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NASA's Kepler Confirms its First Planet in Habitable Zone of Sun-like Star

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posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 06:58 AM
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reply to post by Jepic
 


Just Adding some more info to this topic: (since a kind mod just closed my other post
)

Interesting:

Kepler-22b is first planet confirmed "smack in the middle of the habitable zone."

A possible Earth twin has been confirmed orbiting a sunlike star 600 light-years away—and the new planet may be in just the right spot for supporting life, NASA announced Monday.

Discovered by the Kepler space mission, the new planet—dubbed Kepler-22b—is the first world smaller than Neptune to be found in middle of its star's habitable zone.

Also called the Goldilocks zone, the habitable zone is the region around a star where a planet's surface is not too hot and not too cold for liquid water—and thus life as we know it—to exist.

(Also see "New Planet May Be Among Most Earthlike—Weather Permitting.")

Other planets have been spotted in the habitable zones of their stars, but most of those worlds are Jupiter- or Neptune-size bodies that are unlikely to harbor life.

"The number of confirmed sub-Neptunian worlds in their habitable zones are few and far between, because they are the hardest ones to find," said Natalie Batalha, Kepler's deputy science team leader at San Jose State University in California.

(Related: "Six New Planets—Mini-Neptunes Found Around Sunlike Star.")

In fact, only two known planets fit this description so far—Gliese 581d and HD 85512—and both worlds orbit at the very edges of their stars' habitable zones, making them more akin to Venus and Mars than to Earth.

"What makes this particular discovery so exciting is that this planet is right smack in the middle of the habitable zone," Batalha said.

"It's also orbiting a star that's almost a twin of our sun, whereas the other two detections are orbiting significantly cooler stars."

(Find out more about the possibly habitable worlds in the Gliese system.)

Getting Closer to Truly Earthlike

The Kepler mission finds new worlds by simultaneously monitoring 150,000 stars for dips in brightness, which are indicative of planets passing in front of—or transiting—their stars.

Kepler-22b was among the 54 roughly Earth-size planet candidates announced by the Kepler team in February. But the spacecraft needs to watch at least three transits to confirm that a signal is a planet.

"Fortune smiled upon us with the detection of this planet," William Borucki, Kepler's principal investigator at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, said in a statement.

"The first transit was captured just three days after we declared the spacecraft operationally ready. We witnessed the defining third transit over the 2010 holiday season."

The new planet is about 2.4 times the radius of Earth, but scientists don't yet know its composition, because they are still missing a crucial piece of information: Kepler-22b's mass.

(See "NASA Finds Smallest Earthlike Planet Outside Solar System.")

The Kepler team is hopeful, however, that the mass of Kepler-22b could be calculated with the help of a new ground-based instrument in the Spanish Canary Islands that will begin observations next spring.

Called HARPS North, the new telescope is capable of measuring with high precision a planet's doppler velocity—changes in the frequency of light from an object in space as it moves toward or away from Earth.

With this information, scientists can calculate the mass, and therefore the density, of Kepler-22b and determine whether it's a rocky planet or a water world.

"We are really hopeful that HARPS North might be able to be a really big help in this quest for the mass of this planet," San Jose State's Batalha said.

"We're just getting closer and closer to what is truly Earthlike, and that progress is exciting to watch."

The new planet Kepler-22b will be detailed in an upcoming issue of the iopscience.iop.org....
kepler.nasa.gov...

(via: news.nationalgeographic.com...)




posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 07:03 AM
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Here we go again, another alien Earth like planet. Next thing you guys know there will be no discussion on it after today, NASA will keep everything secret from this point. People they have made contact, but they cant let us know. You guys seriously believe only we exist in the universe NO. Why do NASA go look for stuff 600 light years away and not 1 LY to 600 LY in between, that's a lot of space to look for life. NASA controls our brain, don't get fooled in it. Every time they say ohh look we found another alien like planet , but afterwards they don't confirm anything with us, it gets forgotten .
edit on 6-12-2011 by storm2012 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 08:17 AM
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I believe there's many planet's like ours in this universe.



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 08:23 AM
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600 light years distance. I suggest we dispatch a team immediately, traveling in hibernation sleep of course. After 1200 years, when they return we will know what it looks like. I suggest we all go into hibernation sleep during that period, otherwise we might miss the party.



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 08:27 AM
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But other life in the Universe was impossible right?

We're special right?

Right......

S+F



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 08:31 AM
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reply to post by poet1b
 

it's a little more than twice the size of Earth so we'd probably weigh a little more. not sure how that's gonna go over with the tourists



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 08:39 AM
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this is nothing new really but is this just the begining first this news then confirmation of a planet with water then confirmation of life or another civilization blah blah blah.......................................
nasa you should have told the masses this 30 years ago. why now?
whats coming that you cannot deny or compartmentalize what or who is on it's way here? enough of the bs allready, nasa lurkers I know you are here, come clean, tell the truth, open the gates to area 51 let the people know that

"we are not alone, we have never been alone, and now more are coming"

that is the only announcement I wish to here from nasa (need another space agency)



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 08:42 AM
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Be it Gas, Rock or Liquid, that it sits in the Goldilocks zone with an average surface temp in the 70's is very exciting.

How many bags will I have to pack to travel 600 light years? should I check my stuff or just use the carry on?



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 08:59 AM
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Originally posted by Clisen33
One thing that annoys me about NASA, is that they continue to look for life using our own set of conditional variables for life on Earth.

Makes perfect sense, it's the one set of variables we know for a fact can support life.


Why do they thing that life can only exist with our own boring carbon based complex?

No one is saying they think ours is the only set of variables that can support life. It is, however, the one set of variables we absolutely know CAN support life. That makes it the easiest way to find life; we know the variable set to look for AND we know the signs to look for that would indicate that life actually exists there when we find the right variable set. We do not know that for any other possible set of variables.


