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The giant dish began this week pointing toward each of the 86 planets -- culled from a list of 1,235 possible planets identified by NASA's Kepler space telescope -- and will gather 24 hours of data on each one.
The mission is part of the SETI project, which stands for Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, launched in the mid 1980s.
Kepler space telescope spots five Earth-sized planets in our galaxy
NASA scientists have announced Kepler has spotted five planets about the size of Earth, orbiting stars in our galaxy.
These planets are orbiting in what is known as the habitable zone, which puts them at a distance from their suns where liquid water could exist. Liquid water is a key ingredient for life to form.
The Kepler space observatory is not in an Earth orbit but in an Earth-trailing solar orbit so that Earth does not occlude the stars which are observed continuously and the photometer is not influenced by stray light from Earth. This orbit avoids gravitational perturbations and torques inherent in an Earth orbit, allowing for a more stable viewing platform. The photometer points to a field in the northern constellations of Cygnus, Lyra and Draco, which is well out of the ecliptic plane, so that sunlight never enters the photometer as the spacecraft orbits the Sun. Cygnus is also a good choice to observe because it will never be obscured by Kuiper belt objects or the asteroid belt.
An additional benefit of that choice is that Kepler is pointing in the direction of the Solar System's motion around the center of the galaxy. Thus, the stars which are observed by Kepler are roughly the same distance from the galaxy center as the Solar System, and also close to the galactic plane. This fact is important if position in the galaxy is related to habitability, as suggested by the Rare Earth hypothesis.
Originally posted by mars1
reply to post by mblahnikluver
I will be a part of sending someone to Mars, that you can count on!
Calm down now no need to send anyone to me
How do we know they have not already done that.
This image from NASA's Kepler mission shows the telescope's full field of view -- an expansive star-rich patch of sky in the constellations Cygnus, Lyra and Draco stretching across 100 square degrees, or the equivalent of two side-by-side dips of the Big Dipper.
Originally posted by wlasikiewicz
I think that the United States have known for a good while about life on other planets they just need a way to tell the public.
This looks like a 3 stage programme to me, i just hope that they do it sooner rather than later.
I have always wondered with all I have read if we have been to Mars. Just because it isn't openly stated that we can go to Mars doesn't mean they haven't. I have some kind of odd feeling we have been there.
Originally posted by jb1958
Its good to know that looking for radio signals is still going on, but I really have doubts we will hear anything. I think the odds are far higher that E.T. communicates with a form of communication we don't have the technology for. We might hear radio signals from a very young civ like us, but its likely to be very far away, and by the time we hadcommunicated back and forth in a conversation, we will have new tech that would make our radio and theirs obsolete. And they might blow up themselves in midst of the conversation, its been a threat over our heads for quite a while now. I think more likely there's a galactic community that uses antimatter/gravity drives to explore/do their usual business, and an exotic communication like using gravity waves. We would still be unaware of these civs. Think about it, we've listened for quite a few years, and only ONE WOW moment, of a possible real signal, that never repeated. It would of taken years anyway, back and forth, radio is just too slow. Could be a young civ would just radio out there version of the civ's encyclopedia, hoping someone receives it, and could make use of some of the information. You get a very long communication, and they describe themselves, their view on science, etc, and what they've learned. What would be the harm, any other civ is far away.