Sunday, April 26, 2009

Earth-Like Planet Found

Astronomers based out of Hatfield, England, have discovered two planets that have conditions close to that of our own life-supporting Earth. One planet, Gliese 581 e, is of the right size, meanwhile Gliese 581 d is in a "habitable" zone.

Gliese 581 e is only 1.9 times the size of Earth, while other planets discovered outside our solar system were all that of Jupiter's size. Gliese 581 d has an orbit around a sun-like star that could allow liquid to form on the planet.

Finding rocky Earth-like planets is proof that scientists are getting better, and closer, to finding life-bearing bodies. Of the nearly 350 exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) found to date, nearly all have been found to be uninhabitable.

Here is a bit of news that isn't about some idiot that did something idiotic. These kinds of stories always spark a little imagination, but I think in reality, they should fall more into a category more like fiction. They estimate this plant to be about 20.5 light years away. There is no possible way to travel 20.5 light years in the life span of a human. 1 light year = 6 trillion miles, so this planet is roughly 123,000,000,000,000 miles away. For a little more perspective (I know - I don't know why I am breaking this down this far.) light travels at 186,000 miles a second. Currently, the speed record for a man made space propulsion system is a whooping 5 miles a second. At that rate: [123,000,000,000,000 ÷ 5 (miles) ÷ 60 (seconds) ÷ 60 (minutes) ÷ 24 (hours) ÷ 365.25 (days)] we would be able to get to this new planet in 78,000 years and with the current life span at about (optimistically) 80 years, it would take 975 family generations just to get there... those would be some weird people when they got off that boat.... anyways, my point is that it is impossible...

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This is interesting, though I totally agree with the whole "fiction" part. I'm not saying that there aren't other habitable planets out there, but actually getting to one will never happen. . .