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Scientists Find Water on Extra-solar Planet

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the there-is-no-tea-like-space-tea dept.

Space 220

amigoro writes "Scientists have, for the first time, conclusively discovered the presence of water vapour in the atmosphere of a planet beyond our Solar System, according to an article appearing in Nature. They made the discovery by analysing the transit of the gas giant HD 189733b across its star, in the Infrared using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. HD 189733b is a 'hot jupiter', a gas giant that is roughly the size and mass of Jupiter but orbits very close to the star, so no chance of life there."

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Hrrmph! (5, Funny)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833485)

All this talk about water on extra-solar planets. Now if they found a trapdoor, that would be something!

Re:Hrrmph! (4, Insightful)

Salgat (1098063) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833597)

I don't get it, what is so amazing about water on other planets? Water is simply the reaction of two rather simple and common elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Making water is by far not a hard task.

Re:Hrrmph! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834059)

The parent really isn't a troll.

Hydrogen is fairly common in the universe (90% of its composition), but oxygen isn't except in and near stars (because it is only created by fusion inside the stars and ejected free by supernovas). It makes sense that gas giants will pick up traces of oxygen and then form some water and it makes sense that rocky planets will have the potential to form water since the major constituent of silicious minerals is obviously quartz or SiO2. Any rocky planet that has had some differentiation process would likely have the silicious minerals float to the top like with the Earth and thus have a great potential of having liquid water form if the atmosphere could support it. Mercury, Venus, and Mars are great examples of places where the atmosphere could not support liquid water. On one side if do not have a powerful enough geomagnetic field, the solar wind will strip the atmosphere leaving the surface bare like Mercury and Mars. On the other side, if you gas the atmosphere too much with CO2 from volcanoes, the atmosphere will superheat allowing the water vapour to rise and be broken up by UV light like on Venus. So there is a sweet spot where the Earth exists to have a rocky planet with a strong enough geomagnetic field and enough gassing by volcanoes to support the atmosphere.

Re:Hrrmph! (2, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834767)

The planet they detected water vapor on is, apparently, close enough to its star to be molten. Maybe superheating doesn't get rid of the water vapor, maybe it's about having a magnetic field or something.

Re:Hrrmph! (2, Funny)

arazor (55656) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835097)

You try making water when your prostate is the size of grapefruit! Then we can talk about how making water is not difficult.

hmm (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833513)

Scientists Find Water on Extra-solar Planet

The only extra solar planet I know of is Pluto, and we've already had that discussion.

Re:hmm (0, Flamebait)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834093)

Scientists Find Water on Extra-solar Planet
The only extra solar planet I know of is Pluto, and we've already had that discussion.

Eat some rally nasty chili and wait a few hours - when you go to the bathroom, they'll be able to find water on Uranus.

Re:hmm (2, Informative)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834973)

...and we've already had that discussion.

Apparently we've already had this one [slashdot.org] , too.

Extra-solar planets & Old debates (1)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834989)

Speaking of past debates, this is a tidally locked planet with conclusive proof of water vapor. I remember a few months back when Gilese 581c [wikipedia.org] was talked about here there was a rather large debate on whether a tidally locked planet was likely to have an atmosphere with water.

Being that this new planet is also tidally locked, I guess we have our answer.

___
Expert Grant Writing for Non-profits and Businesses. [grantgorilla.com]

no change of life like us (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833525)

The arrogance of thinking that we're the only possible form of life is ludicrous.

Re:no change of life like us (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19833613)

As a wise man once said: "It's life, Jim, but not as we know it."

Re:no change of life like us (-1, Offtopic)

Aliriza (1094599) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834447)

Hmm are you telling us that this is the planet where the Buick came from ? Maybe they don't need water , they need oil , in that case they may also want to free Iraq and bring them so called democracy , too.Lol.

Re:no change of life like us (1, Funny)

Bad D.N.A. (753582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833789)

The arrogance of thinking that we're the only possible form of life is ludicrous.

I'm sure that Ludacris's response to that would be your too white and nerdy

Re:no change of life like us (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19833919)

Ludacris is doing Weird Al covers now? Bizzare.

