Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"NASA Announces Major Exoplanet Discovery"

Via Google News:  Astronomers from NASA and the European Southern Observatory announced Wednesday that four new Earth-sized exoplanets have been discovered orbiting a star about 40 light-years away, and that three may contain liquid water and be able to sustain life.

This star's small grouping of planets now boasts the most Earth-sized worlds of any system astronomers have discovered, and the most exoplanets that may be able to support surface life and water.

"This is an amazing planetary system, not only because we have found so many planets, but because they are all surprisingly similar in size to Earth," said Michaël Gillon, astronomer from the University of Liège in Belgium and lead author of the paper about the discovery published in the journal Nature.

All seven planets that surround the ultra cool star — which has only about 8 percent the mass of our own sun — orbit more tightly to their host than any of the planets in our system are to the sun.

"They would fit within the orbit of Mercury with oodles of room to spare," Shostak says. "A year on any of these worlds would be less than three weeks, and in the case of the innermost planet, only 36 hours. You'd have a hard time keeping up with birthdays."

Link to the whole article


Leland said...

NASA Announces Effort to be Relevant

I say that because the biggest news this week is the Falcon 9 launch from Pad 39A. If you seen the pad before and know what you are seeing; you'll realize that about 70% (a low estimation) of the structure sitting on top of the concrete had nothing to do with the flight. Most of it is the relic of the service tower for the Saturn V, that was converted and added onto for the Space Shuttle, and now just sits there pretty much in the way. Other than a few rain birds (the tall structures next to launch vehicle which pour water on the concrete to soften the "boom" of ignition from rattling apart the pad; the majority of the launch support is the white erector/tower of SpaceX.

NASA also announced a study to consider launching the first SLS as a crewed mission. It took about 5 seconds for people reading the suggestion to realize it was a dumb idea. NASA couched it as similar to Apollo 8, except the first Saturn V launch was unmanned Apollo 6, and that was after Apollo 5 tested many of the other systems while unmanned. But the Space Shuttle was first launched with a crew! And current NASA models (remember those are consider great for measuring changes in Earth's climate) say there was a 1/12 chance of losing the vehicle and crew of that mission, not the 1/500 chance predicted at the time or 2/135 chance that has been proven by reality.

So, lets talk about planets, that can't be seen, and only guessed at. It's like buying a lottery ticket, so you can dream about the future until the drawing happens and you realize that you are just $5 poorer. That's NASA!

edutcher said...

If there are any inhabitants, Bill Shatner will be off to have sex with them, but, with a star called TRAPPIST-1, they may all be celibate.

Rabel said...

The science bidness and the used car bidness seem to be nearing a state of total convergence.

edutcher said...

Well Barry's mission statement for NASA was Moslem outreach, so it would follow they're a little confused these days.

ampersand said...

Venus and Mars are earth size planets and I read the solid cores of the 4 gas giants are also earth sized. Ain't no one moving there anytime soon.