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Earth's Corner of the Galaxy Just Got a Little Lonelier

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the and-a-little-safer-from-bloodthirsty-aliens dept.

Space 224

Hugh Pickens writes "Only four stars, including Barnard's Star, are within six light-years of the Sun, and only 11 are within 10 light-years. That's why Barnard's star, popularized in Robert Forward's hard-SF novel Flight of the Dragonfly, is often short-listed as a target for humanity's first interstellar probe. Astronomers have long hoped to find a habitable planet around it, an alien Earth that might someday bear the boot prints of a future Neil Armstrong, or the tire tracks of a souped-up 25th-century Curiosity rover. But now Ross Anderson reports that a group of researchers led by UC Berkeley's Jieun Choi have delivered the fatal blow to those hopes when they revealed the results of 248 precise Doppler measurements that were designed to examine the star for wobbles indicative of planets around it. The measurements, taken over a period of 25 years, led to a depressing conclusion: 'the habitable zone around Barnard's star appears to be devoid of roughly Earth-mass planets or larger ... [p]revious claims of planets around the star by van de Kamp are strongly refuted.' NASA's Kepler space telescope, which studies a group of distant Milky Way stars, has found more than 2,000 exoplanet candidates in just the past two years, leading many to suspect that our galaxy is home to billions of planets, a sizable portion of which could be habitable. 'This non-detection of nearly Earth-mass planets around Barnard's Star is surely unfortunate, as its distance of only 1.8 parsecs would render any Earth-size planets valuable targets for imaging and spectroscopy, as well as compelling destinations for robotic probes by the end of the century.'"

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But can it detect a space station? (5, Funny)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#41078837)

Could be a local hangout.

Look at the bright side (3, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#41078941)

A lack of planet on a nearby star does not mean there is nothing around the star

There might still be fragments of ice / rocks / whatever that humankind can use to construct an artificial planet of some kind

Plus, the lack of existing planet means we get to create one, with our own design

Re:Look at the bright side (1)

Barryke (772876) | about 2 years ago | (#41079137)

Plus, the lack of existing planet means we get to create one, with our own design

Thats what i was pondering.. i'd mod you up if i could.

Re:Look at the bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079283)

A lack of planet on a nearby star does not mean there is nothing around the star

There might still be fragments of ice / rocks / whatever that humankind can use to construct an artificial planet of some kind

Plus, the lack of existing planet means we get to create one, with our own design

Not to mention, not needing to worry about annoying neighbours while we start redecorating

Re:Look at the bright side (5, Insightful)

cjsm (804001) | about 2 years ago | (#41079467)

A lack of planet on a nearby star does not mean there is nothing around the star

There might still be fragments of ice / rocks / whatever that humankind can use to construct an artificial planet of some kind

Plus, the lack of existing planet means we get to create one, with our own design

Yea, make our own planet. Simple! This got modded 5 Insightful? Why not make another Earth in our own solar system? It would be way easier to do it here where all the resources are, instead of in a distant solar system. Or even easier, crash asteroids from the asteroid belt into Mars to create an Earth size planet. Why don't we do it? Because it would be freakin' impossible for any beings without near God-like technological powers.

Re:Look at the bright side (5, Funny)

lxs (131946) | about 2 years ago | (#41079537)

I do hope they'll add fjords. They give a planet character.

Re:Look at the bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41080215)

Pinning for the fjords in advance, eh?

Re:Look at the bright side (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079569)

"Why don't we do it? Because it would be freakin' impossible for any beings without near God-like technological powers.

People not so long ago would have said that about many of the things we take for granted today. Try telling someone a couple of hundred years ago that we'd build aircraft that could carry hundreds of people at 2/3 the speed of sound to the other side of the planet in a few hours, or that we'd be able to pull a small device out of our pockets and talk instantly to someone anywhere on earth, or that we'd be able to send a sophisticated robot to Mars to explore and conduct science experiments. Creating an artificial planet isn't essentially that hard, it just requires a level of technology beyond where we're currently at. Get to a stage where you can send out self-replicating robots to collect and process asteroids for you, for example, and it might look a bit less daunting. And there's no particular reason to believe that we won't eventually develop such technologies.

