Kepler finds first earth-size planets beyond our solar system

Dec 20, 2011
This chart compares the first Earth-size planets found around a sun-like star to planets in our own solar system, Earth and Venus. NASA's Kepler mission discovered the new found planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f. Kepler-20e is slightly smaller than Venus with a radius .87 times that of Earth. Kepler-20f is a bit larger than Earth at 1.03 times the radius of Earth. Venus is very similar in size to Earth, with a radius of .95 times that our planet. Prior to this discovery, the smallest known planet orbiting a sun-like star was Kepler-10b with a radius of 1.42 that of Earth, which translates to 2.9 times the volume. Both Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f circle in close to their star, called Kepler-20, with orbital periods of 6.1 and 19.6 days, respectively. Astronomers say the two little planets are rocky like Earth but with scorching temperatures. There are three other larger, likely gaseous planets also know to circle the same star, known as Kepler-20b, Kepler-20c and Kepler-20d. Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Kepler mission has discovered the first Earth-size planets orbiting a sun-like star outside our solar system. The planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, are too close to their star to be in the so-called habitable zone where liquid water could exist on a planet's surface, but they are the smallest exoplanets ever confirmed around a star like our sun.

The discovery marks the next important milestone in the ultimate search for planets like Earth. The are thought to be rocky. Kepler-20e is slightly smaller than Venus, measuring 0.87 times the radius of Earth. Kepler-20f is slightly larger than Earth, measuring 1.03 times its radius. Both planets reside in a five-planet system called Kepler-20, approximately 1,000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra.

Kepler-20e orbits its every 6.1 days and Kepler-20f every 19.6 days. These short orbital periods mean very hot, inhospitable worlds. Kepler-20f, at 800 degrees Fahrenheit, is similar to an average day on the . The surface temperature of Kepler-20e, at more than 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, would melt glass.


This artist's animation flies through the Kepler-20 star system, where NASA's Kepler mission discovered the first Earth-size planets around a star beyond our own. Animation credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

“The primary goal of the is to find Earth-sized planets in the ," said Francois Fressin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., lead author of a new study published in the journal Nature. "This discovery demonstrates for the first time that Earth-size planets exist around other , and that we are able to detect them.”

The Kepler-20 system includes three other planets that are larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. Kepler-20b, the closest planet, Kepler-20c, the third planet, and Kepler-20d, the fifth planet, orbit their star every 3.7, 10.9 and 77.6 days. All five planets have orbits lying roughly within Mercury's orbit in our solar system. The host star belongs to the same G-type class as our sun, although it is slightly smaller and cooler.

The system has an unexpected arrangement. In our solar system, small, rocky worlds orbit close to the sun and large, gaseous worlds orbit farther out. In comparison, the planets of Kepler-20 are organized in alternating size: large, small, large, small and large.

First Earth-sized planets found
Kepler-20e is the smallest planet found to date orbiting a Sun-like star. It circles its star every 6.1 days at a distance of 4.7 million miles. At that distance, its temperature is expected to be about 1,400 degrees F. This is an artist's rendering. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

"The Kepler data are showing us some planetary systems have arrangements of planets very different from that seen in our ," said Jack Lissauer, planetary scientist and Kepler science team member at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. "The analysis of Kepler data continue to reveal new insights about the diversity of planets and planetary systems within our galaxy."

Scientists are not certain how the system evolved but they do not think the planets formed in their existing locations. They theorize the planets formed farther from their star and then migrated inward, likely through interactions with the disk of material from which they originated. This allowed the worlds to maintain their regular spacing despite alternating sizes.

The Kepler space telescope detects planets and planet candidates by measuring dips in the brightness of more than 150,000 stars to search for planets crossing in front, or transiting, their stars. The Kepler science team requires at least three transits to verify a signal as a planet.

The Kepler science team uses ground-based telescopes and the Spitzer Space Telescope to review observations on planet candidates the spacecraft finds. The star field Kepler observes in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra can be seen only from ground-based observatories in spring through early fall. The data from these other observations help determine which candidates can be validated as planets.

