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NASA searches for next Earth

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posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 03:24 AM
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NASA searches for next Earth


www.news.com.au

NASA is preparing to launch the Kepler space telescope to help answer a question that has boggled the minds of astronomers for centuries: is Earth the only habitable planet in the galaxy?

"This mission attempts to answer a question that is as old as time itself -- are other planets like ours out there?" said Ed Weiler, Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

"It's not just a science mission, it's an historical mission."

Kepler will stare at the same spot in space for three and a half years, taking in about 100,000 stars around the Cygnus and Lyra constellations of the Milky Way.

The massive telescope is scheduled to launch atop a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on Friday at 10.48 pm (2.48pm Saturday AEDT).

At a cost of nearly $A934 million , it will be the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's first mission in search of Earth-like planets orbiting suns similar to ours, at just the right distance and temperature for life-sustaining water to exist.

The telescope will be hunting for relatively small planets that are neither too hot nor too cold, are rocky and have liquid water -- essential life-sustaining conditions -- explained William Borucki, Kepler's Principal Investigator based at NASA's Ames Research Center in California.

"If we find that many, it certainly will mean that life may well be common throughout our galaxy, that there is an opportunity for life to have a place to evolve," Borucki said.

"If none or only a few of these planets are found, it might suggest that habitable planets like Earth are very rare and Earth may be a lonely outpost for life."

Equipped with the largest camera ever launched into space -- a 95-megapixel array of charge-coupled devices (CCDs) -- the Kepler telescope is able to detect the faint, periodic dimming of stars that planets cause as they pass by.

"If Kepler were to look down at a small town on Earth at night from space, it would be able to detect the dimming of a porch light as somebody passed in front," according to Kepler Project Manager James Fanson.

This is no small feat.

"Trying to detect Jupiter-size planets crossing in front of their stars is like trying to measure the effect of a mosquito flying by a car's headlight," Fanson said.

"Finding Earth-sized planets is like trying to detect a very tiny flea in that same headlight."

Kepler's discoveries ``may fundamentally alter humanity's view of itself,'' Jon Morse, astrophysics division director at the US space agency's Washington headquarters, told a press conference last month.

"The planetary census Kepler takes will be very important for understanding the frequency of Earth-size planets in our galaxy and planning future missions that directly detect and characterize such worlds around nearby stars."

Ever since astronomers first turned their telescopes to the sky, humans have been searching for other planets. But the small size of planets compared to stars has complicated the task.

Only eight planets have been found in our solar system -- Pluto is now considered a mere planetoid.

Since 1995, some 337 planets have been found orbiting around stars outside our solar system, but they are all bigger than Earth and do not have Earth-like conditions that make life possible.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 03:24 AM
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So Nasa is looking for another Earth

may be to the fact that they are starting to realise that we are to many in numbers for just one Earth to support us all in style.


Only 337 orbiting planet found since 1995 thought it would have been more.


wonder how long before we start getting some answer from this next nasa mission?

peace& hope
SM

www.news.com.au
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 04:23 AM
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This mission is the most significant step towards finding life and IMO THIS IS IT! if you look at the time frame of when they say the study will conclude this will take us directly to 2012. the year of disclosure.

Everything is gearing up for this. in the newspapers the founders of this mission have stated we will find earth like planets and we will find E.T. However, they believe that they will not be fully evolved like us. What a joke!

Question is what do they know that we don't, already



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 06:03 AM
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Originally posted by franspeakfree
if you look at the time frame of when they say the study will conclude this will take us directly to 2012. the year of disclosure.



So 2012 is the year of disclosure? Now I am very curious. What is it that you know that I don't?



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 06:07 AM
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Originally posted by smokingman2006
So Nasa is looking for another Earth

may be to the fact that they are starting to realise that we are to many in numbers for just one Earth to support us all in style.


Maybe, but I doubt that. There are vast areas on Earth like deserts that could be terraformed for human habitation.
Technically speaking, I'm quite sure that would be easier then relocating people to alien worlds.

I mean, we can't even put a man on Mars, let alone go to some planet in another solar system. But who knows, maybe in the distant future we could do that.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 07:49 AM
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reply to post by franspeakfree
 


i have noticed this as well, a lot of important things i have seen around all have some point of reference to 2012, or maybe its just because im looking out for stuff relating to 2012 that im finding it more than everything else



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:28 PM
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I don't get something. If it's only the faint change of light of a star when planet passes by it. How the heck are they going to say anything at all besides its relative size and maybe mass. Or do they have another ultra zoom lens when they found something of interest?



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:56 PM
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Don't hold your breathe when it comes to information they will release....

This is NASA afterall. I'm sure they already know of many "earth-like" planets, just refuse to tell us.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 03:53 PM
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Originally posted by broli
I don't get something. If it's only the faint change of light of a star when planet passes by it. How the heck are they going to say anything at all besides its relative size and maybe mass. Or do they have another ultra zoom lens when they found something of interest?


You probably already know the answer but it's slipped your mind.

Spectroscopy.
When an object passes between the sun and the observer (and has atmosphere), the atmosphere filters out certain wavelengths of light depending on the content of the atmosphere.

By checking the difference between the sun's spectrum without the planet, with the sun's spectrum with the planet in the way, you can decipher the composition of that planets atmosphere.

Basically, we can tell if there's water, nitrogen, oxygen etc, and if sometimes (if the results are clear) if the air is breathable to us.


I'm pretty sure you already knew that though, it probably just slipped your mind.


I have no idea why the 2012ers are jumping on this one though...
What does looking at other stars have to do with this "end of times" scenario?

I get the feeling on January 1st 2013, there's going to be allot of people too embarrassed to come back to ATS.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 08:38 PM
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This rocket launch will be in about 40 minutes...bah, that's during the last 10 minutes of Battlestar Galactica.


I'm such a nerd!



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 09:32 PM
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I know! Watching BSG and then NASA TV online. (Normally I would have watched NASA TV on tv but our cable company, Comcast, recently dropped NASA TV from their programming!) What's up with that?

[edit on 6-3-2009 by elfie]



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 09:38 PM
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Originally posted by Whisper67
This rocket launch will be in about 40 minutes...bah, that's during the last 10 minutes of Battlestar Galactica.


I'm such a nerd!


A real Nerd would watch the launch and record BSG

He types that and gets his recorder ready



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 09:38 PM
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Yeah, I just read the story on cnn.com as a devloping story. How cool!!! I think in the next 4-5 years if indeed there is intelligent life on another planet we will have proof. Only problem is, will they tell us of their findings. I think there is overwhelming proof of life elswhere. They are just to advanced to be truely discovered.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 09:48 PM
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If you are online now you can go to the video section on cnn.com and see live shot of the launch.



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