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NASA announces hunt for Earth-like planets. Part 1.

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posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 03:57 AM
BEWARE: Science Content Inside. Basically, this is kind of a double topic thread that I thought would be kind of interesting (or for myself at least) in regards to "earth-like-planet" discoveries. Kind of like a research project in the making.

The first topic I want to discuss is an article I found in regards to NASAs decision to re-voyage into the realm of discovery and find earth-like planets in our solar system, with newer more advanced technology.

NASA's planet-hunting space telescope has proved that it's capable of finding other Earth-like planets in our galaxy, if they're out there.

NASA reported on Thursday that its new exoplanet-hunting Kepler space telescope passed its first big test. The spacecraft, which is carrying a telescope and a series of computers, showed off its scientific capabilities by successfully detecting the atmosphere of a known giant gas planet.

The discovery proves the telescope's ability to take highly precise measurements, which will be critical to finding other Earthlike planets.

"As NASA's first exoplanets mission, Kepler has made a dramatic entrance on the planet-hunting scene," said Jon Morse, director of the Science Mission Directorate's Astrophysics Division at NASA, in a statement. "Detecting this planet's atmosphere in just the first 10 days of data is only a taste of things to come. The planet hunt is on!"

Full Computer World Article

This news brings me to my second topic. Lately scientist have become mind boggled by the similarities of Saturn's largest moon "Titan" and our Earth's geographical landscape. Although the two planets have substantially different surface temperatures (Titan sitting at an outstanding 180°C), the likeness of the two planets environment is somewhat impressive.

Below is a recent article from ScienceDaily outlining some characteristics between both our planets.

The joint NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens mission has revealed details of Titan's geologically young surface, showing few impact craters, and featuring mountain chains, dunes and even "lakes".

The RADAR instrument on the Cassini orbiter has now allowed scientists to image a third of Titan's surface using radar beams that pierce the giant moon's thick, smoggy atmosphere. There is still much terrain to cover, as the aptly named Titan is one of the biggest moons in the Solar System, larger than the planet Mercury and approaching Mars in size.

Titan has long fascinated astronomers as the only moon known to possess a thick atmosphere, and as the only celestial body other than Earth to have stable pools of liquid on its surface. The many lakes that pepper the northern polar latitudes, with a scattering appearing in the south as well, are thought to be filled with liquid hydrocarbons, such as methane and ethane.

ScienceDaily's full article

For those who are in-the-dark of Titans characteristics and discovery, I have included a small video presentation:

One of the points further stipulated in the article is Methanes role on Titan as a hydrological cycle. On the right is an image of a methane cloud over Titans north pole. It is also acknowledged that methane clouds have been found over titans south pole as well.

Titans hydrological cycle stems close to that of our own. Titans atmosphere manages to evaporate and precipitate its methane, and is known to have a rather dense surface despite it's extreme to human life temperatures.

In September 2006, Cassini imaged a large cloud at a height of 40 km over Titan's north pole. Although methane is known to condense in Titan's atmosphere, the cloud was more likely to be ethane, as the detected size of the particles was only 1–3 micrometers and ethane can also freeze at these altitudes. Wikipedia

Titans hydrological cycle has caused distinct erosion and other Earth like impressions on its landscape. Recently, the Cassini–Huygens team said that the imaged features are almost certainly the much searched for hydrocarbon lakes, the first stable liquid bodies found off earth.

Titan interacts with Saturn's magnetosphere as a substitute defense system and manages to deflect it's space bound plasma.

The Voyager 1 measurements made during the Titan flyby reveal that Saturn's rotating magnetospheric plasma interacts directly with Titan's neutral atmosphere and ionosphere. This results from the lack of an intrinsic magnetic field at Titan.
The interaction induces a magnetosphere which deflects the flowing plasma around Titan and forms a plasma wake downstream.

Too much science info: Titans atmosphere is highly enriched with nitrogen and is directly bombarded by energetic ions, due to its lack of a significant intrinsic magnetic field. The single highly charged electrons from Saturn's magnetosphere undergo a charge-exchange collision course with neutral atoms in Titan's upper atmosphere being transformed into new energetic neutral atoms.

Further exploration of this planet has been previously announced. Earlier this year,
ESA/NASA announced they had given the priority to the EJSM mission ahead of the TSSM, however the TSSM is in the line-up for a later launch date. I as many other budding scientists will be watching closely.

This concludes Part 1 of my intergalactic research project, that is "space exploration". Be sure to check out this thread in the future as I will be posting more of my space-discovery research here.

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 12:16 PM
Just to clarify, when you wrote:

Originally posted by Scooby Doo
...Although the two planets have substantially different surface temperatures (Titan sitting at an outstanding 180°C), the likeness of the two planets environment is somewhat impressive.

However, I believe you meant -180°C (that's negative 180°C).

I agree Titan may be considered "Earth-like" in due to the fact that it is rocky, has a thick atmosphere, and has weather...but the average temperature being negative 180°C makes it a little less than Earth-like.

However, I would personally find it very exciting and very encouraging news if scientists found a Titan-Like planet around another star. I think once they find any planet (or moon) with a rocky composition and a thick atmosphere that is even "close" to being in a habitable zone, it would only be a matter of time before they find one that is similar to Earth.

Coming back to our own solar system, I do think that it is possible that we may still find some sort of life on Titan, or in the oceans of Enceladus (another of Saturn's moon's), or in the oceans of Jupiter's moon Europa, or even in the purported oceans of Ganymede and Callisto (other moons of Jupiter) -- or even on Mars.