First Earth-sized planets found
Kepler-20f orbits its star every 19.6 days at a distance of 10.3 million miles. Although its average temperature could be as high as 800 degrees F, it might have been able to retain a water atmosphere as it migrated closer to the star after it formed. This is an artist's rendering. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

To validate Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, astronomers used a computer program called Blender, which runs simulations to help rule out other astrophysical phenomena masquerading as a planet.

On Dec. 5 the team announced the discovery of Kepler-22b in the habitable zone of its parent star. It is likely to be too large to have a rocky surface. While Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f are Earth-size, they are too close to their parent star to have on the surface.

"In the cosmic game of hide and seek, finding with just the right size and just the right temperature seems only a matter of time," said Natalie Batalha, Kepler deputy science team lead and professor of astronomy and physics at San Jose State University. "We are on the edge of our seats knowing that Kepler's most anticipated discoveries are still to come."

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YummyFur
1.3 / 5 (27) Dec 20, 2011
The discovery marks the next important milestone in the ultimate search for planets like Earth.


Important milestone? That's like saying someone searching for The 1856 one-cent "Black on Magenta" stamp of British Guiana in the Gobi desert, after years of finding nothing even made out of paper, one day finds a piece of a bus ticket, and calling that an "important milestone" in their search for this rare stamp.
NotAsleep
5 / 5 (18) Dec 20, 2011
Well, no... not really. But to run with your analogy, it would be like only knowing you can see objects the size of a car partially buried in sand and then proving you can see the piece of a bus ticket almost completely covered in sand... but even that sort of detracts from the discovery.

It's the next step in showing that we do currently have the ability to find earth-like planets. It's just a matter of time now. Since we're looking for planets with much larger orbital periods, it'll take a longer time to gather the data necessary to say we have, indeed, found the planet(s) we're looking for
kevinrtrs
1.3 / 5 (36) Dec 20, 2011
The Kepler data are showing us some planetary systems have arrangements of planets very different from that seen in our solar system,

Like I said long ago - every star and planetary system will be found to be unique. This is simply an extrapolation of what we see around us here on earth - every individual living organism is unique.

Scientists are not certain how the system evolved but they do not think the planets formed in their existing locations. They theorize the planets formed farther from their star and then migrated inward, likely through interactions with the disk of material from which they originated

This really means that the scientists are once again confounded since this arrangement doesn't fit anywhere near any kind of prediction made by the accretion theory. Hence ad-hoc assumptions are again required to make things fit. Sheer speculation that cannot be substantiated or disproven.
The system bears testimony to the Creator's creativity and ingenuity.

NotAsleep
4.7 / 5 (23) Dec 20, 2011
This really means that the scientists are once again confounded since this arrangement doesn't fit anywhere near any kind of prediction made by the accretion theory. Hence ad-hoc assumptions are again required to make things fit. Sheer speculation that cannot be substantiated or disproven.
The system bears testimony to the Creator's creativity and ingenuity

Except for that pesky physics that keeps mucking up your arguments:

http://en.wikiped...igration

Scientists have great theories on how planets migrate but we can't confirm it because of the sensitivity (or lack thereof) of our instruments. Unlike you, we don't claim to know the truth until we know the truth
Frank_Reil
4.7 / 5 (13) Dec 20, 2011
It IS an important milestone since it shows that the relevant instruments are working fine and are sensitive enough to spot Earth-sized planets close to stars! The next milestone will be to spot such planets a bit farther away, in the habitable zone.

The discovery marks the next important milestone in the ultimate search for planets like Earth.


Important milestone? That's like saying someone searching for The 1856 one-cent "Black on Magenta" stamp of British Guiana in the Gobi desert, after years of finding nothing even made out of paper, one day finds a piece of a bus ticket, and calling that an "important milestone" in their search for this rare stamp.

kevinrtrs
1.2 / 5 (27) Dec 20, 2011
Scientists have great theories on how planets migrate but we can't confirm it because of the sensitivity (or lack thereof) of our instruments

So you agree then that it cannot be substantiated or disproven, any "pesky physics" notwithstanding. Fact is that it happened in the past, so there's no way to actually be sure that the planets weren't created like that OR that they migrated. So it will be interesting to see how you will ever get to know the "truth".
YummyFur
1.2 / 5 (10) Dec 20, 2011
it'll take a longer time to gather the data necessary to say we have, indeed, found the planet(s) we're looking for


And what PRECISELY are we looking for? A planet that's suitable for colonisation by Earthlings or a planet that gives hope to a theoretical possibility of another planet existing that indicates we might not be the only intelligent life in the cosmos.
YummyFur
1.5 / 5 (11) Dec 20, 2011
The next milestone will be to spot such planets a bit farther away, in the habitable zone.


