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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 7, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ ----NASA's Kepler mission successfully launched into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II at 10:49 p.m. EST, Friday. Kepler is designed to find the first Earth-size planets orbiting stars at distances where water could pool on the planet's surface. Liquid water is believed to be essential for the formation of life.
Originally posted by peacejet
I get the point that, just because the planets we are looking for dont have moons, they cannot support life, and hence the mission is a waste of money?
If that is the case, then, understand that the mission will not be able to detect how many moons a planet has, only the planet and its position in the Goldilocks zone surrounding the parent star. So, the planet might have moons if it has enough mass to create gravity to make it spherical in shape and hold a moon. You might ask, why we cannot see the moons? The reason is that our technology has not developed a lot, and we are just detecting a planet by analyzing the light of the parent star dimming as it passes in front of it. And in some cases, it may be so minute that the space craft might not even notice that in its CCD.
[edit on March 9th, 2009 by peacejet]
Mars has an unstable rotation?
Originally posted by prevenge
Without a moon, the exact size and distance as ours, the planets we'd be looking at with the new NASA telescope, we'd be looking at planets with similar unstable rotations like mars.. constantly "tumbling" through space, not standing on anarrow axis.. but wobbling back and forth up to 90 degrees off it's perpendicular axis...
Tidal dissipation within Mars, as constrained by the observed evolution of the orbit of Phobos, appears sufficient to regularize the obliquity variations. If Mars has a fluid core, viscous core-mantle coupling would also tend to damp the obliquity variations.
Originally posted by Gouki
It would be amazing if we find another system like ours. Really doesn't matter if it has a moon or not. This other earth can have a moon without a sun, a sun without a moon, two suns, two moons. It has it's own balance. As long as there is a source giving light enabling life to flourish. It's all about being habitable, and what resources the planet contains.
[edit on 9-3-2009 by Gouki]
Originally posted by Astyanax
True, Earth's moon is much larger relative to its primary than any of the other planetary satellites, but that's a different argument.