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Kepler Mission- What does another Earth mean to you?

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posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 03:59 PM
The Kepler Telescope was successfully launched yesterday to search for possible life-supporting planet like ours.

An unmanned Nasa mission to search the sky for Earth-like planets with the potential to host life has launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The Kepler telescope will orbit the Sun to watch a patch of space thought to contain about 100,000 stars like ours. It will look for the slight dimming of light from these "suns" as planets pass between them and the spacecraft.
BBC source

The search for life outside our Solar System is the stuff that dreams are made on. How many children have looked at the night sky and wondered if someone else was looking back? As children, we look at the stars and imagine our unearthly equivalents looking at the stars and asking the same questions. In that innocent dream we imagine no boundaries and identify with some imagined aspect of intelligent life sharing our thoughts.

The Kepler Telescope realizes these dreams and looks for the possibility that planets like ours are out there and provide environments that could support life.

The concept of discovering potentially life supporting planets raises profound questions. No matter what your outlook on life and your place in the scheme of things amounts to; the discovery of an Earth-type planet in a similar Solar System will create new dreams and challenge assumptions.

ATS members discuss the impact that discovering intelligent life would have on the world view of different people. Religion, politics, history, science, popular culture and who knows what else would be altered immediately?

"This is a historical mission; it's not just a science mission," said Dr Edward Weiler, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at Nasa. "I maintain that it really attacks some very basic human questions that have been part of our genetic code since that first man or woman looked up into the sky and asked the question: 'are we alone?'."

The Kepler Telescope will be looking at 3000 light years of local space for comparable environments to ours

On the BBC today they show how the discovery of Earth-like planets could impact on particular belief systems...

We already know that our galaxy is teeming with planets - that was the first step in dethroning us from being the only abode of intelligent life. Kepler takes us on the next step: determining if many of those planets are Earth-like. After that, we need to determine if such planets have life, and then if that life is intelligent. Still there are only two possible answers to the question of whether other Earth-like worlds exist - and whichever answer we get will be astonishing.
Robert J Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning science fiction writer.

But is life as we know it common or unique? Earth's circumstances are really far too special to be easily replicated - there are so many coincidences, chances and conspiracies that seem to be needed for life to take hold and thrive. Perhaps primitive life forms could exist out there amongst the almost infinity of worlds that probably exist, but as for intelligent life I'm putting my money on the fact that in the whole Universe, we are pretty much unique.
Dr Michael Perryman, Senior Adviser, European Space Agency.

I would be delighted if other Earths harbouring intelligent life were discovered. For most people, however, it would be nothing more than a nine-day wonder. I think that we've lived with the idea so much, from speculations by scientists to creatures in science fiction movies, that the human race is already well used to the idea that we are not alone. We need to look beyond ourselves – that's what religion does when it's done right and what astronomy does when it's done right.
Brother Guy Consolmagno, Curator, Vatican Observatory.

We have known for a long time that we are not the centre of the Universe, the question now is whether biologically we are central. It's all we have left. Even if intelligent life were discovered, we would remain unique in terms of morphology and form. The chances are another civilisation would be more advanced than us because of the age of the Universe and the fact that our species is comparatively young.
Dr Steven J Dick, Astronomer and Chief Historian, Nasa Source for the four extracts

It's going to be three years before the Kepler Satellite will send back any meaningful data. The first planets it looks for will be Saturn-type gas giants.

What will it mean to you when/if Kepler reveals a new Earth?

posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 04:10 PM
Space exploration is a great thing, i do not doubt it. This telescope will bring a lot of new info and is another brick in our ladder to solar system and beyond.
However to me it will not matter at all if there are trillion of Earth-like (according to their parameters by the way)planets or only a million. If there is a possibility of another (or only
) intelligent life out there it has nothing to do with how Earth-like his/her/it's homeworld looks like. Maybe we have inteligent life on Venus or Jupiter and we simply do not find it because we look for Earth-like too much.

posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 04:15 PM
reply to post by ZeroKnowledge
They are looking for life as it appears here. They probably will find it as the NASA can't keep up the lies much longer. Right on Zero, the life that we find is probably not as we know it, but it's out there and NASA just can't help themselves but film it.

posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 04:34 PM
This is exciting. If they found life than it would be comforting I think. It would suggest that life has some sort of meaning or purpose and plays some sort of role in the universe instead of the existential idea that we are just a lone cosmic accident and damn lucky to even exist.

