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earth in the past

It’s interesting to peep the massive amount of resources and energy funneled into finding the next planet Earth given the condition of the present one struggling to sustain our existence. Editorializing aside, these recent findings remain quite remarkable.  Mother Jones’ discussion with SETI Institute astronomer Dr. Franck Marchis reveals that ‘Earth 2.0’ could be discovered as early as 2024. These findings were made possible by a team of astronomers led by Bruce Macintosh of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who developed the Gemini Planet Imager. This technological leap allows scientists to explore the goings-on in the universe up to 63 light years from Earth. “When you observe a planet with [the outdated telescope] Kepler, what you’ve been doing is basically detecting the transit – the attenuation of [the star’s] light – due to the planet passing between us and the star. Now the Gemini Planet Imager [GPI], which is mounted at the eight meter class telescope in Chile we’re going to be able to see the planet itself,” Dr. Marchis explains.

Existing data provided by the Kepler suggests that one in every five sun-like stars in the Milky Way may have an Earth-sized planet circling it in the Goldilocks zone – the galactic region where liquid water could exist, the DailyMail reports. Additionally, “researchers recently suggested the figure could be even higher. Scientists in Scotland last week announced that Earth-sized planets can support life at least ten times further away from stars than previously thought.” This implies that planets previously considered uninhabitable could essentially be brimming with life. Dr. Marchis predicts the GPI will be able to pinpoint habitable planets.

beta-pictoris-wide

“Last week, a team of astronomers at the Gemini Planet Imager in Chile released the mysterious blue image above. That small bright dot in the lower right of the image is a planet—not a planet in our solar system like Mars or Neptune, but one 63 light-years away. It’s the planet Beta Pictoris b, which orbits the star Beta Pictoris in the southern constellation Pictor. But what’s most exciting about the picture is the technology used to make it, which represents a dramatic improvement in the speed and quality with which scientists will be able to look for other planets—including “Earth 2.0,” a theorized planet much like our own.” – Mother Jones

The SETI Institute astronomer expounds, so in the future we’re going to be able to tell you which star you’re observing with your naked eye will have a planet, and what type of planet. That’s the goal of GPI: to tell the public where there are planets, where there are worlds. And not only where they are, but the orbit of those bodies around the stars, the type – if they’re Jupiter, Saturn, or maybe Earth-size planets – and also the temperature and composition of their atmosphere.

Imagine one day, we’re going to be able to see seasonal effects on these planets and be able to see if there is a biosphere on these planets.”

Fascinating indeed, but to what end?

 

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  • LemonNLime

    Regarding Earth II, I am all for “discovering” new worlds but maybe we should fix the one we have before running off to destroy another one.

    Like OMFG said, the state of scientific development seems to be at a stand-still. I feel like unless we are developing technology for military purposes, there isn’t much development that is considered worthwhile at least in the US.

    Honestly, I feel like science and technology in US has been stunted. I think you have uneducated religious zealots writing policy and they are part of the reason developments is being hampered. While I believe you are entitled to believe what you want, your religion shouldn’t be the bases for our foreign, environmental, education, or technological policies. But we the people are just as much to blame because we allow it to happen; we are more concerned with blatant consumerism and celebrity gossip than bettering our world.

    Side note: While I love my job as a study abroad advisor, sometimes I feel guilty for going into the liberal arts field. My dad was an aeronautical engineer and I remember working on science projects with him as a kid. We did all kinds of things from designing a functioning solar oven to examining the weight difference between CO2 and the air around us to studying how the geometric design of an egg could be used to support bricks, that was all in grade school! I really loved and still do love science; sometimes I feel like I should have gone into that field because we don’t have enough young people of color (or young people period) interested and pursuing degrees in these STEM fields.

    Sorry to go off on a rant.

  • And then the rich will go and build their mansions and condos there. I wonder how diverse it will be and if they do have a World War on Earth II what that cause of it will be…

  • The movie Elysium comes to mind; perhaps only those who can afford it will move to another world. More technology doesn’t necessarily mean a better world.