Re:no change of life like us (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834199)

I'm sure that Ludacris's response to that would be your too white and nerdy


you're foo, not your. "Is our children learning?" how

you're = you are. your = possessive

back to skool foo, before I bust a cap in yo ass.

Re:no change of life like us (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833961)

And yet it may indeed be that ours is the easiest, and therefore most likely, form of life to get started.

Re:no change of life like us (4, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834115)

"And yet it may indeed be that ours is the easiest, and therefore most likely, form of life to get started."

o argument about it. Its a lot easier than, say, building a car. A car requires over 3,000 pieces - to make a human only requires 2 bumpers and a connecting rod.

Re:no change of life like us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834055)

Agreed.

One could argue the probability of other life (determine that meaning on your own) in our galaxy, and the universe, just went up drastically.

This star is only 63 light years away. In terms of space, its in our neighborhood. Just imageine what might be on the other side of our galaxy!

Re:no change of life like us (3, Insightful)

alexj33 (968322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834065)

But just because you find the idea "ludicrous" or offensive doesn't make it more true/false one iota.

It could very well be that the "arrogant" or offensive answer is the right one. The total lack of any evidence for extraterrestrial life, intelligent or otherwise, should be a strong indicator that we are very, very alone.

Re:no change of life like us (1)

Xeirxes (908329) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834363)

But it's also pretty arrogant to assume that we aren't the only form of life in the universe; both are assumptions that haven't been backed up by anything yet.

Re:no change of life like us (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834417)

Umm.. no. See, it's arrogant to assume we are special. That's what being arrogant is all about. Assuming you are not special is what people humble is all about.

That's for reducing this to a semantic argument.

Re:no change of life like us (2, Insightful)

FST777 (913657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835067)

It's arguable that arrogance might mean nothing on these scales. IMHO, both assumptions are sides in a debate, and oftentimes I find both equally arrogant.

We know the human race is not special from a biological POV. For me, that is the limit where arrogance stops. I have a hard time thinking about arrogance in favor of a type of lifeform (nationalism, racism, specism, lifetypism?).

Re:no change of life like us (2, Insightful)

ZachMG (1122511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834689)

The idea that we are alone and the idea that we aren't alone are both as astounding so why is it any less astounding that the lifeforms are not water based as that they are.

There is always a first "planet" where it appears (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835123)

Who isn't to say we are the first intelligent and that now in parallel a lot is appearing ? Nothing. We can't draw conclusion either way right now. It is pure arrogance to go either way (we are alone (aka: we are the first)/ we are not alone). Both are as ludicrous as you put it.

Re:There is always a first "planet" where it appea (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835179)

I said this to the other guy. Being arrogant is believing you are special.
 

Re:no change of life like us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835145)

There can be a species of friendly gas bags [wikipedia.org] [wiki].

"no chance of life there" (5, Insightful)

MutantEnemy (545783) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833529)

You mean no chance of life as we know it...

Re:"no chance of life there" (1)

sunami (751539) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833537)

Mod parent up; just because human life would be impossible there doesn't mean any kind of life would be impossible.

Re:"no chance of life there" (1)

MutantEnemy (545783) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833561)

Although fair enough - if it's just water vapour then the chances are probably no better than any other Jupiter-like planet. It's usually liquid water that we think is necessary for life...

Re:"no chance of life there" (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833969)

Like there's no water vapor in earth's atmosphere?

According to the article, the planet is gravity-locked, so while the atmosphere may be 1000K, the "dark side" might be "interesting". Look at Mercury - hot enough during the day to melt metals, and cold enough in some spots at night that the air you are breathing right now would be liquid. If it were gravity-locked, the dark side would be the coldest spot in the solar system - colder than Pluto.

Re:"no chance of life there" (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833601)

Which brings up the question, "what is life?". For millenium we've considered ourselves chosen by god, or at least special among all the animals on earth. However, what if we found another form of life that was as intelligent as we are? What if we found one that was more intelligent. How are we even sure that what we're looking for is going to be anything like us. Who says there won't be a race the size of Smurfs on some other planet. Who says there's no way you could have animals that think and act like humans yet get their energy from the sun and breath carbon dioxide like plants do.