Earth like, now Earth size. OK since we are talking about 'important milestones' which is what I take issue with. I'll accept that this 'milestone' is important for the sake of the argument. Now I ask you to list for me a few more of these 'milestones' in a logical order, ending with the final goal. I mean I presume it's a milestone TO some sort of destination.
ShotmanMaslo
4.3 / 5 (13) Dec 20, 2011
So you agree then that it cannot be substantiated or disproven, any "pesky physics" notwithstanding.


It can be substantiated or disproven when the sensitivity is enough to compare predictions with reality.

Fact is that it happened in the past, so there's no way to actually be sure that the planets weren't created like that OR that they migrated.


BS. Yes, we can be sure, if the model agrees with observations.

Not to mention that planetary systems are forming even now, for us to observe.
NotAsleep
5 / 5 (10) Dec 20, 2011
So you agree then that it cannot be substantiated or disproven, any "pesky physics" notwithstanding. Fact is that it happened in the past, so there's no way to actually be sure that the planets weren't created like that OR that they migrated. So it will be interesting to see how you will ever get to know the "truth".

I agree that since God can be neither proven nor disproven, it is summarily impossible to prove with absolute certainty that anything has actually happened prior to "now". I also consider that view to be boring and unnecessary since science can just as easily prove everything that happens in the universe.

YummyFur... furry? Anyway, I think your real question is "why are we looking if we can never go there". In my travels, the most realistic explaination is that it will allow us to study the evolution, from birth to death, of solar systems similar to our own and perhaps reveal hidden knowledge of our system's future
YummyFur
1.3 / 5 (13) Dec 20, 2011
It's the next step in showing that we do currently have the ability to find earth-like planets. It's just a matter of time now.


This is the unscientific flaw in your reasoning. By saying it's just a matter of time, you are implying that this 'earth-like' planet (notwithstanding that 'earth-like' is conveniently flexible) is most certainly out there no doubt, gotta be because...well look at the numbers...

This is as wacky as any creationist argument. We know for sure there are Sun like stars, which are a prerequisite for EL planets, and finding a planet, of any kind is better than none at all, but we have NO EVIDENCE AT ALL, that another planet with all the complex characteristics of Earth, exist. None whatsoever. Nada. Only evidence that the right size rock might be in the right size orbit.

NotAsleep
5 / 5 (10) Dec 20, 2011
YF, thanks for pointing that out... poor wording on my part. I should have said, "if planets like this exist within our viewing aperture, it's only a matter of time before we confirm them."

Speaking of the numbers, it is likely but uncertain that: planets like this exist and that some of them have all the requirements for life. However, no credible scientist can say whether or not having the requirements necessarily means life can exist... much like the mysterious "big bang", how life started on our planet remains a mystery with many theories but no solid answers.
Shifty0x88
5 / 5 (6) Dec 20, 2011
Well we found Earth-sized planets, we found planets in the habitable zone, now we need to find both
YummyFur
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 20, 2011
"why are we looking if we can never go there". In my travels, the most realistic explaination is that it will allow us to study the evolution, from birth to death, of solar systems similar to our own and perhaps reveal hidden knowledge of our system's future


Yes, the we can never go there is but a part. If it's as you say merely to try and work out some stuff about how our system developed, then that sounds plausible, but I think that's a we bit of a furphy (no relation).

Notice how we so easily slide from Earth like to, Earth size. My issue is the fuelling in the popular consciousness that there are, lush, verdant bustling new and wonderful paradises almost with reach. We just need to build a rocket ship.

Anyway as I said earlier, can someone proffer some examples of other future milestones and the final goal?

jsa09
not rated yet Dec 20, 2011
Milestones does indeed imply a destination. I was under the impression in the past that better and better telescopes and math was to make it easier to look around and see what there is to see without a specific destination in mind.

