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Spacecraft to blast off in search of 'Earths'

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posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 10:22 PM
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Spacecraft to blast off in search of 'Earths'

By A. Pawlowski
CNN, March 6th, 2009

www.cnn.com...


(CNN) -- Calling it a mission that may fundamentally change humanity's view of itself, NASA on Friday prepared to launch a telescope that will search our corner of the Milky Way galaxy for Earth-like planets.

This image shows part of the Milky Way region of the sky where the Kepler spacecraft will be pointing.

1 of 3 The Kepler spacecraft is scheduled to blast into space on top of a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida just before 11 p.m. ET.

"This is a historical mission. It's not just a science mission," NASA Associate Administrator Ed Weiler said during a pre-launch news conference.

"It really attacks some very basic human questions that have been part of our genetic code since that first man or woman looked up in the sky and asked the question: Are we alone?"

Kepler contains a special telescope that will stare at 100,000 stars in the Cygnus-Lyra region of the Milky Way for more than three years as it trails Earth's orbit around the Sun.

The spacecraft will look for tiny dips in a star's brightness, which can mean an orbiting planet is passing in front of it -- an event called a transit. Watch how astronomers will try to find 'Earths' »

The instrument is so precise that it can register changes in brightness of 20 parts per million in stars that are thousands of light years away.

"Being able to make that kind of a sensitive measurement over a very large number of stars was extremely challenging," Kepler project manager James Fanson said.

"So we're very proud of the vehicle we have built. This is a crowning achievement for NASA and a monumental step in our search for other worlds around other stars." See what the telescope looks like and which part of the galaxy it will monitor »

Are we alone?...


www.cnn.com...


Here is the comment I posted to the article at CNN



If life is ubiquitous in the universe, and, provided that evolution is progressive, given that evolved man would represent a very recent addition, maybe even the latest, due to the vast time spans involved - then, while the socio-political, technological and, presumably, spiritual evolution, of other highly evolved beings would by far exceed our own by many many orders of magnitude, perhaps man, though last may be first in the long march of evolutionary progress.

Furthermore, if modern physics is at least in part an accurate description of reality in its depiction of a non-local, transluminally interconnected, holographic universe, then I would have to say that we are not living up to our responsibilities here at the apex of cosmic evolution.

Let us therefore eminate love with all our hearts, mind, strength and soul.

"Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."


 
Quoting External Sources - Please Review This Link


[edit on Sun Mar 8 2009 by Jbird]




posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 05:14 AM
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I've been wondering, how long will it probably be until Kepler starts giving us the first results? (which will probably be the bigger planets) Should we expect some news in a few months? This year? When?

And I'm betting that by the end..... we will have found hundreds to hundreds of thousands of rocky planets!


[edit on 7-3-2009 by GrayFox]



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 06:58 AM
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reply to post by GrayFox
 


it should bag its first "hot jupiters" within a few months.

just read on the website theyre saying 3 years for the 1st "earth" announcement...if they find any of course.



And I'm betting that by the end..... we will have found hundreds to hundreds of thousands of rocky planets!


sorry grayfox , finding around 100 rocky planets will be a good result for kepler. Its viewing 100,000 stars in total but even if a star does have planets kepler only has a 1% chance of seeing them. Sucks huh? But that means if we find 100 there are many many more there that kepler cant see.

so if we found 100 "earths" the true number in the kepler FOV could be closer to 10,000. Nasa's expected result is to find between 50- 150 "earths".


[edit on 7-3-2009 by yeti101]



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 12:57 PM
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I don't understand the logic behind the 1% figure, since if it's sensitive enough to pick up one, then it will pick them all up. Of course it would need to be staring at a star continuously for at least one earth year to capture the transit of an earth type planet, and the "Goldie Locks" zone for probable life would vary depending on the magnitude of the sun-like star ie: you could have a star like the sun, but twice the size, or greater solar output, warming a planet much further out than earth is to our sun.

