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Unlikely Planets Found In Violent Star Clusters

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the no,-not-cubical-planets dept.

Space 30

astroengine writes "When it comes to forming planets, Mother Nature isn't very picky. Despite horrific conditions inside densely packed open clusters, stars apparently have no problem forming and hanging on to an orbital brood. That's the conclusion from a new study (abstract) that used data collected by NASA's now-dormant Kepler space telescope to hunt for planets in a one-billion-year old open cluster called NGC 6811, a collection of about 70 stars located about 3,400 light years away in the constellation Cygnus."

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30 comments

So. (-1, Troll)

vettemph (540399) | about 10 months ago | (#44117393)

Does anyone actually care about these other planets besides the folks who are trying to get more grant money from the tax paying middle class?

Please. Stop it.

There is nothing out there that we can reach.
Anything that could reach us would kill or enslave us if they are anything at all like us.

Re:So. (4, Insightful)

harvestsun (2948641) | about 10 months ago | (#44117491)

Yeah, screw advancing the state of human knowledge and technology! Physics is for NERDS! Some may say that such advancements are the only purely logical purpose for the continued existence of our race as a whole, but how does that help ME?

Re:So. (4, Interesting)

war4peace (1628283) | about 10 months ago | (#44117495)

This reminds me of some people in the past saying that a train would never exceed 30 miles per hour because the passengers would suffocate.

Re:So. (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 10 months ago | (#44117597)

We will never travel faster than the speed of light. That, however, does not mean we can not reach distant star systems. It will simply be a very, very, long trip.

Re:So. (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 10 months ago | (#44118591)

There are some theoretical travel models which don't necessarily involve going the whole distance.

Re:So. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44120153)

>There are some bullshit travel models which don't necessarily involve going the whole distance.

Fixed that for you.

Re:So. (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 10 months ago | (#44126589)

Well then again, people called bullshit on trains, planes and so on.
It is mathematically possible to travel faster than light (e.g. using an Alcubierre drive using the power harnessed by the Casimir effect). It's not physically possible now? True. Time will tell though. I wouldn't completely abandon all hope just yet.

Re:So. (1)

formfeed (703859) | about 10 months ago | (#44119077)

We will never travel faster than the speed of light. That, however, does not mean we can not reach distant star systems. It will simply be a very, very, long trip.

A very, very long trip of a few thousand years at least (not to mention the 3000 years TSA will add to the pre-boarding).

Re:So. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44119209)

Pro tip: As soon as you say "we will never do X" you are wrong.

The lightspeed barrier is merely another problem to solve.

Your science is not an infallible religion, so please stop acting like it is.

Re:So. (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#44119313)

We will never travel faster than the speed of light. That, however, does not mean we can not reach distant star systems. It will simply be a very, very, long trip.

That depends. There are theories that show that "warp travel" of varying definitions may be possible. I recall one in which maintaining a stable "warp bubble" for what is effectively faster than light travel was feasible. The problem is getting into the bubble itself, which required enormous energy - far more than maintaining it or traveling in it. There are other theories and studies under way. And given that there is still a lot of physics we don't understand (dark energy, dark matter, unification of quantum mechanics and relativity), it may be the answer is out there. The article below discusses one such idea that may be unrelated to the one I mentioned.

Warp Drive May Be More Feasible Than Thought, Scientists Say [space.com]

Re:So. (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 10 months ago | (#44117681)

Anything that could reach us would kill or enslave us if they are anything at all like us.

Even we aren't like us. Not every culture is as incompetently bent on domination as the anglosphere. The Romans now, there was a group who knew how to hold an empire together. Their philosophy wasn't the laughable 'if they're fighting one another at least they aren't fighting us', but rather to make conquered nations semi-equals, citizens if they so chose.

Anyway and on topic, there's no particular reason why we won't defeat age related mortality before too long. It's not physically impossible to live for millennia, just quite difficult. Death is hardwired into our DNA for reasons which no longer make sense, if reason is the correct term. Once that bridge is crossed there is nowhere in the universe out of our reach, even without FTL travel. What will you spend the next thousand years on the colony ship doing? Meditate, master every skill known to man, study, write and perfect literature to awe the ages, enhance everything around you. Had I a million years to live it wouldn't be enough or near enough.

Believe me, the future holds wonders no man or woman could dream of.

Re:So. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44119517)

What a ridiculous statement! At the beginning of the twentieth century the west had the hold world in its grasp. Had it been truly imperialistic like China or the Islamic caliphate, the world would now consist of the west and its colonies and little else. Instead the west chose the more difficult path, with the result that China, or perhaps a restored Caliphate, will probably end up taking over.

Re:So. (4, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | about 10 months ago | (#44117927)

Don't be rediculous. Advancements and research in science is money much better spent than throwing young men around the world to kill and die. You wanna save money? Tell congress to stop funding presidential wars.

Re:So. (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#44119379)

If the actual concern is to increase science and technology spending, then you should specifically advocate that when contacting your congressional representative. That would be much more helpful than simply advocating against spending money on war as that gives no guidance on your preference as to what to do with the unencumbered funds (refund? pay off debt? repurpose?).

The primary expenditure for the US government is that same as Europe - social welfare spending. In the US, social welfare spending in the Federal budget is about double what is spent on defense. The incremental addition for actual warfighting is a fraction of the defense budget.

In terms of evaluating priorities, it may be useful to keep in mind that the level of spending on science and technology by the governments of France and Poland probably nosedived after they were occupied in 1939-1940. Germany's ability to conduct it also suffered badly as it's infrastructure was badly damaged by the end of the war.