Re:Look at the bright side (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#41080083)

This is exactly what I came here to say.

One thousand years ago, the peak of technology was a powder that would explode when ignited, that could propel a small projectile in a general direction a few hundred feet. Today, the peak of technology is dropping a laser-armed nuclear-powered semi-autonomous wheeled laboratory from a rocket-powered flying crane onto a precise target from 150 million miles away.

By the time we have the capability to load up humans and send them 1.8 parsecs away before they (and any descendents) die, we might just have the technology to build an artificial planet, or at least a large structure capable of artificial gravity, a self-sustaining ecosystem, and harvesting materials from whatever asteroids are nearby. It does not need to be as big as the Earth or support as large a population, but it'll do for a while until technology improves further.

Re:Look at the bright side (5, Funny)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41080199)

capable of artificial gravity,

You want some faster than light travel with that?
Or perhaps telekinesis?

Re:Look at the bright side (5, Funny)

Stele (9443) | about 2 years ago | (#41080259)

You want some faster than light travel with that?
Or perhaps telekinesis?

You read my mind!

Re:Look at the bright side (4, Informative)

deoxyribonucleose (993319) | about 2 years ago | (#41080311)

capable of artificial gravity,

You want some faster than light travel with that? Or perhaps telekinesis?

Inertia expressed as centripetal force will do just fine, thanks.

Re:Look at the bright side (3, Insightful)

tarius8105 (683929) | about 2 years ago | (#41080313)

Easier said than done. There would be a lot of new science required just for planet terraforming that does not exist today. An example, how to make the planet's core more active to support tectonic plates so that the rock material from crashing asteroids into the planet get recycled into larger rocks. Then there is calculating the right amount of liquid water needed to sustain the planet and somehow transport it whether its crashing comets into the planet. Altering the planet's rotation if its tidally locked, its axis if we want to have seasons (which I believe would be required), and potentially a moon with enough mass to exert influence to maintain them. The other issue is this isnt something that is currently completable in the average person's life time, it would be many generations down the line where they might be able to work on phase 2.

Re:Look at the bright side (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41079627)

Yea, make our own planet. Simple! This got modded 5 Insightful?

The Mormon Moderation Front?

Seriously, I can't think of anyone else who believe that humans will create planets. No, this is not flamebait or trolling - it really is the only ones I can think of that might see this as a possibility, although not while still human.

And if there really are someone delusional enough here to think that we could create our own planet while being mortal humans, you really need to think about the scale here. It's not just huge, it's immense. We only scratch the surface of this planet.
If we found Mount Everest sized rocks (~3x10^15 kg) in a solar system, we would need around 2 000 000 000, that is 2 milliard (or billion for those who use the short system) of them to create a planet with Earth's mass (~6x10^24 kg). Imagine the power and time needed to move one Mount Everest. Each Chomalungma sized rock is about 28 milliard (or billion in the short sytem) times the weight of the space shuttle.

And we're not just talking scale here. Think about how you would adjust the orbital speed of the mass you assemble so it would stay in orbit as you add to it. Or how to cool it down from all that kinetic energy -- how long did it take Earth to cool down? Or how to survive the flares of Barnard's Star?

Niven and Lucas make great space operas. But we have to admit to some limitations. Come back in a few million years, and whatever species have descended from us may have a different opinion. But us? No, we have no chance.

Re:Look at the bright side (2)

Geeky (90998) | about 2 years ago | (#41080299)

I think, given that you're writing in English, it's perfectly safe to say "billion" and not specify "short system" every time.

Re:Look at the bright side (1, Insightful)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#41079629)

Interstellar travel will probably give us that Near God-Like technological power that you seem to think will be missing. Getting there will be much harder then moving a few rocks around. Though doing it in our own solar system might be considered dangrous. Changing the existing set of gravity wells could cause any number of problems, but who cares if it's an uninhabitable solar system.

Re:Look at the bright side (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41080125)

Getting there will be much harder then moving a few rocks around.