Re:"no chance of life there" (5, Funny)

Bad D.N.A. (753582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833851)

Dude... Your preaching to the choir.

Re:"no chance of life there" (2, Interesting)

robgig1088 (1043362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833885)

Why stop there? Who claimed that said beings would even need to be cellular organisms? Perhaps there is some sort of alternative form of existence that we simply haven't considered that would enable life (in some form or another) in even the most severe conditions. Life will find a way.

I vote "intelligent squids". (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834133)

But that's just because I think Cthulhu is cool.

Anyway, a race of intelligent squids would probably NEVER be found by us (barring FTL drives). Their environment just would not be able to support the technology needed to communicate with us over inter-stellar distances. They could not send to us, they could not receive from us.

And there aren't many options for them developing a space program of their own.

Given that OUR planet is at least a 2nd generation world (coalesced from a previous sun's death), how many races have gone extinct already?

Just because we can't receive radio signals from them doesn't mean that they aren't out there or were not out there.

Re:"no chance of life there" (0, Troll)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834219)

Which brings up the question, "what is life?".
Baby don't hurt me.

Re:"no chance of life there" (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834961)

No more.

Re:"no chance of life there" (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834875)

Let me just throw this out there... what if we are the most intelligent in all the universe? The very idea terrifies and intrigues me at the same moment. Philosophical thoughts aside, imagine us as the alpha-males (erm... alpha-geeks, this is slashdot) of the universe.

Re:"no chance of life there" (2, Interesting)

WastedMeat (1103369) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835327)

Something that gets its energy directly from the sun has less benefit conveyed to it by mobility and manipulation of the environment. Intelligence is not just gifted to arbitrary organisms by some kind of designer (how stupid is that?), it has to provide a benefit. A smart tree will not get much more sun than a dumb one.

Compare that to the advantages of intelligence to an organism that must actively search for its food, distinguish useful items from the background, and compete with other mobile animals for limited resources.

And the sizes of biological life are not arbitrary. The surface tension of water sets the surface area to volume ratio of structures that can rely on passive transport of nutrients,as well as those of active transport structures, and the surface to volume ratio of course does not scale linearly. It is logical to assume that any cellular based life that needs water would evolve a familiar relationship between function and size.

Given a similar planet and concept of life, I do not think extraterrestrial life would really be that dissimilar.

Re:"no chance of life there" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19833669)

I don't fancy the chances for life there. Life without liquid water is really strains the imagination. At first I thought at some depth in the atmosphere there might be enough pressure to liquify water but at 1000 Kelvins, liquid water on this planet might be just about as common as liquid nitrogen is on ours.

Besides it is 63 light years away. I bet we find a more hospitable target closer than that before we could check this one out.

While a great discovery, Is this surprising? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19833559)

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and oxygen is the third most common (helium, the second, is inert).

The most common heteroatomic molecule is likely to be water...

Re:While a great discovery, Is this surprising? (3, Interesting)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833593)

No, it's not surprising. No one is saying it is a 'surprise'. It's just that water has never been detected outside of our planet, scientifically, and that's kind of cool.

Re:While a great discovery, Is this surprising? (1)

Quietust (205670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834373)

It's just that water has never been detected outside of our planet, scientifically, and that's kind of cool.
Not even the polar icecaps on Mars, or the tenuous amounts of water vapor in its atmosphere?

Presumably, you meant "outside of our solar system", which would probably be a bit more accurate.

Re:While a great discovery, Is this surprising? (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834751)

Even more accurate would be to say, water on a planet that is outside of our solar system. Water has been known to exist in interstellar clouds for decades.

Re:While a great discovery, Is this surprising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834405)

...water has never been detected outside of our planet...
Wrong. Water has been detected on Mars and other planets. You probably knew that and were just sloppy with your wording, but I'm embarrassed that you got an "insightful" for it.

Re:While a great discovery, Is this surprising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834467)

Uh, the rings of Saturn anyone?

Some miscellaneous information: (5, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833595)

HD 189733b is a gas giant planet with 1.15 times the mass of Jupiter and 1.26 its diameter. It orbits its primary in only 2.219 days and in a distance of 0.0313 AU. This is one of the closest planet-star systems known. The planet's surface temperature is 920 kelvin on the poles and 1220 kelvin on the bright side.