However That is probably just my naive view and others may well have a specific goal in mind. For sure, now that we can finally see planets (albeit well inside the orbit of Mercury which by all accounts will make them hell-holes), it is only a matter of time before we can see planetary systems more like our own and even be able to calculate better just how many might be in the galaxy. This would be fun to know. Next we will start classifying planetary systems into different types, just because we can.
Vendicar_Decarian
4 / 5 (16) Dec 20, 2011
"Anyway as I said earlier, can someone proffer some examples of other future milestones and the final goal?" - Yummy

The final goal will be to find an earth like planet filled with a population if triple breasted female whores.

Milestones along the way will include the discovery of planets filled with single breasted non-whores, then double breasted non-whores, and progressing to triple breasted non-whores, and then finally triple breasted whores.

The path is all described in the Christian Bible if you know how to interpret it properly.
Nanobanano
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 20, 2011
Scientists have great theories on how planets migrate but we can't confirm it because of the sensitivity (or lack thereof) of our instruments. Unlike you, we don't claim to know the truth until we know the truth


Actually, it's not a theory until you have observable, repeatable evidence. Nor is the BB "theory".

Until you have an observable, repeatable, experiencial evidence, it remains a hypothesis.
Nanobanano
1 / 5 (2) Dec 20, 2011
As if size and distance were the only variables...

Then you have to get composition, rotation, axial tilt, age, magnetism, and stratification right.
YummyFur
1 / 5 (1) Dec 20, 2011
The final goal will be to find an earth like planet filled with a population if triple breasted female whores.


You're not a big fan of Gils Elvgren I take it.
YummyFur
1 / 5 (2) Dec 20, 2011
Speaking of the numbers, it is likely but uncertain that: planets like this exist and that some of them have all the requirements for life.


Why is it likely? Because you say so? Oh wait, you're using the Sagan ambit. "billions and billions", of course.

It seems to me to be highly improbable that there is any other intelligent life in this universe, and so far judging by our own Solar system, I see no evidence that even micro organisms, which are a very big deal) are "likely".

My chief complaint is this fuzzy "requirements for life" jargon. Be more specific what you mean. Certainly protection from cosmic rays are a prerequisite.
YummyFur
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 20, 2011
Vendicar,

You and others are worse than the creationist crackpots because at least they have SOME logic that makes sense from their stated POV, that is, it's in the bible then we believe that.

You and others on the other hand want to assert the likely hood of life based solely on the much more tenuous belief that "by golly there's gotta be, ain't there gotta be?", I call this the James Stewart ambit.
jsa09
not rated yet Dec 20, 2011
I am not convinced that astronomers main goal is to try and find life. But of course you can if you want.

Finding life is not as easy as finding a planet with good air in the right location and even that is pretty hard.

But when we can, if we do then we will know, if we don't then we will know to look harder.
Zed123
4.6 / 5 (10) Dec 20, 2011
Yummyfur,

What is so hard to conceive about "...lush, verdant bustling new and wonderful paradises..." existing in the universe? We know for a fact that they do exist (We are standing on one). This tells us that they CAN exist elswhere.

Now add in the knowledge that planetary systems are not only common but seemingly abundant in the universe. Then consider the fact that we have evidence of liquid water on Mars in the past, this tells us that liquid water is not a unique feature of Earth. In addition we have recently discovered our first extra-solar planet located within the "habitable zone" of a star.

Given all this evidence, and the sheer size of the universe, it is almost guaranteed that there are other worlds with a similiar climate to the earth; and probably lots of them. To cling to your belief that we are unique or special amongst the billions of stars in our galaxy alone is akin to creationism.
YummyFur
1.4 / 5 (10) Dec 20, 2011
To cling to your belief that we are unique or special amongst the billions of stars in our galaxy alone is akin to creationism.


I didn't say that did I. Don't misquote me and then attribute the misquote as akin to creationism. Aspire to a higher standard.

Given all this evidence, and the sheer size of the universe...


There you go again, the Jimmy Stewart/Carl Sagan ambit. Gee willikers, it's so darn big..

All this evidence? er... water exists, Check, Earth size lumps of rocky stuff exists, Check.