Um, no. A planet isn't just "a few rocks". The scale is immense, and we're bound by the laws of physics and thermodynamics.

Never mind where we would get the energy to accelerate and decelerate such masses from, it would likely take thousands of millions of years to assemble those "few" (thousands of millions) gargantuan rocks and have the new planet cool down enough to be ready for terra-forming.

Getting there isn't even in the same fantasy as creating a planet. There are orders of orders of magnitude difference here.

Re:Look at the bright side (5, Insightful)

dontclapthrowmoney (1534613) | about 2 years ago | (#41079985)

Why not make another Earth in our own solar system?

I'd prefer them to use Barnard's star for beta testing the process.

Re:Look at the bright side (1)

Hunter Shoptaw (2655515) | about 2 years ago | (#41080059)

Because it would be freakin' impossible for any beings without near God-like technological powers.

So was fire and electricity at one point. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)"

Re:Look at the bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41080191)

Your ignorance and stupidity saddens me.

We are speaking about travelling to entirely separate solar systems and you are complaining about a post that speaks relatively with said post?
By the time we even arrive at another solar system humans would have advanced enough to be able to build an entire solar system that could MOVE.
That is if we survive the time.

God-like? Yes, now. But then? Trivial industrial work.

Creationists (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079481)

Plus, the lack of existing planet means we get to create one, with our own design

I wish you damn creationists would stop posting here!

Re:Creationists (1)

Hunter Shoptaw (2655515) | about 2 years ago | (#41080085)

AH! I see what you did there! Good one.

Re:Creationists (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 2 years ago | (#41080209)

Somebody needs to mod this funny :D

Re:Look at the bright side (5, Interesting)

invid (163714) | about 2 years ago | (#41080061)

By the time we have the technology to build our own planets, planets will be obsolete.

It's Kim Jong Il's world. We're just living in it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41080111)

We're so ronery.

Re:But can it detect a space station? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41079557)

There is an interesting aspect towards Science Fiction... The fact that it is Fiction.
fiction [fik-shuhn] Show IPA
noun
1.the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, especially in prose form.
2.works of this class, as novels or short stories: detective fiction.
3.something feigned, invented, or imagined; a made-up story: We've all heard the fiction of her being in delicate health.
4.the act of feigning, inventing, or imagining.
5.an imaginary thing or event, postulated for the purposes of argument or explanation.

  [reference.com [reference.com] ]

In other words Science Fiction is not real. They are stories created by someone. There isn't any strong evidence a Warp/Hyper Space Drive will work or Time Travel is possible. Or that most planets out of the solar system if they do have life chances are it will just be the equivalent of slime on the rocks. If we do find intelligent alien life we have a chance to be able to communicate with them.

The vision of the future I see is closer to Red Dwarf then as of Star Trek. They are no Intelligent Aliens, In a couple of thousand years we may be able to colonize a few planet our of our solar system (to be a backup for humanity), over millions of years we would diverged in evolution. But this will be probably across 2 or 3 planets.

Re:But can it detect a space station? (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#41080097)

Hmmm, and how much science fiction has become true within a century or two of it being written? Traveling to moon? Did that. Created giant subs capable of traversing the world's oceans? Did that. Went to Mars? We're pretty close. Cybernetics? Robotics? The author that came up with those lived to see them start to become real.

We're running out of planets! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078843)

We'd better sign off everything Nasa asks for or we won't get anywhere

http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/08/21/2054257/astronomers-watch-star-devouring-planet [slashdot.org]

Re:We're running out of planets! (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#41078889)

When the wise man points at the moon, the naive looks at the stars behind. Go to the Moon, extract water, create an atmosphere, grow plants. Nobody says it's easy. But the whole is likely to take less time than to go to a "near" star and find a "livable" planet...

Re:We're running out of planets! (1)

eclectro (227083) | about 2 years ago | (#41078929)

The moon doesn't have enough gravity to hold any usable atmosphere that you would think to create.

Re:We're running out of planets! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078939)

That's why dog invented domes. Also certain electromagnetic fields, etc might be able to hold an atmosphere in place... But if you want a "breathable" atmosphere your choices are mars, possibly Venus. Venus being a bit harder to terraform.