Re:Some miscellaneous information: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19833639)

Suck my dick, karma whore. You are so gay... you put the 'ho' in 'homo'.

Re:Some miscellaneous information: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19833693)

Scientists found the body of Stephen King in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Some miscellaneous information: (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834153)

HD 189733b is a gas giant planet with 1.15 times the mass of Jupiter and 1.26 its diameter. It orbits its primary in only 2.219 days and in a distance of 0.0313 AU. This is one of the closest planet-star systems known. The planet's surface temperature is 920 kelvin on the poles and 1220 kelvin on the bright side.
Have they come up with a theory on how such planets could form? The last time I read up on this stuff, before they discovered extra-solar planets, the idea was that a star like Sol had an accretion disk that was spread along the solar plane thanks to centrifugal force. The solar wind helped push much of the lighter gases out to the far edges and the heavier, rockier material stayed closer to the inside. Due to the influences of gravity and other forces, you tended to see matter bunch up in concentric circles. Given enough time, the pieces all tended to glomp together and you have planets. The asteroid belt represents a planet that would have been but for Jupiter's vast influence.

According to this theory, it would be impossible for a gas giant to form so close to a parent star, it would be blown to pieces. So clearly one theory or the other is wrong here. Since I don't hear a lot of other scientists laughing at the extra-solar planet people, I'm guessing the original planet formation theory is wrong. So, what's current?

Re:Some miscellaneous information: (1)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834579)

I think the formation theory you mentioned is still pretty much accepted. I think the close orbiting gas giants are thought to migrate inward through gravitational interactions with other objects around the star. Perhaps this is the normal result if a young star has a much thicker protoplanetary disk than Sol did.

No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (5, Insightful)

ThePopeLayton (868042) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833611)

so no chance of life there.

This is a pretty bold statement. Scientist predicted that life couldn't survive in a number of environments on earth, yet it has been found in each one:

1- In lakes frozen hundreds of meters down in antarctica
2- In the dept of the ocean where NO light permeates
3- Next to Volcanic openings in the earths crust were tempuratues are well over 800 degress c
4- In the highly acidic and poisionus ponds in Yellowstone National Park

I am sure that there are more but I can't think of any.

So for some scientist to say that there can't be life, I just have to role my eyes. One thing that I have learned about life is that life will find away. So just because we can't concieve of the possible forms that life might take its a little presumputous for us to assume that it can't exist.

Earth is a small speck in the universe, it doesn't matter if you believe in God or not but to assume that life, as we know it on this planet, is the only form and location of life in the universe is a very ignorant view point.

I am of the firm conviction that as soon as we have the technology to explores these remote and hostile locations we will find things that we haven't even dreamed could exist.

So to get off my little soapbox here; if there is water there is probably life, and just because the conditions on the planet don't fit are current formula for life doesn't mean that our formula is correct.

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (1)

irtza (893217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833665)

I agree wwith this sentiment as I think many others here would as well. One thing that many people seem to forget is that life replicates. All it takes is one self replicating particle to be made and it will propogate and fill up its environment

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (1, Insightful)

Tomfrh (719891) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833785)

So for some scientist to say that there can't be life, I just have to role my eyes.

yeah, what do they know. I mean after all, some scientists in the past have made predictions that were wrong, so you'd be a fool to listen to anything a scientist has to say.

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (1)

ThePopeLayton (868042) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833823)

On the contrary, I am actually a research scientist myself, and it is because of my scientific training that I have become skeptical of umbrella claims like the one in the article.

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833859)

"So for some scientist to say that there can't be life, I just have to role my eyes."

IF NOT (SELECT is_there_life FROM scientist WHERE name = 'Tinetti')
    CREATE ROLE eyes;
END IF;

In fairness, I think that's just a bad paraphrasing. "This is a far from habitable world," if you RTA.

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19833863)

Good grief. Please learn English.

The simple fact is that there is *NO* supporting evidence for life elsewhere.

Until some is uncovered, your thoughts are just pure speculation.

