space science (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421470)

This is really as good as space science gets. Random, uninteresting information about unreachable stuff which is probably so far wrong it's not even funny.

The only tragedy is that so many geeks are attracted by it as a quasi-religious substitute for the supernatural glory of the heavens. It's just space, guys.

And I speak as an ex-keen amateur astronomer and mathematics post-graduate.

Re:space science (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421478)

Translation: I'm a pathetic, visionless stump of a human being who goes on Internet forums to try to convince people that my apathy is somehow equatable to cleverness.

Re:space science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421934)

Translation: I'm under 25 and have no idea how the world works, I don't want to know and I think that faster computers = spaceships and sci fi=engineering. It's fun to dream and have visions, but most of the time visions are a sign of mental illness.

Re:space science (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422064)

Translation: I'm a pathetic, visionless stump of a human being who goes on Internet forums to try to convince people that my apathy is somehow equatable to cleverness.
--

Re:space science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422228)

There are millions of things that need doing right here, on Earth. What are you doing? If you can't look at a cat or pond scum and marvel at the complexity of self-organizing patterns encoded in matter powered by a star, you're a pathetic, visionless stump of a human being.
Going on and on about things you will never directly see, smell touch or experience is the height of narcissism. You don't actually have to DO anything about it. You can just sit on your ass and ascribe all kinds of mythical properties to it, and no matter what anyone else says, it doesn't matter to you.
You're a child. Growing up will be either very painful for you, or you will collapse under the strain of reality and hide in your virtual world.
There will never be space colonies, space-based solar arrays, space manufacturing, etc. Ever. Looking at pixels on a screen is all you guys can do. Forgive me if that strikes me as a childish waste of time. Sci-fi was fun for me too, then I turned 13.

Re:space science (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422908)

Sci-Fi? This isn't fiction... our study of the Universe has directly led to realizations of many aspects of physics that are directly applicable to our lives. It is through the study of the stars that we had the proper information background for Einstein to formulate general and special relativity for instance, which impact things such as our ability to keep satellites in orbit, or our ability to calculate GPS coordinates.

People who see the value in knowledge simply because the unknown is unknown are not childish, and your rant only reveals your lack of imagination and general understanding of human history.

Re:space science (2)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421564)

Perhaps you should pull your head out of your ass and look up the history of Cepheid variable stars or supernovae. Both had several false starts before the current theory.

But you're right, "it's just space", so all we stand to learn from it is how the universe is put together and how it works.

Re:space science (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421580)

The only tragedy is that so many geeks are attracted by it as a quasi-religious substitute for the supernatural glory of the heavens.

No, I think the glory we see in space is the reason why so many people are attracted to it. It's not a substitute, it's the reason. It's hard to look at a picture of M51 or Andromeda or the Eagle nebula without getting inspired.

I assume KOI 326.01 has hit the discount bin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421510)

the most valuable planet candidate in the newly released crop is KOI 326.01, to which the formula assigns a value of USD $223,099.93.

One thing I've noticed scientists are good at is playing with OPM.

How "Earth-like" was it in the first place? (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421530)

When your only criteria are size and distance, you're not doing much to prove "likeness" to the Earth. In fact, you're doing less than 2 parameters/N parameters, since size and distance may have nothing to do with how habitable the planet may be to humans or any life forms.

Stoichiometry and temperature are far more significant. The existence of stabilizing processes in the atmospheric and geological systems are also more significant.

And then there's the little matter of the precise history of Earth, which went through several specific, major eras of development before it had these stabilizing systemic features and could support the formation of the first structures of life and their evolution into the first cellular beings.

And then it went through several more specific, major eras of development to result in large, complex, multicellular plant and animal forms of life, interacting as a (somewhat) stable ecosystem, capable of surviving events that nonetheless mass-extincted whole swathes of species.

The part about guessing wrong about which star the planet is orbiting is just bad astronomy, and is way past where they should be shutting up about its being "Earthlike."