Re:We're running out of planets! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079113)

You say the 700C hellhole of burning sulphuric oceans is "a bit harder" to terraform?

That is a bit of an understatement.

Re:We're running out of planets! (2)

Zorpheus (857617) | about 2 years ago | (#41079293)

The upper atmosphere of Venus is much more earth-like though. We just need to figure out how to build a floating colony that can withstand winds of 100m/s.

Re:We're running out of planets! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079573)

Use engineered bacteria to convert the CO2 in the atmosphere to terraform it. Mars requires an atmosphere, which may have to be obtained from a gas giant or comets.

Re:We're running out of planets! (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#41080121)

The advantage of Venus over Mars is that is already has abundant oxygen in the atmosphere, just in a different state than we need it. It's also a lot closer to the sun, so solar power is much more efficient. I wouldn't expect non-domed cities anytime soon, but the materials and resources are there to fuel a domed or underground colony.

Re:We're running out of planets! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078965)

The other problem with the lack of gravity is the effect that it has upon humans. We could easily evolve into a supper tall species with brittle bones. If our space exploration continued that could be a major draw back.

Obviously even if we found a habital world tomorrow, we could find ourselves a super tall species with brittle bones.

Re:We're running out of planets! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079109)

Obviously even if we found a habital world tomorrow, we could find ourselves a super tall species with brittle bones.

Unless people stop going all "ZOMG! ITS WRONG TO DO DIRECT GENETIC MODIFICATION!", in that case we might be able to change humans into something that doesn't grow all wonky in microgravity. The more tried method (That humans have done on animals for several thousand years.) is genetic modificaton through selective breeding but that could involve several thousand generations of suffering before we get to a point where we can stay in microgravity for extended times. It might go faster if one makes sacrifices to other less important traits humans have. Being able to smell is probably not that important anyway.

That does not fempute! (1)

dontclapthrowmoney (1534613) | about 2 years ago | (#41080067)

The more tried method (That humans have done on animals for several thousand years.) is genetic modificaton through selective breeding

Oblig futurama... death by snu snu! http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/yttx80/futurama-death-by-snu-snu [comedycentral.com]

(Sorry, it was the first thing that came to mind.)

Re:We're running out of planets! (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41079453)

The moon doesn't have enough gravity to hold any usable atmosphere that you would think to create.

Over millions of years, sure. It takes a little while to dissipate.

Alpha Centauri (4, Interesting)

Meneth (872868) | about 2 years ago | (#41078847)

What about Alpha Centauri? I suppose the binary nature of the star system could make it hard to detect any planets there.

Re:Alpha Centauri (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | about 2 years ago | (#41079147)

And hard to envisage habitable plants remaining stable for sufficiently long periods of time for complex life to evolve. Though if you're looking for somewhere to put people, planets without existing life are a much better bet.

Re:Alpha Centauri (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079333)

Binary star system with planets have already been discovered.

Kepler-16b for example.

Granted, not in the habitable zone. Until now.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-19514_3-20106952-239/nasa-spots-first-planet-in-binary-star-system/

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0210/11planet/

http://www.space.com/9388-surprise-discovery-planets-stars-system.html

Re:Alpha Centauri (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079161)

How big a telescope would need to be, in order to be able to find streetlights on a planet 10 light years away, either by looking for an artificial spectrum, or for a frequency of the order of 50Hz, assuming a continent-wide synchronised AC power supply.

Re:Alpha Centauri (5, Funny)

naroom (1560139) | about 2 years ago | (#41079933)

Too many mind worms.

Don't need a planet to explore (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#41078857)

I don't understand why can't people think about exploring interplanetary space, not planets, but just looking at what a foreign solar system looks like. Sure, it's nice to have planets to land upon, but it's not necessary if you only care about exploration.

Now, if people wanted to 'spread the seed' so to speak (and as a pro-choice person, I don't necessarily endorse the idea), then yeah, it's a loss, but just to explore you don't need Earth type planets.

How about the Earth sized moons in this solar system? Titan?

