Earth-sized planets discovered:

Total posts: [36]
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1 pagad20th Dec 2011 11:11:59 AM from perfidious Albion , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Sneering Imperialist
The first Earth-sized planets have been found. They can't support life now, being too close to their star, but theoretically could have in the distant past before they migrated inwards.

These planetary discoveries seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment.
With cannon shot and gun blast smash the alien. With laser beam and searing plasma scatter the alien to the stars.
I never get how these discoveries matter at all. After all, there could be an alien looking at Earth right now and saying "that planet could support life someday."

They'd be saying "someday," of course, because they'd be seeing what we looked like millions of years ago.
The joy of discovery?
Urinate with precision and elegance.
4 TrevMUN20th Dec 2011 11:20:44 AM , Relationship Status: Owner of a lonely heart
Internet Wanderer
[up][up] That depends on their distance; this planet is 600 light years away, so the light we're receiving from it is only 600 years old.

If a civilization lived there that could see our planet, they'd be seeing it as it was back in the 15th century.

edited 20th Dec '11 11:20:56 AM by TrevMUN

^^Fair enough.

^True. Still, it's impossible for us to even carry on a conversation with anyone there, so whether life can exist on it remains purely academic.
Revy Gonna Give It To Ya
[up][up]Yeah, as far as I know we can only discover planets in our own galaxy, so that puts the latest timelapse at only like 150k years.

[up]Errr, no, it would you know have pretty big philosophical and theological ramifications, for one.

edited 20th Dec '11 11:25:07 AM by Scherzo09

These are the words that shall come from my mouth. I shall be known for speaking them.
7 TrevMUN20th Dec 2011 11:32:35 AM , Relationship Status: Owner of a lonely heart
Internet Wanderer
[up][up] We have the technology to send a "message in a bottle," at least. I'm assuming that the Arecibo Message would still be readable from a distance of 25,000 light years out, if it were actually pointed at a spot where a star system with a likelihood of having a civilization would be.
8 tricksterson20th Dec 2011 11:33:27 AM from Behind you with an icepick , Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Never Trust
[up][up]And would be just plain nifty
Errr, no, it would you know have pretty big philosophical and theological ramifications, for one.
I was talking in terms of utility, but okay, I can accept that. But do you think people whose worldview is incompatible with alien life will believe there's alien life if it's discovered in such a way that we can't go visit it?

^^Yes, we could say "hi," but then we don't get a reply for a thousand years, so after that...well, back to daily life.

edited 20th Dec '11 11:40:49 AM by INUH

We just need to start thinking on larger timescales and concerning ourselves with the good of humanity over the good of our individual selves. Then these things gain all sorts of utility.
Urinate with precision and elegance.
Not really. I mean, sure, if we build a rocket, load some people into it and launch it at another planet that supports human life, we can strand those people's many-times-great grandchildren on an alien world, but there's no actual benefit to doing that.
.*raised eyebrow* No actual benefit?

edited 20th Dec '11 12:02:24 PM by CDRW

Urinate with precision and elegance.
Yes. I see no benefit to stranding a few guys on a planet many light years from home with no infrastructure. If you think there is one, please point it out, rather than just repeating the last thing I said in the form of a question.

edited 20th Dec '11 12:19:32 PM by INUH

Does spreading your species to new environments, thereby securing greater stability and resiliance to disaster for future generations count as a real benefit?
Urinate with precision and elegance.
You're more optimistic than I am about these people's odds of survival. Hell, just the trip is dangerous enough. What are they supposed to do when they get there?

edited 20th Dec '11 12:22:20 PM by INUH

Overcoming the odds is what we do as a species. We change the odds. And they're supposed to do the exact same thing we did with our own planet. Exist and thrive.
Urinate with precision and elegance. you have some actual reason why this project would be viable? Something more concrete than "people are awesome?"

edited 20th Dec '11 12:30:30 PM by INUH

Whoah dude, you asked for the why's. I gave you the why's. Don't go insulting me because I didn't give you any what's to go with them.
Urinate with precision and elegance.
I asked you for a how. Your answer was "people are awesome."

I'm sorry, but I don't find that sufficient reason.
There is no "how" in any of your previous posts, and considering the context of the thread it is perfectly reasonable to interpret what you said as a request for more explanation of "why." It appears that we were having two different conversations.

edited 20th Dec '11 12:34:29 PM by CDRW

Urinate with precision and elegance.
Look, here's my problem. Some number of people climb into a spaceship, with a little layer of metal between then and certain death. If that spaceship is functioning perfectly fine a millennium later and absolutely no trajectory calculations are screwed up, these people's descendants might find themselves standing on a barren rock about the size of earth. The whole thing is founded on prayers and hopes, rather than, you know, technology, probability or science.

edited 20th Dec '11 12:39:08 PM by INUH

22 Chalkos20th Dec 2011 12:39:19 PM from The Internets
Sidequest Proliferator
Naturally any such mission would require technological innovation and investment on a scale quite different from anything we're doing now, just as the moon missions and the first trips into space required innovation and investment. It's not like it's something we'll be doing tomorrow. It's just a possible eventual step to take which would result from investigations like these, and which would render impotent the protests that research into possibly life-supporting planets is "useless."

[up]Shockingly, the people orchestrating such a mission are quite a lot better-trained and better-educated than you or me. Just because you can't understand how such a thing could be calculated via mathematics and science doesn't mean they're just shooting a tin can into space and praying hard. Yes, there are risks, but with work and time it may eventually be possible to manage it and overcome them.

edited 20th Dec '11 12:40:36 PM by Chalkos

[up][up] It's not like they'd just put some people in a tin can and shoot them off on a whim.
  1. Doing things for a "might" is perfectly acceptable so long as you don't misrepresent the dangers.
  2. You do everything you can to provide them with absolutely anything they might need to survive if the environment isn't what you thought it was.
  3. They might die anyways. It's an occupational hazard.

edited 20th Dec '11 12:41:11 PM by CDRW

Urinate with precision and elegance.
I know, I just can't see why people get so excited that thousands of years from now, there might be a chance that thousands of years from then, people might (if nothing goes wrong) live on another planet. Not that the people of Earth would know for sure, what with the difficulty of communication over that distance.

Ever since I learned about this, I've found it very hard to be optimistic about such things.
"The universe is a bitch" will always be countered with "humans are awesome." If something is physically possible, we'll figure it out. If it's not physically possible, we'll figure out a way to hack the laws of physics so that it doesn't matter anyways. It's what we've always done, and I'm confident that it's what we'll continue doing as long as we exist.
Urinate with precision and elegance.

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