Re:How "Earth-like" was it in the first place? (1)

bahstid (927038) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421636)

What is Stoichiometry? [wikipedia.org]

Re:How "Earth-like" was it in the first place? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421706)

Size of a planet, distance from its star and the magnitude of that star are the 3 most easily measurable parameters that affect atmospheric chemistry and temperature.

Re:How "Earth-like" was it in the first place? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421776)

Their estimated temperature was one of the things that made it look "Earth-like", and it's one of the measurements they are needing to revise that make it no-longer look Earth-like.

Re:How "Earth-like" was it in the first place? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422162)

They shouldn't even mention size and distance if they have temperature.

Re:How "Earth-like" was it in the first place? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422304)

Distance, combined with the star its orbiting, is how they get an initial estimate of temperature. And size will help indicate if its a terrestrial planet or a gas giant. Being in the habitable zone, but a gas giant, is not 'earth-like'.

Size and distance are important characteristics of the planet, and the ones that can be most reliably measured with the technique that Kepler uses. So yes, the should mention them both even if they have temperature estimates.

Re:How "Earth-like" was it in the first place? (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422984)

"Have you arrived at the checkpoint?"

"Yes sir, I have the distance traveled, the time it took, the sp--"

"Why did you collect all that information!? I just wanted your average speed!"

"Uh... sir to calculate my average speed I need to--"

"Why are you even talking to me about distance or time! I want speed!"

"But I--"

"Stop wasting all that time and space recording down that other shit! If I find out you are keeping track of anything else again I'll have you reassigned to janitorial duty!"

"...Alright sir..."

(And this is about what you sound like right now.)

Re:How "Earth-like" was it in the first place? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422598)

When your only criteria are size and distance, you're not doing much to prove "likeness" to the Earth. In fact, you're doing less than 2 parameters/N parameters, since size and distance may have nothing to do with how habitable the planet may be to humans or any life forms.

They both certainly have something to do with it, but yes, those two aspects alone are hardly sufficient to prove habitability.

Nevertheless, size (actually composition) and distance (actually temperature in the range for liquid water) are the two criterion astronomers use when talking about "earth-like" planets. That's all it means -- like earth in these two aspects.

For reference, both Venus and Mars are "earth-like". Probably not what you were expecting it to mean, but so it goes. :)

oh no. I already sent a ship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421542)

oh man is my team going to be pissed when they get there.

Review First, Then A Press Release (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421558)

'We're seeing the scientific method playing out in real time', eh? How about letting that scientific method play itself out before you release your findings to the popular media? Or was it getting near the end of your fiscal year?

Real estate crisis IN OUTER SPACE (3, Funny)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421588)

Real estate crisis IN OUTER SPACE

Re:Real estate crisis IN OUTER SPACE (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421662)

I say we just leave the keys for the bank and walk away.

Re:Real estate crisis IN OUTER SPACE (1)

tenchikaibyaku (1847212) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422188)

Real estate crisis IN OUTER SPACE

Can we here perhaps see the next step for patent trolls when they're done adding ON THE INTERNET to every old inventions?

How many other bad star data? (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421654)

So someone cataloged a bunch of data on stars and now one is rechecked because it was interesting. Turns out the data was wrong. How much more bad data is out there that nobody double checked because nobody cared until now?

Re:How many other bad star data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422006)

Here is the link to find the Kepler data that has been released. [stsci.edu]

You're more than welcome to go through the reams of data and find all planet candidates that shouldn't be (or incorrectly classified) due to bad data or erroneous assumptions (as in this case - due to star brightness).

Of course, we both know you're not going to do this since you are really making a snide remark for the sake of making a snide remark.

Finding many more earth-like planets (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421692)

Or rather, many more mistakenly, earth-like planets

Re:Finding many more earth-like planets (1)

MichaelKristopeit346 (1968126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421724)

you can't find more until you find any

You just got Pultoed (1)

Gohtar (1829140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421848)

Am I right or what?