You refute your own argument by mentioning mars, I mean there's an earthlike planet, probably had water, but it's as dead as that other earthlike planet very close to the habitable zone, Venus, which is probably the most dead place in the Solar system.

Do you even consider whether a star is part of a binary system, 2/3 of all the stars? A binary sun does not make for Earthlike planets
YummyFur
2.7 / 5 (6) Dec 20, 2011
ZED

Finding life is not as easy as finding a planet with good air in the right location and even that is pretty hard


Life comes first, good air comes after.
Zed123
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 20, 2011
It seems to me to be highly improbable that there is any other intelligent life in this universe, and so far judging by our own Solar system, I see no evidence that even micro organisms, which are a very big deal) are "likely".


This is as wacky as any creationist argument. We know for sure there are Sun like stars, which are a prerequisite for EL planets, and finding a planet, of any kind is better than none at all, but we have NO EVIDENCE AT ALL, that another planet with all the complex characteristics of Earth, exist. None whatsoever. Nada. Only evidence that the right size rock might be in the right size orbit.


These are your direct quotes. Seems to me you're saying that not only is there no other life in the universe (which is not what we were talking about to begin with) but that there are no other planets capable of supporting life. As proven by the fact that we haven't seen one.

So, no, I don't think I misquoted you... :)
Shabs42
5 / 5 (2) Dec 20, 2011
There you go again, the Jimmy Stewart/Carl Sagan ambit. Gee willikers, it's so darn big..

Do you even consider whether a star is part of a binary system, 2/3 of all the stars?


You saying the big numbers don't count doesn't make the big numbers don't count. 1/3 of billions and billions is still billions and billions. Will your tone change if we find evidence of past microbial life on Mars?

As for a goal, finding rocky planets in what we consider the habitable zone is worthy. Alien life may not look like our own; but we at least KNOW that life exists on Earth, so looking at similar planets makes sense.

In the future, when we have more sensitive instruments, we could already have a list of tens, hundreds, or thousands of planets to look at for potential life.

Finding clear evidence of extraterrestrial life would have huge implications even if we can't visit or communicate with it by any currently conceivable technology.
Shabs42
4.9 / 5 (7) Dec 21, 2011
Also, I don't think many intelligent people think that we are almost within reach of colonizing new planets, or even visiting them. I certainly don't believe that will happen within any of our lifetimes (though I'm hopeful of a colony on the Moon finally happening), but given another 200 years of advancement...who knows? This could be laying important groundwork for future generations.

Finally, I don't get why some people don't seem to understand why we're finding so many planets close to stars and not as many far away as the reason has been pointed out in almost every article about the Kepler project. Planets have to transit three times to be confirmed, planets that take one earth year to orbit will necessarily take three years to confirm as a planet. I expect that over the next couple of years we will have a huge influx of planets in the habitable zones of stars, many of which will be rocky and near the size of the Earth.
Zed123
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 21, 2011

There you go again, the Jimmy Stewart/Carl Sagan ambit. Gee willikers, it's so darn big..


Also, giving things catchy names doesn't make for solid science. I can make up cool names too but most rational people look to more solid concepts like math. If you follow some basic math you will see that the overwhelming statistical evidence points to other planets like ours. We KNOW there are billions of planets in our galaxy alone based on the large number we have found off relatively few stars surveyed already. We also know that planets CAN form in the habitable zone of stars, we know this based on the 2 examples we have foud so far: Earth and Kepler-22B.

Given the above FACTS (not made up fancy names) its a pretty reaonable and logical step to extrapolate out and conclude that there should be a decent number of planets orbiting within the habitable zones of their stars within our galaxy alone. Now we just need to find more of them.
YummyFur
1 / 5 (6) Dec 21, 2011
@ZED
...you're saying that not only is there no other life in the universe


Zed, what part of "highly improbable" are you having difficulty understanding?

All you need to do is cut and paste. It's ludicrous for you to say "it SEEMS you're saying...." and then misquote me and then complain about the misquote.

Now on the the 'fancy names" do you recall what it is I'm naming? Let me remind you, I'm naming a technique where opponents like yourself, use the fact that there's so many stars and there must be so many planets that given all these vast numbers of planets there MUST be ...etc.