I think the fact that there are moons of Jupiter and Saturn that become warmed (a little) by the gravitational influences of their parent planet -- even when they lie outside the supposed "habitable zone" of the Sun -- bodes well for finding more earth-like planets around other stars. This is an indication that other planets outside a star's habitable zone may still harbor Earth-like moons.

[edit on 8/9/2009 by Soylent Green Is People]

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 03:38 PM
reply to post by Soylent Green Is People

Yes, I did indeed mean negative -180C.

I agree Titan may be considered "Earth-like" in due to the fact that it is rocky, has a thick atmosphere, and has weather...but the average temperature being negative 180°C makes it a little less than Earth-like.

I agree. However, I am trying to show the certain characteristics rather then the ability to maintain life within the planet. Scientifically it is impossible to maintain life under the conditions that Titan support, however, the study shows that Earth is not the only planet that contains a hydrological cycle. One of the many elements needed to support life.

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 03:40 PM
NASA= Never A Straight Answer

Mod Edit - Mod Note: One Line Post – Please Review This Link.

[edit on 9-8-2009 by elevatedone]

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 06:42 PM
reply to post by Scooby Doo

I guess when space exsploration is more advanced in another 100 years we may find away to send a manned mission to one of the moons of jupiter.Most of the moons are simlar to our moon and if we can land on our day we will land on one of jupiters moons.To do that we need a base on mars.But we may not need to launch a mission to jupiter from mars if our technology is advanced enough to launch a mission to jupiter from earth.A manned mars mission theses days may take 2 years to compleat.In another 200 years our technology may get us to mars within weeks or even days.The same can be applyed to jupiter.One day it might only take seven days to reach the moons of jupiter and three days to reach mars.

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 06:49 PM
reply to post by Scooby Doo

Nice opening post on the subject, but quibbles:

Your opening bits talk about NASA looking for Earth-like planets "in our Solar System" meant to say "our Galaxy", correct?

Also, just to pick another nit ( we ARE being scientific, right?
), at the end you mentioned going off on more "intergalactic searches", when you really meant 'intra'-galactic??

Sorry, I should have included my nerd alert warning in the beginning!!!

[edit on 9 August 2009 by weedwhacker]

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 07:02 PM
reply to post by weedwhacker

Yeah, there was many typo's in the opening as it was mentally draining me.
But yeah, I appreciate the heads up and will edit all my errors shortly.

[Scoobz Edit] Well that puts an end to my chance at editing. The editing function has now been removed, no worries.

[edit on 9-8-2009 by Scooby Doo]

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 07:46 PM

Originally posted by solarstorm
NASA= Never A Straight Answer

...and I suppose all of those other organizations who have sent probes to find signs of life on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, or built exoplanet-hunting space probes looking for Earth-like planets have given us more answers?

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 07:48 PM
Nice thread OP, a few term use issues but overall a nice way to address the issue (among other things Titan is a moon.)

Anyway I am really excited to see what discoveries come down the pipe in the next few years. It will be a real eye opener to get an inkling of how many "Earthlike" planets may be in our Galaxy. In the not to distant past we were not even sure there were any planets circling other stars and when we did begin to find them they blew sciences shoes off when they didn't fit the expected models that mirrored our own system (Rock in-Gas Out).

It seems to me that within the next decade we will have confirmation that we are "not alone" as an abode of life.

Anyway in regards to Titan, it is certainly a facinating place, lets imagine Alien "Dolphins" swimming in a methane sea...

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 08:31 PM
I read a novel or a short story about life forms that could be found on titan, they were machinelike, and grew their houses, equipment, ect. I cant remember the name of the story, tho. the life forms had gotten there from an ancient alien probe that was to set up an automated mining operation, something went wrong, and 'life' was created instead.

Life seems to work almost anywhere... it seems NASA likes to drag it's feet searching for it. They NEED TO START IN THIS SOLAR SYSTEM FIRST. Otherwise, they wouldn't know alien life if it walked up to the lens of a craft and humped it.

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 08:50 PM
reply to post by Scooby Doo

Hey, Scooby, while you're doing more research, I found this on YT and just thought it was so pricelessly funny, had to share.

Guess it's not nice to make fun of the guy who posted this, but it's hard not to!

Check out his others, via the link...and no wonder he has disabled text comments on his vids!!!

Am I being mean??

Edit for this one too...LOL!!!!

[edit on 9 August 2009 by weedwhacker]

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 09:02 PM
reply to post by weedwhacker

Lol, thanks for that weedwhacker.

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 09:44 PM
reply to post by weedwhacker

I saw the little humans! One was wearing a speedo! ON MARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*breaks ! key* One had a tiny little bat! I could read it- it said Littleville Sluggerr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the naked women! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok. I'll quit now.

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 09:54 PM
There's either only a finite number or infinitely many.

[edit on 8/9/2009 by die_another_day]

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 10:01 PM
reply to post by wylekat

Not to steer OT, if Scooby doesn't mind, but what really cracked me up about the Mars "Rover" pic is....WHO TOOK THE PICTURE???

The two Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are many kilometers apart on Mars!!! There's nothing there ( that they're telling us ) that could take a photo of a Rover from that angle!

SO, what we have here is a poor, deluded individual who found a picture of a Rover mock-up/test vehicle taken on Earth, andthinks it's actually on Mars!!!

ATS = no cost

That picture = Priceless!

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