Re:Don't need a planet to explore (3, Interesting)

forkazoo (138186) | about 2 years ago | (#41078885)

If a solar system has only one thing in it and that thing is mostly just relatively undifferentiated hydrogen, that's going to be less interesting that a solar system with a bunch of things in it. (Regardless of any ideas about colonizing or anything else.) It's certainly still possible that there is something fascinating in that solar system, but at the moment, it would have to be something we still can't detect, so it's hard to get as excited about. Planets are fascinating things. They have interesting geology and interesting compositions. They also imply that there is enough mass for things smaller than planets, like comets and asteroids as well.

Re:Don't need a planet to explore (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#41078909)

Yeah, but that is not the argument in this story, the argument is not that there are no planets there, the argument is that there are no Earth size (or larger) planets are not found within the 'habitable zone'.

This doesn't mean there are no planets, there are no planetoids, there are no comets, there is nothing there. It means there are no planets like this one or bigger within the 'habitable range', which is another thing that we make various assumptions about.

So to us 'habitable' means some range of temperatures for example, so that water would be in a liquid form. But this does not even mean at all, that there is no planet there, where there is water in liquid form that is not within the 'habitable range' from the star. Can't water be in liquid form due to other conditions, for example because a planet is too hot due to radioactivity and there is liquid water underground?

They ruled out Earth type planets within 'habitable range' that's all.

another lie from roman_mir (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079163)

and as a pro-choice person, I don't necessarily endorse the idea

your religion is 100% pro-life. you would never go against that. why do you feel the need to lie and project yourself otherwise? you could have written the statement just fine without incorporating your blatant lie into it, it added nothing to your argument.

stop lying, and try just being honest. you might do better that way. don't try to repaint yourself to what you think people want to see in the hopes of making your religious zealotry more palatable. just say what you want to say and let the pieces fall where they may.

Re:another lie from roman_mir (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079181)

I'd abort you, no problem, though you are probably in your 60th trimester right now.

Don't need a planet, but you need profits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079793)

If we are to explore anything, it should be the places with the most profit potential (that said, there are places on Earth we haven't explored - namely the deep seas)

Given how we have more knowledge on how to make profits on Earth, people would like to seek out Earth-like environments, since more of our existing knowledge could be leveraged.

Re:Don't need a planet to explore (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41079891)

Have you ever played Star Control II? If there are no planets to land on you're just wasting your time.

Re:Don't need a planet to explore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41080005)

do one of your sock puppets have mod points today? that would be the best explanation for the down-moderation of the earlier comment that pointed out the blatant lie you just posted. your theology is well known here, what do you have to gain by claiming otherwise?

No planets around Barnard's Star? (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41078895)

Let's just build a 'tugboat' and take the earth with us and hope the core stays hot enough to keep us from freezing solid. Be ready for a very long night.

Re:No planets around Barnard's Star? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079093)

It would be a lot easier to make an interstellar ship out of the moon. We just need to build a large base and then set of a huge nuclear explosion on the other side of it.

Re:No planets around Barnard's Star? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079153)

It worked perfectly in Space 1999!

No mod points sadly

Re:No planets around Barnard's Star? (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | about 2 years ago | (#41079155)

For a moment there, I thought you meant on the other side of the moon from us, rather than from the base. I was already to go "nooooo, that'll crash it into the Earth, you fool!" Then I realised. And posted anyway. Ah well.

Re:No planets around Barnard's Star? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079675)

For a moment there, I thought you meant on the other side of the moon from us, rather than from the base. I was already to go "nooooo, that'll crash it into the Earth, you fool!" Then I realised. And posted anyway. Ah well.

yes, that's the ridiculous part of the "nuclear powered moon-ship" plan.

Re:No planets around Barnard's Star? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079099)

Except for the difficulty in fetching oxygen by the pail from puddles in the frozen landscape and then boiling it over a fire to get some air to breathe it sounds quite intriguing, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:No planets around Barnard's Star? (1)

RoverDaddy (869116) | about 2 years ago | (#41079407)

I read a short story once where (based on my very limited memory of the story) a planet had lost its sun somehow and was near absolute zero on the surface. A small group of survivors lived underground in what they called 'the nest' and actually went to the surface periodically to gather some oxygen 'snow' to bring back down to the nest and boil into breathable air.

