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Spitzer has discovered a planet that lacks methane..

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posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 06:17 AM
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Spitzer has discovered a planet (GJ 436b) that lacks Methane, it would appear the scientists have been scratching their heads as to how this could come about, to quote Kevin Stevenson. "Models tell us that the carbon in this planet should be in the form of methane. Theorists are going to be quite busy trying to figure this one out"

It would also seem they are one step closer to analyzing the atmospheres of distant planets the size of Earth.
This is quite an interesting read, not only have they found this planet that lacks methane, through doing this they have analyzed the atmosphere of the smallest distant planet that any telescope has successfully “tasted,” or analyzed. Great stuff!


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posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 02:16 PM
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My post here is not meant to deride science and scientists by saying "oh, look -- something else that baffles scientists; something else that proves science knows nothing". There are already enough (too many) posts like that on ATS...

...however, I think it's great when something is found in nature that baffles scientists and goes against all pre-conceived notions of what science thinks nature should "be".

I'm sure most scientist are just as excited as me when they find something that seems to be contrary to what they think they know. I bet discovering things like this is what scientists live for. It's probably why they became scientists in the first place.

I'm sure eventually, scientists will revise their model of what they know about planetary science to fit this methane-less planet. Interesting stuff indeed.

Edit: spellling

[edit on 4/25/2010 by Soylent Green Is People]



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 02:50 PM
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I think the problem scientist have is, they've only got limited info to go on.

It makes me laugh for instance. That we only focus on planets that mirror earth and its conditions. While this seems wholly logical. It actually passes on thousands of planets that could just as easily harbour life of a different sort to that which is found on Earth.

Science has become to square. Its lack of imagination is holding us back. Its time we realy started looking at the universe instead of focusing on just tiny parts of it.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 02:57 PM
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reply to post by KrypticCriminal
 


Not sure what you're talking about there, we've only discovered a handful of planets outside our own solar system so far. I don't think they've ignored thousands.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 04:33 PM
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reply to post by Soylent Green Is People
 


Agreed, it takes discoveries of this nature to keep scientists on their toes, the lack of understanding of how the carbon in this planet should (to the current model) be in the form of methane forces them to look beyond the standard science known, discoveries of this nature I believe are the backbone of modern science, thinking outside the box is what’s needed to push us forward as a species and our understanding of the universe. Revising the current model is paramount to our future…. I personally can’t wait for the day when we can image the far distant planets that are of a similar size to Earth and analyze the atmosphere.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 04:55 PM
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reply to post by KrypticCriminal
 


Well.. I guess I agree with you to a certain extent, but the elimination process is needed to be put in place to first look for life as we know it, before we go looking for life that we have no idea about, it is a dated way of exploration… but a standard way… it'll change in time, it'll have to.

this says it all really, and it's basic at best..

Based on a hypothesis made more than 30 years ago, scientists assume that all types of ‘life’ work the same as that on Earth, and that alien life forms would have the same sort of metabolism as ours. Therefore, researchers base their search on what happened on Earth. Although the process by which life on Earth first emerged is still not known, it is believed to be linked to the presence of liquid water on a hard, rocky planetary surface. So if there are any other Earth-like planets, have any of them evolved life?

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posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 05:09 PM
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Interesting. Let's get Kepler pointed at this one.

It's not at all that they have 'ignored planets' but in a sense you are right as most missions (spitzer, kepler etc) are focussing on finding and evaluating planets similar to our own, ostensibly looking for 'life as we know it' so the obvious place to start would be around stars similar to our own sun in the G (Sol is a G class star) & possibly but less likely K class stars.

I find it fascinating that certain elements which are believed fundamental to rocky planets are missing. Who knows, perhaps life can develop in atmosphere's very different to our own. We don't have to even leave our own planet to find species which live in sulfurous environments completely uninhabitable to most species. Life has proven to adapt to it's environment on earth regardless of temperature, pressure or atmosphere so perhaps an entirely different form of life, outside of carbon has developed here. Perhaps not, but one can dream



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 07:02 PM
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...we've only discovered a handful of planets outside our own solar system so far.


Actually the list of Extrasolar planets seems to be in the hundreds.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 07:22 PM
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Originally posted by KrypticCriminal

I think the problem scientist have is, they've only got limited info to go on.

It makes me laugh for instance. That we only focus on planets that mirror earth and its conditions. While this seems wholly logical. It actually passes on thousands of planets that could just as easily harbour life of a different sort to that which is found on Earth.

Science has become to square. Its lack of imagination is holding us back. Its time we realy started looking at the universe instead of focusing on just tiny parts of it.

Science is not really focusing on "mirror Earths" in this case, because what they thought they knew about planetary carbon and methane comes from what they know about many other planets (and moons) in our solar system -- not just "mirror Earths".

The very fact that they find this planet scientifically interesting shows they are not only concentrating on the Earth-like ones.

