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The hunt for brown dwarfs and other potential neighbors to the Sun is picking up speed. Spurred on by the exciting discoveries made by the Spitzer telescope in recent years, the scientists preparing the WISE launch are getting increasingly excited about what they might discover out there. It's just a case of who's going to find the Dark Star first...WISE, SIRTFor the Japanese? Either way, we're going to know within just a couple of years.
Here's an extract from a recent press release from NASA:
"An estimated $300-million mission, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or "Wise," has been in the planning stages for the past eight years. It is scheduled to launch into an Earth orbit in late 2009. It will spend seven months collecting data.
Such extensive sky coverage means the mission will find and catalog all sorts of celestial eccentrics. These may include brown dwarfs, or failed stars, that are closer to Earth than Proxima Centauri, the nearest star other than our sun. Brown dwarfs are balls of gas that begin life like stars but lack the mass to ignite their internal fires and light up like normal stars. They do, however, produce warm infrared glows that Wise will be able to see.
"Brown dwarfs are lurking all around us," said Dr. Peter Eisenhardt, project scientist for the mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We believe there are more brown dwarfs than stars in the nearby universe, but we haven't found many of them because they are too faint in visible light."
Wright, Eisenhardt and other scientists recently identified brown dwarfs using NASA's infrared Spitzer Space Telescope. Wise will vastly expand the search, uncovering those brown dwarfs closest to Earth that might make ideal targets for future planet-hunting missions. Recent Spitzer findings support the notion that planets might orbit brown dwarfs."
Reference: JPL Press Release "NASA SAYS: 'BUILD IT AND INFRARED SURPRISES WILL COME'" wise.ssl.berkeley.edu... 13/10/06, with thanks to Monika and David
but in reality is to build more underground bases. We are building 4 new ones a year and expanding others.
Thats not quite 3600 years b
If you add 2007 that comes to 12907 divide by 4 and you get roughly 3225.