Re:You just got Pultoed (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421930)

Am I right or what?

Unlikely since none of us knows what "Pultoed" means.

Re:You just got Pultoed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422290)

This little piggy went to market...

Re:You just got Pultoed (1)

Gohtar (1829140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422478)

Crap, Spelling, Plutoed...

I hope those guys preparing to announce that's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35421868)

where their meteorite came from hear about this in time!

I hope those guys preparing to annnounce that's (1)

spads (1095039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422028)

where their meteorite came from hear about this in time!

Finding "more" earth-like planets? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422198)

When had this project found even one?

By earth-like, I mean a rocky planet, at a distance from its parent star where liquid water could exist, and having a gravitational pull between 0.6g and 2.0g.

I'm not saying that they aren't out there, but I'm pretty sure that none have yet been found, so talking about finding "more" of them is sort of... well... misleading about what's actually been accomplished so far.

Why must NASA crush so many dreams? (4, Funny)

makubesu (1910402) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422218)

Here they had built up this poor young planet to be something of worth. They were promising all kinds of fame and fortune, telling her to leave behind her friends and family and devote herself to being the next Earth. The crazy parties, the celebrities endorsing her, they built up her dreams of fame, and gave up any other kind of success. Now they dump her dry because they ended up making some mistakes in their data analysis. All she's got left now is a lingering coke addiction. Don't you see they used her up and rang her dry? She had so much potential to be special in some other way, but now she'll just be remembered as another failure, probably turning tricks in the dark corners of the galaxy. We need to keep these hype monsters away from our planets.

Real-Time Scientific Method (1)

Jekler (626699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422412)

'We're seeing the scientific method playing out in real time.'

What the hell is that supposed to mean? In what other time frame does the scientific method normally play out? Dealing with computers, we watch the scientific method play out in real time right before our eyes every day. We can watch the scientific method play out every time someone buys a remote control and goes through the process of setting it up. Hypothesis of which brand/model and entry code match up, test the hypothesis, record the results and form a new hypothesis based on the conclusion.

I dunno why, that sentence just bugged me. it makes it seem like discovering an error while presenting the results is somehow a rare event.

Look for "Ring" (Worlds) (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422430)

I hope that the Kepler observing team is not automatically discarding observations that don't fit expected profiles.

For example: if a (slighty more) advanced civilization wanted to be detectable by something like Kepler, all they would have to do is put up some (very) large but (presumably) low mass "screens" in orbit around the star. By putting up several of these with the proper spacing; a coded "signal" code could be seen, just like morse code (I'd time it so the intervals would correspond to some prime numbers).

Of course if they are even a little bit more advanced and don't have to make these things ultra-lightweight, these screens could perform a useful function like solar panels or, if cabled together and spun, living area. (Hence the reference to the term "Ringworld" from Larry Niven's books).

Anyway, even if the Kepler team inadvertently ignores this data, perhaps after a period of time it'll become publically available? Here's to stellar data-mining! (If you found the first evidence of an E.T. civilization this way, would you be eligible for a Nobel Prize?)

Most earthlike planet hmm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35422606)

I think the most earthlike planet we know of got a major demotion when man took his first steps. But hey thats just my opinion man.

Mmm. Lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan has. (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422708)

How embarrassing. How embarrassing.

I'd be happy to pay a million for it (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422756)

It's only worth a quarter of a million dollars!? It's a freaking planet! It has to be worth over a million bucks, right?

Re:I'd be happy to pay a million for it (1)

vuke69 (450194) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423010)

It's like e-bay, they get you on the shipping.

58 in habitable zone and 6 less than 2 Earth-mass (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422996)

Kepler proposed 1200 planet candidates from its first four months of data collection. Approximately 58 are in the habitable zone and 6 may be smaller than two Earth masses. 19 of the 1200 have been confirmed as planets. As the study progresses, they'll see longer-orbit candidates and more habitable zone possibilities. And more of the 1200 will be confirmed as planets.
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