I -probably- read this in Issac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.

Re:No planets around Barnard's Star? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079755)

It's called "A Pail of Air" by Fritz Leiber from 1951.
The planet was actually earth, which had been torn away from the Sun by a dark star passing through.
It's a nice and rather short story and can be read in full here. http://www.baenebooks.com/chapters/0743498747/0743498747___6.htm [baenebooks.com]

Re:No planets around Barnard's Star? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#41079359)

Or better yet, let's just blow up some nukes on the moon, and use it as a spaceship ;-)

Re:No planets around Barnard's Star? (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41079413)

The moon would be the tugboat. We already live on a spaceship. Another famous author even wrote an operating manual, which apparently nobody is reading.

Is it still a possibility? (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | about 2 years ago | (#41078925)

Could this just mean that it eliminates any orientation other than either pole of the solar system facing Earth? Absolutely no planets seems so suspicious...

Re:Is it still a possibility? (1)

Dupple (1016592) | about 2 years ago | (#41079037)

You could still detect a wobble or deflection of light if a planet orbits around the equator or over the poles.

Re:Is it still a possibility? (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41079059)

Could this just mean that it eliminates any orientation other than either pole of the solar system facing Earth?

No, if that were the case, you would still see the star "draw" a little bitty circle if anything sizable is orbiting it.

Re:Is it still a possibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079247)

I dont think we could detect that circle, if a earth sized planet would be there its just to small.

The barycenter of sun-earth is only 300 miles from the middle of the sun.

Re:Is it still a possibility? (5, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41080349)

The barycenter of sun-earth is only 300 miles from the middle of the sun.

Keep in mind that Barnard's star is only about a seventh of the sun, and much cooler, so the habitable zone is much closer. An earth sized planet in the habitable zone would have a much larger impact on Barnard's Star than Earth does on Sol.

Re:Is it still a possibility? (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | about 2 years ago | (#41079083)

Looking for wobble rather than dimming of light due to transits or direct imaging would imply that there's nothing there at all.

Re:Is it still a possibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079267)

... or it wobbles sidewards ..

Can we detect if we look onto the pole or onto the equator of this star?? I think if we would look onto the equator, the spectral lines are not sharp, because a part of the star goes in our direction, a part in the other ...

It's Masters of Orion 2 all over again! (5, Funny)

Madman (84403) | about 2 years ago | (#41078953)

Now I'm seriously worried. Every time I played Masters of Orion 2 and I got situated in an area where the closest habitable planet was far away I always got my ass kicked by some civilization that was able to expand quickly. Our only hope is to start developing Deuterium fuel cells, and quickly!

Re:It's Masters of Orion 2 all over again! (1)

Boronx (228853) | about 2 years ago | (#41079595)

But in the real world the civilizations don't all start on the same year, so this is a bonus.

And why should we be looking for "Earth-size" ? (1)

futuregeek (2703515) | about 2 years ago | (#41078973)

Whats wrong with a differently sized, but habitable environment planet? And why do we assume that similar sized planets would have similar conditions? It could be entirely different. or even reverse of what we have here.

Re:And why should we be looking for "Earth-size" ? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079117)

Because if it's larger then gravity will make it uninhabitable, and if it's smaller then it can't hold an atmosphere, which again would make it uninhabitable.

Barnard's Star / Sol Trade route. R.I.P. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079003)

There goes my nostalgic memories of Frontier II, trading fish from Barnard's star and Luxuries from the Sol system.

Tau Ceti is still plausible though, right?

Gravity cloaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079053)

There is an entire civilisation there, just hiding in plain sight

Where is Han when you need him (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079061)

The Millennium Falcon could do that distance in less than 1.2 parsecs easy.

