New habitable planet only 20 lightyears away

Flopper

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As I'm sure you've heard by now, there may be a new kid on the liveable planet block, Gliese 581g. This is the first exoplanet that has the potential to have a solid surface and that is in the habitable zone around its star where liquid water can exist. We all immediately thought, "could there be life?" and one SETI researcher claims to have a possible signal.

There really is no telling yet how many potentially habitable planets there are in the galaxy, though one could make an estimate based on the solar system and Gliese 581's system.

However, just being in the "Goldilocks zone" is not enough to truly be habitable to life as we know it, as we can see from Mars in our very own solar system. But to find such a planet a mere 20 light-years away is still tantalizing. After all, if there was an intelligent civilization there, we could have a short conversation in a human lifetime!

Ragbir Bhathal, an astronomer affiliated with the Australian SETI effort, says that he detected a blip of light, similar to what optical SETI projects might expect from an intelligent civilization, in the direction of Gliese 581 two years ago.

Now, one blip does not a solid detection make, and for decades SETI researchers have been excited then disappointed by strange signals that never repeat. If Bhathal produces this data for scrutiny from other scientists, repeatability would still be needed before a detection of extra-terrestrial intelligence could be claimed. So don't get your hopes up just yet.

Gliese 581g and the Question of Intelligent Life : Discovery News
 
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Two darn close. If it is habitable, that means that there are folks living there. They have been subjected to 40 years of I love Lucy, Threes Company and game shows. They are probably pissed and on their way
 

CrusaderFrank

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If there's an intelligent civilization out there in the Universe, the absolute last thing we'd want to tell them is that we believe manmade CO2 is melting the polar ice caps. We'll be shunned as a laughing stock and labeled dumbest species in the Milky Way
 
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Flopper

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It's amazing how the press reports findings such as these. One said, "To think, we will be able to visit an inhabited planet and the trip will take just 20 years". This is provided we can travel the speed of light, just a bit over 669 million mph.
 

Sallow

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It's amazing how the press reports findings such as these. One said, "To think, we will be able to visit an inhabited planet and the trip will take just 20 years". This is provided we can travel the speed of light, just a bit over 669 million mph.
:lol:
 
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Flopper

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With our current technology we could visit them in about 2 or 3 billion years. :cool:
By that time any life that exist today may be gone. That's the problem with the universe. It's so damn big.

I think our chances of finding extraterritorial life is pretty good. However, I think our chances of finding intelligent life is very remote. Even if our existence stretches out a millions years or so, which doesn't seem likely, it won't be enough time given the size and the life span of the universe.
 

LAfrique

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As I'm sure you've heard by now, there may be a new kid on the liveable planet block, Gliese 581g. This is the first exoplanet that has the potential to have a solid surface and that is in the habitable zone around its star where liquid water can exist. We all immediately thought, "could there be life?" and one SETI researcher claims to have a possible signal.

There really is no telling yet how many potentially habitable planets there are in the galaxy, though one could make an estimate based on the solar system and Gliese 581's system.

However, just being in the "Goldilocks zone" is not enough to truly be habitable to life as we know it, as we can see from Mars in our very own solar system. But to find such a planet a mere 20 light-years away is still tantalizing. After all, if there was an intelligent civilization there, we could have a short conversation in a human lifetime!

Ragbir Bhathal, an astronomer affiliated with the Australian SETI effort, says that he detected a blip of light, similar to what optical SETI projects might expect from an intelligent civilization, in the direction of Gliese 581 two years ago.

Now, one blip does not a solid detection make, and for decades SETI researchers have been excited then disappointed by strange signals that never repeat. If Bhathal produces this data for scrutiny from other scientists, repeatability would still be needed before a detection of extra-terrestrial intelligence could be claimed. So don't get your hopes up just yet.

Gliese 581g and the Question of Intelligent Life : Discovery News

But Percival Lowell told you there was civilization on Mars! Know ye not about Lowellville? Check-out Robert Sawyer's "Mind Scan."

