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Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:31 AM

Earth’s twin will be discovered in 2013, astronomers predict

Humanity is likely to discover its first truly Earth-like planet in 2013, according to the director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory of the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo.

“I’m very positive that the first Earth twin will be discovered next year,” Abel Mendez told Space.com.

Mendez is leading the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog project, which seeks to identify potentially habitable planets outside our solar system. Astronomers have already found a number of potentially habitable planets, based on chemical and physical characteristics that are theoretically conducive to life. Earlier this month, Mendez said seven potentially habitable planets have been found — Gliese 581d, HD 85512b, Kepler 22b, Gliese 667Cc, Gliese 581g, Gliese 163c, and HD 40307g.Though these plants could theoretically support life, they are only marginally Earth-like. Most Earth-sized planets found to date are too close or too far from a star to support life. On the other hand, most planets found within the so-called “Goldilocks zone” where the temperature is neither too hot or too cold are much larger than Earth.
Kepler 22b, for instance, orbits within the “Goldilocks zone” but is 2.4 times the size of the Earth. It is also unknown whether Kepler 22b is rocky like Earth or gassy like Jupiter.


“The first planet with a measured size, orbit and incident stellar flux that is suitable for life is likely to be announced in 2013,” Geoff Marcy, a member of the Kepler team, told Space.com.
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Raw Story (http://s.tt/1xIWk)

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Reply Earth’s twin will be discovered in 2013, astronomers predict (Original post)
octoberlib Dec 2012 OP
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #1
Fire Walk With Me Dec 2012 #2
eShirl Dec 2012 #3
gilpo Dec 2012 #14
Unknown Beatle Dec 2012 #4
JustABozoOnThisBus Dec 2012 #6
Major Nikon Dec 2012 #7
NYC Liberal Dec 2012 #5
D Gary Grady Dec 2012 #10
gadjitfreek Dec 2012 #8
D Gary Grady Dec 2012 #9
tridim Dec 2012 #11
Vattel Dec 2012 #12
Capt. Obvious Dec 2012 #13
datasuspect Dec 2012 #15

Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:43 AM

1. I read the headline as meaning they were going to discover earth's twin in another dimension,like in

 

science fiction stories.

I was psyched. what a disappointment. i wanted to see the world in which the alternate me was an asian peasant or president or something.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:52 AM

2. Evil twin? Like that time Spock had a beard?

 

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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:24 AM

3. EXACTLY like that.


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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:36 AM

14. Um... we are the evil twin n/t

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:52 AM

4. In other words,

we need to get the fuck out of here! This planet is disintegrating because of parasites called greedy rich conservatives that don't give a shit about this floating orb. Why else would scientists be in a rush to discover habitable planets like earth?

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Response to Unknown Beatle (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:02 AM

6. We need a new resource to exploit

Earth is not getting any bigger, but the number of greedy rich conservatives keeps growing.

Or did you think the new planet would be colonized by humanists, socialists, kinder/gentler people?

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Response to Unknown Beatle (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:10 AM

7. ...

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:02 AM

5. A planet being in the "Goldilocks zone" doesn't necessarily mean it'll support life

Venus and Mars (and the moon) are all in the habitable zone.

The universe is a big place though!

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:21 AM

10. And don't forget Venus

Curiously, a first-pass estimate of the expected temperature puts the Earth just beyond the habitable zone. We're warm enough for liquid water only because of the greenhouse effect (which in itself is a good thing; it's adding a lot of additional greenhouse gases that's the problem).

Venus is an interesting case: It's closer to the Sun and hence gets more intense sunlight, but its upper-atmosphere clouds make the planet more reflective by just about the right amount that all else being equal, the surface temperature on Venus would be similar to that on Earth, making for an environment perhaps even conducive to alien princesses in bikinis. Alas, Venus has such a super-dense, predominantly CO2 atmosphere that the greenhouse effect gives it a surface temperature of hundreds of degrees. (You can cook a turkey on Venus in like 20 minutes just by putting it on the porch.) Not good for alien princesses, dagnabbit. I haven't entirely give up hope for mermaids on Enceladus, though.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:24 AM

8. I don't care for scientists making unsubstantiated claims.

When they find it, they find it. This guy has no evidence to make such a declarative statement. It's just a headline maker and not science. They can say they will redouble their efforts in this direction but science should not be making predictions without evidence to back it up. They have a BETTER chance at finding a distant Earth than this year because they have honed their skills at finding small planets around distant stars but to come out and say that they'll find it this next year is a bit much.

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Response to gadjitfreek (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:08 AM

9. It's actually not an unreasonable prediction

There's more evidence to support the prediction than one might think. We have now observed enough stars and found enough exoplanets to have a notion of the approximate statistical distributions involved (mass, semimajor axis, etc).

Based on that and the parameters of the observing program, it's possible to compute an estimate the likelihood of observing at least one planet that meets a given set of criteria (mass in a given range and so on). No, the estimate isn't exact, and even if it were exact it wouldn't be a guarantee, so such a prediction obviously isn't a sure thing. But it's also far from being a mere unsupported claim.

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Response to D Gary Grady (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:46 AM

11. It's certainly not unreasonable, but most people won't believe it (or care) without pictures.

People tend to think telescopes are much more powerful than they are.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:01 AM

12. In a way, it doesn't really matter.

Everyone already knows that there are earth-like planets out there. And everyone should know that the probability that a given earth-like planet has life on it is difficult to estimate because we don't yet know how life got started on Earth itself.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:16 AM

13. Hopefully that planet has oil

We can declare war!

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:40 AM

15. a new life awaits you in the offworld colonies!

 

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