Why can't that be possible?

No one is saying it can't be.



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 09:01 AM
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Originally posted by D.Wolf
So.. an earth-like planet needs a sun-like sun and a habitable zone-like habitable zone
Does it need a moon-like moon?

Forest-like forests.. life-like life.. war-like wars?

What is the definition for an earth-like planet?


It is more about what it rules out. Rules out planets without water, any celestial bodies without the energy of a star, etc.

Also, searching for "earth like planets" is a way to acknowledge that we are only capable of searching for life *like* the life we know. If there was life of some other kind that can thrive in other arbitrary conditions (say lava???) our search would be far more difficult because we would simply have to search everywhere, and that's impractical. So it makes sense to start by limiting the search to life as we know it. When we are done searching for that we can move on to searching for any other things.

This is also why learning about extremophiles is useful, because it gives us an idea of how far the spectrum of carbon based life can stretch into environments that are otherwise believed to be inhospitable. It is good to learn how many of those beliefs are really unfounded to better delineate the boundaries of what kind of life is possible, based on what kind of life we know really exists.

-rrr

edit on 6-12-2011 by rickyrrr because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 09:08 AM
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Interesting that they are finding supposed habitable planets and then a movie
called "Another Earth" comes out....

Source

I hope they find another Earth

cause I feel TPTB are gonna screw this one up..



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 09:25 AM
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Originally posted by JibbyJedi
"Could be, might be, possibly, maybe, acts like, seems like, probably hopefully maybe is an Earth like planet with possible, likely, probable life in some possible form or another... maybe..."

Always gets me excited to hear that stuff from NASA.

(N)ever (A) (S)traight (A)nswer...



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 09:53 AM
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Originally posted by JibbyJedi
"Could be, might be, possibly, maybe, acts like, seems like, probably hopefully maybe is an Earth like planet with possible, likely, probable life in some possible form or another... maybe..."

Always gets me excited to hear that stuff from NASA.

No one is helped by jumping to conclusions not yet supported by the data. The conclusions reached here are naturally less sensationalist than most conspiracy theories about space and space aliens, but this is real science supported by real data. We've long believed terrestrial sized planets existed in the habital zone of other sun-like stars, but it's quite another thing to actually know they exist and where one can be found.



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 09:53 AM
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The Grays are there.



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 09:56 AM
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Originally posted by Whitecat
Interesting that they are finding supposed habitable planets and then a movie
called "Another Earth" comes out....

Source

I hope they find another Earth

cause I feel TPTB are gonna screw this one up..


They will screw that one up too.



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 10:01 AM
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Honestly, I always have trouble thinking the presence of water somehow gives hope for finding life on a planet. From my understanding, water is the great "emulsifier", water has a tendency to disperse elements, it "cuts" those particles that would be necessary for life to evolve. And remember everyone...evolution is still a theory. Sorry, I know so many are excited to see this news but it really doesn't mean a thing. Perhaps, the abundance of water actually reduces the chances for life to have evolved.



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 10:07 AM
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Originally posted by Xeven
It is close enought that if it has inhabitants that have broadcast in the last 600+ years that we might be able to pick up some of their radio waves. Of course that would require the planet to be in a state that supports intelligent life formation. It's time may have come and gone or be set for the future.


It would also require extremely powerful radio waves.



Assuming the energy spread out equally in a sphere, and that the receiver on Gliese C was as big as the planned Square Kilometre Array of antennas on Earth, the television signals reaching the planet would be a billion, billion, billion times smaller than the original signal generated on Earth, says Dr Maggie Aderin, a space scientist at technology firm Astrium.

"Detecting a signal like this with lots of background noise would be incredibly hard, but what they would look for is a pattern in the signals to show that they were not naturally occurring."

Source

Gliese C is 20 lightyears from Earth.

Harte



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 10:16 AM
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respect for NASA and SETI... thank you



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 10:21 AM
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Originally posted by storm2012
Here we go again, another alien Earth like planet. Next thing you guys know there will be no discussion on it after today, NASA will keep everything secret from this point. People they have made contact, but they cant let us know. You guys seriously believe only we exist in the universe NO. Why do NASA go look for stuff 600 light years away and not 1 LY to 600 LY in between, that's a lot of space to look for life. NASA controls our brain, don't get fooled in it. Every time they say ohh look we found another alien like planet , but afterwards they don't confirm anything with us, it gets forgotten .
edit on 6-12-2011 by storm2012 because: (no reason given)


please tell me u are joking... and about sharing info, they are doing all they can, when 99% don't care and prefer watching Jersey Shore.. Confirming life (any life) on other planet would be a huge boost for NASA and they really need the money.



posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 10:39 AM
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This is just the beginning. Kepler will keep on finding planets in the goldilock zone and the next generation of space telescopes will be able to analyze their atmospheres looking for water, oxygen, methane, nitrogen etc. If not cancelled, the James Webb telescope could do this, it may or may not launch in 2018. If not this telescope, then future telescopes will be doing this analysis of exoplanets ( New Worlds Mission ).

If Kepler-22b is a rocky world and not a gas planet it could be a "super-earth". Being larger than ours, the gravity will be higher. If complex life like animals evolved there, they would be short, squat with wide elephant-like legs to move around in the higher gravity:



Source

This is an exciting time for astrobiology. Within 20 years I would bet that will find direct or indirect evidence of life in our solar system and beyond. This is life as we know it, i.e. carbon/water organic chemistry based life. I wonder if we could even recognize more exotic types of life, like silicon based life. Silicon has similar chemical properties to carbon, but they could look more like rocks to us, moving only an inch a year for example.



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