Say it isn't so!!!! (0)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#41079063)

Douglas Adams can't be wrong! This can only mean the ultimate answer isn't 42. Excuse me while I drown my sorrows in a pan galactic gargle blaster.

i'm pretty sure it isn't so!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079197)

I'm pretty sure Douglas adams hasn't written about Barnard's Star.

Re:i'm pretty sure it isn't so!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079245)

'Well the Thumb is a Sub-Ether signalling device and the Basingstoke Roundabout is at Barnard's Star, approximately 5 light years away but otherwise yes, that's more or less right.'
'And the bug eyed monster?'
'Is green yes.'

Re:i'm pretty sure it isn't so!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079671)

apologies, your very right sir.

Re:Say it isn't so!!!! (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#41079461)

Douglas Adams can't be wrong! This can only mean the ultimate answer isn't 42. Excuse me while I drown my sorrows in a pan galactic gargle blaster.

Don't panic - Adams only wrote about Barnard's Star as like a roundabout. That means, even if there's no planet, there could be an intergalactic truck stop there.

Star Wars (1)

IhlosiTravel (2713027) | about 2 years ago | (#41079175)

I guess Star Wars is not that fictional anymore?

Re:Star Wars (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079229)

Fuck you shit ball. Star Wars is for faggots and eight year olds. I'm so fucking sick and tired of Slashbitches going on and on about Star fucking Wars.
 
Jam it up your faggot ass, Fag Wars boy.

Re:Star Wars (1)

IhlosiTravel (2713027) | about 2 years ago | (#41079281)

And what was your problem?

Re:Star Wars (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#41079335)

A wookie touched him when he was small.

Re:Star Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079619)

It only looked like a wookie due to his age. It was actually an ewok.

Re:Star Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079715)

Shut up, neckbeard.

Re:Star Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079241)

Mod me down, I don't give a fuck. Fuck you and fuck your Star Wars.

Look on the bright side (1)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#41079379)

Maybe the fact that we live in the boondocks of the Universe with no intelligent species within earshot is the only reason our miserable version of organized life has been allowed to survive so long.

Re:Look on the bright side (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41079411)

with no intelligent species within earshot

Including, I should add, on Earth!

Make do with what we have (1)

thomas8166 (1244688) | about 2 years ago | (#41079417)

For me, this is just another reason why we ought to be trying to clean up the mess we've made on our home planet instead of placing too much hope on a fallback habitable planet.

Ob (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#41079445)

Only four stars, including Barnard's Star, are within six light-years of the Sun, and only 11 are within 10 light-years.

What do you expect? This end of the Western spiral arm is somewhat unfashionable.

a probe? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41079923)

6 years is a little long to wait for control instructions. If we sent a probe, it'd either be 100% automated (not likely if we ever want to see it again) or we'd have technology to travel there faster or communicate faster. In the case of travel faster we would simply send humans. Why would we send a probe instead?

Re:a probe? (1)

gsaraber (46165) | about 2 years ago | (#41080165)

Possibly because FTL travel wouldn't be safe for humans? or it puts limitations on what we can send. not to mention sending humans makes it a LOT more expensive and complex.
I too would like to roam the galaxy in a space ship :) but probes are more efficient for now.

Habitable? (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | about 2 years ago | (#41079945)

leading many to suspect that our galaxy is home to billions of planets, a sizable portion of which could be habitable

I guess that depends on your definition of habitable.

No one ever considers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079949)

Subterranean intelligent life.

Sci-fi vs Science (1)

AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) | about 2 years ago | (#41080017)

We all love the stories, but I'm curious what the last twenty years have suggested as we've become more detailed and accurate with some of our modelings and scientific theories. I *am* wondering what the actual state of science is currently. FTL is proposed to be impossible, but has science concluded that things like wormholes can actually function the way sci-fi suggests and frequently makes use of? Are there any physical properties that don't violate FTL laws, but work around them? Or have we decided that conventional acceleration is the only known way to actually move through space, both in theory and in practice?

Not the answer I wanted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41080073)

You'll never get anywhere outside your ivory towers of academia, damned scientists. In the business world, that answer would get you fired.

Masters of Orion 2 (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about 2 years ago | (#41080167)

Just restart the game, thats what I do.

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