A century or so ago, everyone just assumed there was life on the moon. Guess what? We didn't find any. Not too long ago people assumed there was life on Venus and Mars. Guess what? We're not finding any.

I hate to burst your bubble, but "life" is just a relatively thin "bio-film" on this planet. Astronomically speaking, it's really, really, really thin. Almost non-existant. You may think life find "away", but it really hasn't been able to spread very far.

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834105)

Yup, cause we really explored the Moon. After all, we landed on 5 or 6 random positions on the equator, stayed there for an hour or two and picked up some rocks. Planetoid explored!

Mars, we've not even gone to. We've got some rock inspecting toys up there, but that's about it.

Venus, we've never been to there either. Our probes have sampled the atmosphere, that's about it. We still have no idea why it has such a strange rotation.

We have absolutely no credible statement to make about the prevalence of life in the solar system, let alone the universe. But hey, anonymous person on Slashdot, thanks setting us straight.

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834251)

Apart from the 30 seconds of blanked out transmission from Neil Armstring during that very first moon landing, picked up by hundreds of amateur radio enthusiasts, purportedly stating that there were 2 other spaceships in a crater and that they were told in no uncertain terms to stay off the moon.

How close would you like "other life" to be found ?

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (1)

blackicye (760472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834261)

Good grief. Please learn English.

The simple fact is that there is *NO* supporting evidence for life elsewhere.

Until some is uncovered, your thoughts are just pure speculation.

A century or so ago, everyone just assumed there was life on the moon. Guess what? We didn't find any. Not too long ago people assumed there was life on Venus and Mars. Guess what? We're not finding any.

I hate to burst your bubble, but "life" is just a relatively thin "bio-film" on this planet. Astronomically speaking, it's really, really, really thin. Almost non-existant. You may think life find "away", but it really hasn't been able to spread very far.


Good grief. Please learn English.

The simple fact is that there is *NO* supporting evidence for the Earth being round.

Until some is uncovered, your thoughts are just pure speculation.

A century or so ago, everyone just assumed that the Earth was round. Guess what? We they fell right off the edge. Not too long ago people assumed there was a way to circumnavigate the globe. Guess what? They're laying at the bottom of the salty abyss now.

I hate to burst your bubble, but "the globe" is just a relatively flat "square landmass". Astronomically speaking, it's really, really, really flat. Almost non-spherical. You may think sailors find "a way", but nobody has been able to sail around the world.

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835277)

Good grief. Please learn English.

Quoted for hypocrisy.

The simple fact is that there is *NO* supporting evidence for life elsewhere.

He never said there was. He was disagreeing with this statement:

so no chance of life there.

Somebody said that life there was an impossibility. He was merely pointing out that it is, in fact, possible. He wasn't saying that it's definite, merely possible.

Anybody with the remotest understanding of English would understand that. So how about you take your own advice and please learn English?

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (3, Informative)

bahwi (43111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833937)

You've mistaken the poster for the scientist
"so no chance of life there"

but in the article it clearly says:
"This is a far from habitable world," she adds.

Which means it's a no for us. As well:
"Although the planet is an unlikely candidate in the search for life"

Which is no the same as "no chance"

Your post makes perfect sense but to assume that it is a scientist saying that there can't be life is incorrect.

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834323)

I am sure that there are more but I can't think of any.

      In your intestines. This is also not a very "friendly" environment, considering it's full of digestive enzymes. Yet life thrives.

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (1)

Philotic (957984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834675)

Ian Malcom: If there's one thing the history of evolution has taught us, it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free. It expands to new territories. It crashes through barriers. Painfully, maybe even.. dangerously, but and...well, there it is.

Wu: You're implying that a group of composed entirely of females will breed?

Malcom: No, I'm simply saying that life, uh... finds a way.

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (2, Interesting)

Mousit (646085) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834713)

> I am sure that there are more but I can't think of any.

Hell, there are microbes that live and thrive in the heart of nuclear reactors, surviving both the heat and the radiation with ease. They'd be just the type to find a hot planet ultra-close to the sun a paradise..