I know that most people are under the impression that science fiction is simply science fiction. Be hence known to you that some science fiction are hand-tipping: Some sci-fi writers are in fact hinting you, in a very politically correct manner, about current events in their era.
 

Montrovant

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With our current technology we could visit them in about 2 or 3 billion years. :cool:
By that time any life that exist today may be gone. That's the problem with the universe. It's so damn big.

I think our chances of finding extraterritorial life is pretty good. However, I think our chances of finding intelligent life is very remote. Even if our existence stretches out a millions years or so, which doesn't seem likely, it won't be enough time given the size and the life span of the universe.
And when I think on that too long, it depresses the hell out of me. :(

I can only hope that someone invents or discovers some kind of FTL travel in my lifetime (I know, I know, there's really no chance) so we can explore at least a little larger portion of the galaxy.
 

bill5

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By that time any life that exist today may be gone. That's the problem with the universe. It's so damn big.

I think our chances of finding extraterritorial life is pretty good. However, I think our chances of finding intelligent life is very remote. Even if our existence stretches out a millions years or so, which doesn't seem likely, it won't be enough time given the size and the life span of the universe.
Exactly. Nicole Gugliucci, you're an idiot.
 

Middleoftheroad

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With our current technology we could visit them in about 2 or 3 billion years. :cool:
By that time any life that exist today may be gone. That's the problem with the universe. It's so damn big.

I think our chances of finding extraterritorial life is pretty good. However, I think our chances of finding intelligent life is very remote. Even if our existence stretches out a millions years or so, which doesn't seem likely, it won't be enough time given the size and the life span of the universe.
And when I think on that too long, it depresses the hell out of me. :(

I can only hope that someone invents or discovers some kind of FTL travel in my lifetime (I know, I know, there's really no chance) so we can explore at least a little larger portion of the galaxy.
Not only is there no chance of FTL being invented in your lifetime, but its actually impossible as long as relativity holds up, FTL in any possible form would mean time travel, and violate causality. As for conventional means of propulsion you would have to accelerate for half the distance and decelerate for the second half of the distance, making travel even tougher. Currently the best possible probe we could make would get there in about 17,000 year, but would be flying by at some 100,000 mph. So the problem holds, that as long as relativity holds up, interstellar travel for humans is impossible right now, and might be just plain impossible.
 

Greenbeard

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So the problem holds, that as long as relativity holds up, interstellar travel for humans is impossible right now, and might be just plain impossible.
By the same token, special relativity allows vast distances to be traversed in the span of a human lifetime via length contraction. A person could get to a star 20 or 100 or 1,000 light years away, the laws of physics don't prevent that. The technical challenges, on the other hand, could be insurmountable.
 

whitehall

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"Only" 20 light years is about 118 trillion miles. Today's technology would take 300,000 years.
 

Middleoftheroad

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So the problem holds, that as long as relativity holds up, interstellar travel for humans is impossible right now, and might be just plain impossible.
By the same token, special relativity allows vast distances to be traversed in the span of a human lifetime via length contraction. A person could get to a star 20 or 100 or 1,000 light years away, the laws of physics don't prevent that. The technical challenges, on the other hand, could be insurmountable.
While special relativity does allow for it, general relativity, quantum mechanics and the laws of thermodynamics when put together, do not. Even with length contraction this unfortunetly still allows for time travel. You can read more below
Q: Hyperspace, warp drives, and faster than light travel: why not? | Ask a Mathematician / Ask a Physicist
Even then making worm holes to allow such things requires exotic matter, which most physicist don't believe exists, or even more remotely negative energy, which they also don't believe exists. The only thing that seems to be even remotely possible is the alcubierre drive, which would solve the problems to locally travelling faster then light, but for the universe as a whole, is would see you as travelling back in time which violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics and causality.
 