Then, once they've identified them, another telescope with spectrum measurements will be able to determine the composition of that planets atmosphere, and then we'll know for sure if there's life there.

[edit on 7-3-2009 by OmegaPoint]



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 01:50 PM
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reply to post by OmegaPoint
 


two words: Orbital inclination.

to detect a transit we need the planets to pass in front of the star from our perspective. Most of them wont be like that, imagine looking down on a solar system the planets go round the star not passing infront of it. Kepler wont detect these planets.

kepler team put the chances of other solar systems being edge on to us at 1%

[edit on 7-3-2009 by yeti101]



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 01:53 PM
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Well as far as them transmitting "data" to us, I think that will come fairely quick as NASA seems to be very GUN HO about what's going on in the universe these days.


IMO they already know of dozens of livable planets among other things and this is just "fluff" news to keep us in awe of they're awesome accomplishments.

To think they put a man on the moon over three decades ago and they want us to believe that they've made no significant discoveries of life or other terra forming planets since?

HAHA

Good one NASA....Good One...

~Keeper



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 02:19 PM
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Wow, only one percent?! Good thing they're searching hundreds of thousands of stars then! One percent of over a hundred thousand still isn't bad! They're bound to find some!


Are there any other planet finding missions launching relatively soon?



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 03:46 PM
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reply to post by GrayFox
 


not soon no, work is ongoing on a few they await the results of kepler.



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 04:12 PM
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Silly NASA. Stop looking out THERE! Look HERE! Build and launch more probes that detect gravitational and electromagnetic fluctuations and space-time warping around the Earth. These aliens that occupy UFOs, if they exist, are most likely inter-dimensional beings.



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 04:42 PM
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Well, based on what we know, it's more likely that aliens would come from another planet. We don't know if life has formed in other "dimensions".... but even if life does not exist there, aliens from another planet could somehow utilize other dimensions for travel. And then there are wormholes and teleportation to consider.

Don't get me wrong though.... maybe there's something we just don't know about dimensions. Maybe there are aliens living "in" other dimensions. I do see it as a possibility, but just not the most likely.

And then there's the multiverse theory to consider. Aliens could even be from another universe entirely if travel between universes is possible. (and if other universes exist).

But for now, at least we have Kepler to help us search one way. It's a good start!


[edit on 7-3-2009 by GrayFox]



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 07:15 PM
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So, if they are looking at 100,000 star systems, and they only expect 1% to be at the right orientation to capture a transit, then that's 1000, and of those they are hoping for 100 earth-type planets in the "Goldielocks" zone, is that about right?

Question: Are all the planets in a system on the same orbital plane, and would they all transit from our perspective? Every model you see of our solar system seems to have them all on the same plane, but maybe that's just a convention.



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 07:46 PM
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Originally posted by OmegaPoint
Question: Are all the planets in a system on the same orbital plane, and would they all transit from our perspective? Every model you see of our solar system seems to have them all on the same plane, but maybe that's just a convention.

If our theory of how solar systems form by accretion is correct, all the major planets of a solar system should be in roughly the same plane, give or take a couple degrees. This is supported by the observation of dust and accretion discs in a flat plane around young stars.



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 07:52 PM
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So, if they are looking at 100,000 star systems, and they only expect 1% to be at the right orientation to capture a transit, then that's 1000, and of those they are hoping for 100 earth-type planets in the "Goldielocks" zone, is that about right?

well i just read on their website they put the chance at only 0.5% for the right orbital inclination. That brings us down to detecting 50 earthlike planets. These numbers are all guess work it will be interesting to see what they actually find.

you can read more about it here kepler.nasa.gov...

[edit on 7-3-2009 by yeti101]



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 01:04 AM
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Originally posted by yeti101
well i just read on their website they put the chance at only 0.5% for the right orbital inclination. That brings us down to detecting 50 earthlike planets. These numbers are all guess work it will be interesting to see what they actually find.

you can read more about it here kepler.nasa.gov...