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834765)

NOOO! Life can ONLY exist at a Earth-sized planet with a mean temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius and where it's made of around 70% of water! FFS! ;-)

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835115)

"life will find away" ???

Please don't phonetically quote from Jurassic Park. Thanks.

Re:No Chance Of Life?!?! WTF? (0)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835163)

So to get off my little soapbox here

That would be a good idea, as that "no chance of life" was written by the article submitter (amigoro), and doesn't appear in the article itself. You can accuse scientists of being wrong until you're blue in the face (and as they're only human, of course they're wrong sometimes), but not this time.

I'm going to be rich. (4, Funny)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833617)

The new company is called Space2ohh (TM). Clean, pure, out of this world refreshment.

I'm seeking venture capital.

I have a friend I'd like you to meet (4, Funny)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833815)

His name is Vijay [troyangrignon.com]

Re:I'm going to be rich. (1)

Radres (776901) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833989)

Oh good, something for me to wash down my baby mammoth [slashdot.org] with.

Re:I'm going to be rich. (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834525)

You'll be cool until it turns out the center of the huge gaseous planet is a big blender.

Water Vapour on a Gas Giant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19833619)

This is nice and all, but wake me up when they discover water vapour on an extra-solar Rocky Planet.

"conclusively"? (2, Interesting)

irtza (893217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833623)

First, let me state that I am not a chemist, so if there is someone who can do a better job of putting this into laymens term, I would be happy. with that said, how can we be sure its not the interaction of multiple molecules causing this or that this isn't a yet undiscovered molecule leading to this effect? I'm a bit wary of any indirrect measurement, so if someone with the proper background wishes to do some enlightenment, I'd be more than happy to read (even references would be nice).

Re:"conclusively"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19833923)

Water has a pretty clear IR signature that is sufficiently different from compounds of similar abundance. In other words, unless something very very very strange is going on, it is water.

Re:"conclusively"? (4, Informative)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833977)

It's called Spectroscopy, and is extremely cool stuff. It's used in everything from detecting compositions of stars/planets to identifying really old manuscripts.

Here is an excellent article to get you started:

http://astrophysics.suite101.com/article.cfm/water _on_hd_209458b [suite101.com]

And, of course:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Spectros copy&oldid=143266670 [wikipedia.org]

Re:"conclusively"? (1)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835173)

lol nice signature, though when there's only the two fat girls in the bar (win and mac) and one retard cripple (linux), i'll take the 2nd fattest girl any day of the week.

Re:"conclusively"? (1)

WaltFrench (165051) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834565)

Previous replies have given specific answers but allow me to observe that most science left the "direct observation" phase decades ago, and astronomy has relied primarily on "indirect" measures, e.g., telescopes, for centuries. (Yes, reasonable, thoughtful people doubted Jupiter's moons because you could only see 'em thru those new-fangled tele-thingies.)

Not that our basic senses are that terribly much more trustworthy. We're surrounded by our projections of what we think the world is about.

Who cares? (0, Troll)

geoseb (1027080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833631)

The only reason anyone cares about there being water on other planets is because of the possibility of that water supporting life, if there is n"o chance of life there", who cares?

No Chance of Life? (1)

unamiccia (641291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833641)

HD 189733b is a 'hot jupiter', a gas giant that is roughly the size and mass of Jupiter but orbits very close to the star, so no chance of life there.

According to what lazy science fiction writer's unimaginative extraterrestrial biologist friend?

Why do I suddenly (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19833907)

Have the urge to go take a leak?

Spitzer's Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19833931)

We should focus the telescope to find Osama bin Laden.

Spitzer's Law: As an online discussion about new findings grow longer, the probability of someone suggesting we find Osama bin Laden approaches one.

Re:Spitzer's Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834745)

We should focus the telescope to find Osama bin Laden.

Spitzer's Law: As an online discussion about new findings grow longer, the probability of someone suggesting we find Osama bin Laden approaches one.


Spitzer, is that you?

Pshaw, "Nature" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19833993)

Yeah, the National Enquirer of science. Wake me up when Science runs it. BTW, the article [nature.com] is only available to the suckers who'd pay for that drivel.

I can't find the current issue of Nature online, but here's a bittorrent link of the April 26th issue [mininova.org] to give you an idea.