[edit on 4/25/2010 by Soylent Green Is People]



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 07:35 PM
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reply to post by Jbird
 


good thing i read the thread as i was just about to point that out.

now, regarding the absence of methane. would it be wise to speculate that a civilization more advanced than ours would use up all available methane on their planet as fuel? and in doing so, pollute their planet to such an extent as to make it inhabitable for organic life. they then transitioned from a biological society to a virtualized one, storing their consciousness in their machines leaving only faint traces of carbon monoxide in their atmosphere to puzzle the astronomers of a pale, blue dot of a planet a couple of light years away.




posted on Apr, 26 2010 @ 01:52 AM
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Originally posted by Jbird

...we've only discovered a handful of planets outside our own solar system so far.


Actually the list of Extrasolar planets seems to be in the hundreds.





Yes and most are GAS giants and way bigger than Jupiter so what he says is partially correct as we have found very few in the Earth size range.



posted on Apr, 26 2010 @ 02:34 AM
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reply to post by wmd_2008
 



I'd just like to point out we haven't found any Earth size planets yet… Kelper is the instrument that will find an exoplanet this size, but to date has only really found hot Jupiter's and Neptune like planets, it's not expected we'll find a rocky planet like Earth for another several years.

"it will take several Earth years before Kepler scientists can be sure they've seen an Earth-size world in its star's habitable zone"

Source


[edit on 26-4-2010 by Majestic RNA]



posted on Apr, 26 2010 @ 03:07 AM
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Originally posted by Majestic RNA
reply to post by wmd_2008
 



I'd just like to point out we haven't found any Earth size planets yet… Kelper is the instrument that will find an exoplanet this size, but to date has only really found hot Jupiter's and Neptune like planets, it's not expected we'll find a rocky planet like Earth or another several years.

"it will take several Earth years before Kepler scientists can be sure they've seen an Earth-size world in its star's habitable zone"

Source





They have spotted ONE this maybe a better description rocky type planets one is earth sized the others larger much larger in mass compared to the earth but not as large as the gas giants.

www.astronomy.com...



posted on Apr, 26 2010 @ 03:10 AM
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reply to post by Soylent Green Is People
 


Science is about discovering new things, not about claiming that we already know everything.



posted on Apr, 26 2010 @ 03:25 AM
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reply to post by wmd_2008
 



We we're talking about Earth sized rocky planets yeah? in your own link you provided it clearly states:


CoRoT-7b is one of the lightest exoplanets detected to date with a mass five times that of the Earth. This puts CoRoT-7b firmly in the category of "super-Earth" - an exoplanet with a mass between that of Earth and gas giants.

So I'd say it isn't really the size of Earth is it..

Anyway, we all want the same thing I guess, and that's to find and examine exoplanets of a similar size and nature to Earth. When we find one i'm sure we'll know about it, I'd expect the scientists that found it will be shouting from the rooftops what they have discovered..



posted on Apr, 26 2010 @ 05:20 AM
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I've been doing a little more research into GJ 436b, I've found a suggestion for the low levels of Methane on the MIT news, this is also a good read if you find this kind of scientific discovery interesting.


"The researchers suggest that the low methane levels might result from vertical mixing, or the process of carbon monoxide being transferred to higher parts of the atmosphere at a rate that is faster than it can be converted into methane. Another possibility is that the temperature on GJ 436b causes methane to be converted into other compounds"

It also hints at the discovery of a completely new class of atmosphere.

"The provocative result raises questions about the evolution of this planet, as well as the possibility that its atmosphere might represent an entirely new class of atmospheres that has never been explored"

Source



posted on Apr, 26 2010 @ 06:16 AM
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reply to post by Soylent Green Is People
 


I think it's great when something is found in nature that baffles scientists and goes against all pre-conceived notions of what science thinks nature should "be".

It is precisely through such discrepancies that we extend and refine our knowledge. Whenever we learn something new, it's because our curiosity was aroused by some piece of puzzle that didn't seem to fit the rest of the jigsaw. In our attempt to find out why it doesn't fit, we learn something new - sometimes we end up with a whole new jigsaw puzzle.



posted on Apr, 26 2010 @ 09:30 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by Soylent Green Is People
 


I think it's great when something is found in nature that baffles scientists and goes against all pre-conceived notions of what science thinks nature should "be".

It is precisely through such discrepancies that we extend and refine our knowledge. Whenever we learn something new, it's because our curiosity was aroused by some piece of puzzle that didn't seem to fit the rest of the jigsaw. In our attempt to find out why it doesn't fit, we learn something new - sometimes we end up with a whole new jigsaw puzzle.

For the record -- I totally agree with you (the part of my post you quoted made it sound a little like I was "taunting" science and scientists -- which I'm not
)



posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 06:14 AM
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reply to post by Soylent Green Is People
 

Sorry. I did understand what you meant, though - I was agreeing with it!



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