Greenbeard

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So the problem holds, that as long as relativity holds up, interstellar travel for humans is impossible right now, and might be just plain impossible.
By the same token, special relativity allows vast distances to be traversed in the span of a human lifetime via length contraction. A person could get to a star 20 or 100 or 1,000 light years away, the laws of physics don't prevent that. The technical challenges, on the other hand, could be insurmountable.
While special relativity does allow for it, general relativity, quantum mechanics and the laws of thermodynamics when put together, do not. Even with length contraction this unfortunetly still allows for time travel.
I'm not talking about time travel or faster-than-light travel or any sort of exotic concept. I'm merely pointing out that length contraction allows for vast distances to be crossed within the lifetime of a human traveler. Nothing particularly controversial about that observation.
 

Middleoftheroad

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By the same token, special relativity allows vast distances to be traversed in the span of a human lifetime via length contraction. A person could get to a star 20 or 100 or 1,000 light years away, the laws of physics don't prevent that. The technical challenges, on the other hand, could be insurmountable.
While special relativity does allow for it, general relativity, quantum mechanics and the laws of thermodynamics when put together, do not. Even with length contraction this unfortunetly still allows for time travel.
I'm not talking about time travel or faster-than-light travel or any sort of exotic concept. I'm merely pointing out that length contraction allows for vast distances to be crossed within the lifetime of a human traveler. Nothing particularly controversial about that observation.
Trust me I understand, I've been in many many conversations about different types of FTL. The problem with length contraction is that the observer see's themselves going forward in time, but the rest of the universe see's the observer as going backwards. If you read the article I posted earlier it discusses this and points out that even length contraction violates causality.
 

Greenbeard

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Trust me I understand, I've been in many many conversations about different types of FTL.
But you're not in one with me. That's my point. I'm not talking about anything even remotely speculative. Length contraction has nothing to do with faster-than-light speculation.

The problem with length contraction is that the observer see's themselves going forward in time, but the rest of the universe see's the observer as going backwards.
...no. Length contraction's counterpart is time dilation--observers in another frame will observe the traveler's clocks to be ticking more slowly than their own (no one sees anyone's clock ticking backwards--again, no one is traveling faster than the speed of light). In fact, that's exactly why travelers can traverse such large distances in their lifetimes. In the traveler's inertial frame, distances seem to shrink in the direction of motion, while observers in other frames simply see time passing much more slowly for the traveler. The end result is the same, regardless of whose perspective is being considered: if the traveler is moving fast enough (still below the speed of light), he can travel vast distances within his lifetime.

Length contraction does not violate causality and your link certainly doesn't make that assertion.
 
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Middleoftheroad

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Trust me I understand, I've been in many many conversations about different types of FTL.
But you're not in one with me. That's my point. I'm not talking about anything even remotely speculative. Length contraction has nothing to do with faster-than-light speculation.

The problem with length contraction is that the observer see's themselves going forward in time, but the rest of the universe see's the observer as going backwards.
...no. Length contraction's counterpart is time dilation--observers in another frame will observe the traveler's clocks to be ticking more slowly than their own (no one sees anyone's clock ticking backwards--again, no one is traveling faster than the speed of light). In fact, that's exactly why travelers can traverse such large distances in their lifetimes. In the traveler's inertial frame, distances seem to shrink in the direction of motion, while observers in other frames simply see time passing much more slowly for the traveler. The end result is the same, regardless of whose perspective is being considered: if the traveler is moving fast enough (still below the speed of light), he can travel vast distances within his lifetime.

Length contraction does not violate causality and your link certainly doesn't make that assertion.
Sorry you are absolutely correct, I got into my anti-FTL mode and assumed you were talking about bending space (wromholes and such) when I should have realized you were talking about Lorentz transformation. Your pretty much correct on everything you said, especially the part where you said the technicalities of it might be impossible.
 

Old Rocks

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Twenty light years is really not that far. Not sure how good present technology is for building a tight beam laser for communication at that distance, but a round trip communication would only require 40 years, if their civilization was equal to our own in that technology.

I grew up reading the fiction of Clark, Heinlein, Asimov, and many others. But as I have gotten older and learned more concerning the way proteins work, and the variety of them, I have become convinced that any planet that was similiar enough to have a breathable atmosphere would be instantly lethal because of the differance in protiens produced by the life there.
 

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