Re:So. (1)

andydread (758754) | about 10 months ago | (#44118271)

Yes Nerds care and last time I checked this site is *supposed* to be "News for Nerds".

Re:So. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 10 months ago | (#44119557)

Yes Nerds care and last time I checked this site is *supposed* to be "News for Nerds".

Check again. No seriously, do check... can you find it NOW?

I would like to be so, but it seems that senility (lost of common functions) comes with age faster for web sites than for humans

Re:So. (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 10 months ago | (#44119803)

When I load slashdot.org, the window title is "Slashdot:News for nerds, stuff that matters - Mozilla Firefox. Hovering over the tab gives a similar title minus the Mozilla Firefox and the window list also gives a similar title with Firefox as the prefix.
Perhaps it depends on the browser

Re:So. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 10 months ago | (#44119985)

When I load slashdot.org, the window title is "Slashdot:News for nerds, stuff that matters - Mozilla Firefox. Hovering over the tab gives a similar title minus the Mozilla Firefox and the window list also gives a similar title with Firefox as the prefix.
Perhaps it depends on the browser

It seems that it does depend on the browser: on CentOS Chrome doesn't display it, Firefox does.

Seems that I either I have to hand over the nerd card or change the browser.

Re:So. (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about 10 months ago | (#44119949)

View source -> Line 278.
<link rel="top" title="News for nerds, stuff that matters" href="//slashdot.org/" >

Re:So. (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 10 months ago | (#44119283)

Does anyone actually care about these other planets besides the folks who are trying to get more grant money from the tax paying middle class?

Yes, and there are a lot of reasons for this. Before I get to them, let me quickly note that the entire US budget on all research as a percent of GDP is generally around 3% http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/guitotal.shtml [aaas.org] , and space research fraction of that. The NASA budget is slightly less than a half of 1% of the federal budget http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA [wikipedia.org] , and only a small fraction of that is devoted to planet searching. The cost of Kepler for its entire life is around 600 million dollars http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepler_(spacecraft) [wikipedia.org] , which spread out over the course of its lifetime through the whole US population is about 25 cents a year per a person.

Now, let's examine why we care. The zeroth reason we care because its freaking awesome. Let me tell you how awesome this. In the early 1990s, one of the best computer games ever made was Masters of Orion II. In that game, in order to find out what planets were around other stars, you had to send probes to them. Now, we can see extrasolar planets from the comfort of Earth orbit. That's how far our technology has gone: that we can do this when it was considered implausible even for science fiction. Now, what other reasons are there? First, basic research is important. We don't know in advance how helpful any form of scientific research will be. But for much of the basic research, since there's always a massive set of steps between basic research and applied things, it isn't in the interest of any private enterprise to do such research. Basic research is what economists call a public good http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_good [wikipedia.org] , and those need to be funded by the government in order for them to happen. Second, there's a concern about the Great Filter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Filter [wikipedia.org] , a variant answer to Fermi's famous question. It is possible that there's something which wipes civilizations out just as they are getting advanced. If so, we need to figure that out before we trigger it, whatever it is. That means that there's a long term, but definitely practical goal in trying to find other planets and seeing what they are like.

Re:So. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44122177)

vettemph, what the fuck are you doing at slashdot? GTFO, you punk-assed jock. This is a nerd site and your comment is nothing but an anti-science troll. I wish slashdot would bring the "news for nreds" mastheads back, there are far too many noncompos [definitions.net] like you showing up here lately, and you piss real nerds off. Someone mod this guy down some more, he needs to have his lame-ass anti-science self's karma so fucking low it takes him four hours to post a comment that starts at -1.

Go away, asshole. Leave us nerds and geeks in peace. Go to the AARP site and bitch about Social Security, or a Christian site and tell everyone how stupid they are for believing in Christ.

Fucking asshole.

So you are saying you don't know shit about space? (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 10 months ago | (#44117413)

And here we thought we know it all.

I find it funny, but if you can find that planets can survive in extreme conditions, how the hell can you not think that life can't also? This always reminds me how the experts are experts on nothing, because we really know nothing about the universe.

But hey, let's spend more money then all the combined totals of the income of all 3rd world nations (totally making that figure up, too lazy to check) on killing people instead of advancing human knowledge.

Re:So you are saying you don't know shit about spa (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 10 months ago | (#44118987)

The question isn't so much can life survive in those conditions, as can it originate in those conditions. When a change comes on slowly enough simple life can survive in truely incredible conditions...but could it originate in them?

Of course, answering this question is made more difficult, because we don't know what conditions life originated in even on Earth. We've got lots of reasonable guessses, and perhaps more than one of them is correct (though only one origin left survivors).

Globular clusters (5, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#44117455)

So far, the only place where planets haven’t been found yet is in globular clusters, an environment even more extreme that open clusters like NCG [sic!] 6811.

Aren't globular clusters very old? And, consequently, not very metallic? The lack of planets in them can hardly come as a surprise.

Fascinating Summary (2)

melikamp (631205) | about 10 months ago | (#44117513)

Skip TFA, folks. If this guy wanted to be read, he'd publish on this side of the paywall.

post unrelated (1)

Mazgula (2930913) | about 10 months ago | (#44119933)

don't mind me, just testing out my new sig

Re:post unrelated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44125985)

As you're new here (this is the only comment in your comment history), don't waste our time and your karma by posting offtopic drivel. Start a journal, unmark the "make public" box and experiment to your heart's content. As this is your only comment and will most likely be at a -1 PDQ it wasn't a very smart move. A few more like that and your comments will all start at zero or lower and you'll have to wait between comments.

If it isn't insightful, informative, or truly funny, and on topic, don't post it.

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