And The Enquirer [enquirer.com] is a freebie.

Let me know when they find beer (3, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834045)

When they detect beer on another planet, THEN, we'll be talking!

Re:Let me know when they find beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834185)

On Canadian Slashdot this article reads "Scientists find American Beer on Extra-Solar Planet", so really they DID find beer on another planet - it just wasn't any good.

Super heated steam (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834193)

If they can find a heat sink, then one can run a steam power station there and with some long wires, we can solve our energy crisis...

I can prove there is no life on any other planets! (0)

Scoldog (875927) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834213)

It's simple.

How many planets are out there? Infinite.
There can be only a finite amount of life supporting planets.
Divide a finite number by infinity. You get 0.

So therefore there are no life in the universe and everything is a figment of my imagination!

(Nod of thanks to the Hitch Hikers Guide trilogy of five)

Flawed Proposition (3, Insightful)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834291)

There aren't an infinite amount of planets -- there's like a golybillion. And everyone knows that infinity less a golybillion is a whopping sum, so your error is truly is staggering proportions.

The universe is largely transparent, and we can see almost all the way to its privates. The decorations are of the same style and motif throughout, so we can pit our local gravity-well spirlies against theirs and make some reasonable guesses about how far away far is. Since it turns out it's in the neighbourhood of 13 billion lightyears away, I think we can -- as civilized folk -- agree that 13 billion is more than a golybillion shy of infinity.

Check my maths if you're a stickler, but I'm pretty sure I'm on solid ground here.

Space is finite (if gummy), therefore the number of decorations whorled up by our familiar physics is finite, therefore the number of little planety lumps inside of them is finite. Q.E.D.

Re:I can prove there is no life on any other plane (3, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834301)

How many planets are out there? Infinite.
There can be only a finite amount of life supporting planets.


      Just because I feel like nit-picking. If you have an infinite number of planets, you also have an infinite number of planets that support life. Only this is a smaller "infinite" number.

Re:I can prove there is no life on any other plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834401)

infinite = infinite, therefore EVERY planet harbors life :P

also, slashdot admins and such, instead of just saying 'you have to wait between each posting, it's been 6 minutes since your last post' when someone tries to submit a second comment to a thread, how about you say how long one has to actually wait in that notice so I don't have to keep hitting the submit button every minute to know if I'm allowed to post another comment yet or not?

Re:I can prove there is no life on any other plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834561)

ohhhh, right, the banner ads...

Still it would be nice to know what that wait limit is, for those of us who don't post all the time

Re:I can prove there is no life on any other plane (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834569)

Still it would be nice to know what that wait limit is, for those of us who don't post all the time

      It's around 20 mins for anonymous posts. 2 minutes if you are logged in.

no chance of life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834327)

i'm sick of the naysayers in the so-called scientific community.

Language is no longer a science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834365)

Was anyone else pained by the erroneous sentence structure, redundant identical statements in a single sentence with a 'but' in between them, and general poor english?

I mean, I'm not having a go at this journalist directly, I'm sure they were half asleep proof reading at 3am or something. But haven't you noticed more and more science articles being written with less and less grammatical prowess? In the past month I've cringed more times than I've said 'wow!' when reading science news.

It hurts

Make it stop :(

Life without water (1)

NRISecretAgent (982853) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834497)

Sure, a planet with water and no life... I'll be impressed when we find a planet with life and no water. Only because for once we would have looked away from water, not because I thought water is necessary. Why not have a life form that survives purely on beer?

Re:Life without water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19834737)

Dude.

Beer is made of water.

Forgive me but... (1)

DeathElk (883654) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834773)

... I, for one, welcome our new hot, wet overlords.

Re:Forgive me but... (2, Funny)

MLease (652529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834851)

Especially if they're overladies!

-Mike

No chance of life? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19834987)

Why not [usgs.gov] ?

WHY has Slashdot not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835137)

put up an article about the mechanical turk being run by Oxford to classify deep space objects?

I put an item in yesterday morning, and it was in the Register by lunch-time, but /. has passed it by.

Don't /.ers want to be the first humans to see a new galaxy?
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