[edit on 7-3-2009 by Hullahoop]

posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 04:36 PM
It has been my assumption that there are Earthlike planets elsewhere in our Galaxy. If and when Kepler starts finding them it won't be shaking any of my foundations. I do wonder though just how close to Earthlike conditions will be on the planets which are discovered.

The Kepler telescope will tell us the size of new planets and their distance from their stars. If inhabitants of another world have launched their version of Kepler, what would they find when looking at the Solar System? They would see three "earthlike" planets. Mars and Venus are the right size and in near enough the right orbits but are nothing earthlike. It turns out that they would be lucky in our case and one of the three is truly earthlike.

When all is said and done, Kepler is not out to find habitable planets. It is conducting a statistical study. In the sample population, how many planets of Earth size (and larger) are there? What is the distribution of the size of the orbits of these planets? How many of them are in a "habitable" orbit? What types of stars are more likely to have these planets in orbit around them. Using these statistics, the Drake equation can be refined and assumptions can be made but we still won't know if any of the planets found are truly earthlike until other tools are brought to bear on what Kepler finds.

posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 04:40 PM
reply to post by Hullahoop

I can agree with you're view, it would be comforting to really know that we aren't alone and that were not crazy for thinking otherwise.

The above poster mentioned NASA not being able to keep up the lies for very much longer, and I have to agree with him. We've seen disclosure, well little tid bits of it coming out of things for a couple of decades now. Through TV and Movies as well as comic books.

The most revealing being that of Science Fiction writers from the early 1900's who predicted devices or knew such devices were in existance, long before they were introduced to the general population.

So I think there is alot to look forward too in the coming decade, with NASA hanging on a very thin wire, and our civilization on the brink of either destruction or global awakening it's going to be very interesting to be alive in the coming years.

Now we have to realize that with this misison, we aren't looking for habitable planets and were not gonna get data back that suggests we have life living on those planets as this craft will never be that close, it is simply looking for same size, same composition and will give us a better understand of what type of Galaxy we are presently living in.

Saddle up folks, it's going to be a hell of ride.


[edit on 3/7/2009 by tothetenthpower]

posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 04:42 PM
this mission would mean a lot, especially to all those who have got their heads buried in the sand or been living in a cave all their lives.

another smokescreen to hide the real truth.

posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 09:34 AM
reply to post by Phage
Thanks for the reply. My sense of enthusiasm is further diminished by the knowledge that it's scheduled to begin looking for Earth-type planets in 3 years. I read it some days ago and can't find the link. Between Kepler and the next Martian Mission to investigate the methane being 3 years away too, I'm quite vexed.

Through one perspective science progresses swiftly and dramatically, through another it seems so.......slow.......

posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 10:09 AM
I will agree to the fact that Kepler is not the one device which will find life from some anothet planet. It can however find planets that are about same size as earth is. It will also be possible to calculate its distance from a star it circles around.

Why are people thinking that Kepler will be able to see such a planet clearly enough to determine wether there is life or not?

I can imagine that scientists develop techniques to calculate composition of an atmosphere, and if I remember it has already be done. So with good luck, we could find a planet that has earth-like atmosphere, but that's just about it. The trick is to see the prism of atmosphere when their star shines through it. With that, it is relatively easy to calculate composition.

Obviously finding of such an atmosphere would alert all astronomers and astrophysicists to speculate that there must be life there because there is oxygen and methane, but that either is not a firm indication of life. It does make the chances of life likely by orders of magnitude.

I hope I live long enough to see how we find life from elsewhere, but Kepler isn't the device that is going to find it.

[edit on 8/3/09 by rawsom]

posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 10:39 AM

My sense of enthusiasm is further diminished by the knowledge that it's scheduled to begin looking for Earth-type planets in 3 years.

it will start looking in about 2 months after the commissioning process is complete. It takes 3 years to confirm a planet the size of earth in an earth like orbit.

posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:27 PM
Please direct your comments to this ongoing Thread ( Mar 6 2009 @ 10:22 PM)

Spacecraft to blast off in search of 'Earths'

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