[edit on 7-3-2009 by yeti101]


And of those 50, maybe 1 would be capable of sustaining intelligent life (and I highly have my doubts even of those odds). People often forget that we have a solar system with a large planet called Jupiter. Jupiter is the sink drain of our solar system. It's mass allows large comets and asteroids to be pulled into it, preventing them from colliding with the Earth. If we didn't have Jupiter (and even Saturn) in our solar system, humanity would not be able to thrive for any length of time beyond a few hundred years at most.

If we are talking bacterial or microbial forms of life, I think those might be much more common and may even exist on other planets within our own solar system.

[edit on 3/8/2009 by pjslug]



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 06:59 AM
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And of those 50, maybe 1 would be capable of sustaining intelligent life


oh yes its possible we may have to find thousands of "earths" before we find one with complex life or an atmosphere like ours.

but thats not the goal of this mission. Keplers goal is to deliver to the science comnmunity the frequency of "terrestrial" planets in our galaxy.

Its a big enough sample to confidently extrapolate the results across the whole galaxy. It will tell us if our solar system is an odd ball or if its common.

[edit on 8-3-2009 by yeti101]



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:09 PM
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If they are looking at 100,000 stars, of those, not all will have planetary systems, but it's now accepted that most do. So, if it's .5% of those stars with planetary solar systems, and if the majority do in fact have planets, then there ought to be anywhere from 100-500 with planets circling, and of those, there's bound to be one "Goldielocks" planet - but as a previous poster indicated, for intelligent life, as found on earth, to evolve, you need one or two massive outer planets to protect it from asteroid collision - however, some people contend that the Oort Cloud and the Kupier Belt (spelling may be wrong) may be composed of a malformed planetoid as well as planetary collisions, which may or may not have taken place in the same manner during the formation of other solar systems who may be more peaceful when it comes to meteor and asteroid impact events.

I wish they'd blasted off 10 of the telescopes, to get a better sample. They need to be looking at more like a million to get a proper sampling.

[edit on 8-3-2009 by OmegaPoint]



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 06:19 PM
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reply to post by OmegaPoint
 



They need to be looking at more like a million to get a proper sampling.


actually there are over 6 million stars in keplers FOV. between 100-170k will be of use. And thats reckoned to be the minimum needed to be able to extroplate the results through the GHZ.

A telecope with 1million targets would cost billions more and is essentially not needed.


[edit on 8-3-2009 by yeti101]


jra

posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 10:03 PM
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Originally posted by tothetenthpower
Well as far as them transmitting "data" to us, I think that will come fairely quick as NASA seems to be very GUN HO about what's going on in the universe these days.


It will be a few months before they start the main science mission. And it will take years of observation to find Earth-like planets.


IMO they already know of dozens of livable planets among other things and this is just "fluff" news to keep us in awe of they're awesome accomplishments.


I know it's your personal opinion, but based on what evidence?


To think they put a man on the moon over three decades ago and they want us to believe that they've made no significant discoveries of life or other terra forming planets since?


What do the Apollo missions have to do with finding extraterrestrial life or Terra forming? It's not really comparable.



posted on Mar, 9 2009 @ 02:41 AM
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Is it in the realm of conceivable that this is step one in a long term strategy to get human beings off-earth and colonizing other worlds? They DID choose the nearest group of stars...

I'm thinking of an arc-type ship, maybe with people in suspended animation for the journey to the nearest habitable planet.

[edit on 9-3-2009 by OmegaPoint]



posted on Mar, 9 2009 @ 07:48 AM
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reply to post by OmegaPoint
 


no they didnt choose the nearest stars. Most stars in the kepler fov are between 300 - 3000 light years away. There are many hundreds of stars closer than that.

kepler wont tell us if these planets are habitable.



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