Most rational people use solid evidence. Have we ever detected a single molecule or evidence of anything more complex than some simple organic compounds anywhere in the solar system or universe?

Probability is not science it's math, Drakes equation as interpreted by people like you come out in your favour by millions, but as interpreted by prof Muller, it's maybe 1 in 10
jsdarkdestruction
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 21, 2011
"Fact is that it happened in the past, so there's no way to actually be sure that the planets weren't created like that OR that they migrated."
So then you finally admit their is a possibility it didnt happen like in your story book? thats a decent step in the right direction kevin.
roboferret
5 / 5 (7) Dec 21, 2011
Scientists have great theories on how planets migrate but we can't confirm it because of the sensitivity (or lack thereof) of our instruments

So you agree then that it cannot be substantiated or disproven, any "pesky physics" notwithstanding. Fact is that it happened in the past, so there's no way to actually be sure that the planets weren't created like that OR that they migrated. So it will be interesting to see how you will ever get to know the "truth".

Migration is plausible, creation is not.
Because (to quote Tim Minchin)

Throughout history
Every mystery
Ever solved has turned out to be
Not Magic.

Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (12) Dec 21, 2011
This is as wacky as any creationist argument. We know for sure there are Sun like stars, which are a prerequisite for EL planets, and finding a planet, of any kind is better than none at all, but we have NO EVIDENCE AT ALL, that another planet with all the complex characteristics of Earth, exist.
This is like saying that we have seen humans of less than two feet tall and more than seven feet tall but since we have not seen humans of five feet tall then we have evidence that five foot tall humans exist.

Which is wrong. You are mistaking evidence for exact proof which is not the same thing.

Ethelred
HydraulicsNath
5 / 5 (6) Dec 21, 2011
Yummyfur,

What is so hard to conceive about "...lush, verdant bustling new and wonderful paradises..." existing in the universe? We know for a fact that they do exist (We are standing on one). This tells us that they CAN exist elswhere.

Now add in the knowledge that planetary systems are not only common but seemingly abundant in the universe. Then consider the fact that we have evidence of liquid water on Mars in the past, this tells us that liquid water is not a unique feature of Earth. In addition we have recently discovered our first extra-solar planet located within the "habitable zone" of a star.

Given all this evidence, and the sheer size of the universe, it is almost guaranteed that there are other worlds with a similiar climate to the earth; and probably lots of them. To cling to your belief that we are unique or special amongst the billions of stars in our galaxy alone is akin to creationism.


I wish i could fist bump you...Bravo on the responce
NotAsleep
5 / 5 (3) Dec 21, 2011
I think everyone has made their point that speaking in terms of "absolutes" isn't helpful when speaking of the universe.

Statistics: the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data.

Data is obtained through scientific observation. While it's not helpful to speak in terms of "absolutes", it's equally unhelpful to discard statistics because you appear not to like them. Carl Sagan wasn't exactly a feeble-minded person...
SteveL
5 / 5 (2) Dec 21, 2011
From what I read about this mission there is zero chance that in the planned 3.5 year life of this project they will find earth-like planets. This equipment simply doesn't have the required capability.

There is a very small chance that they will find an earth-sized planet in our version of a "habital zone". They have found earth sized-planets close up to their suns because the rotation is as quick as noted in the article and the planets came between us and their sun during their rotation. And they have found planets in the "habital zone" because they are very large. Space as we know it is 4 dimentional, so we cannot expect that the majority of planetary rotations will bring the planets between us and their sun with enough resolution to be detected 3 times in 3.5 years. That said this is really good science because it pushes the boundaries of what is known out another notch.

http://en.wikiped...cecraft)
eachus
4.3 / 5 (4) Dec 21, 2011
Space as we know it is 4 dimentional, so we cannot expect that the majority of planetary rotations will bring the planets between us and their sun with enough resolution to be detected 3 times in 3.5 years.

Kepler has done better than expected--much better than expected in terms of sensitivity. (Which actually translates as we didn't know how well various forms of analysis and statistics would do with Kepler data, until we had some Kepler data to work with.

I expect Kepler to be supported until it dies. Will that be 3 years or 30? No real way to know. You design to a given lifetime goal, then cross your fingers. Spirit and Opportunity lasted much, much longer than hoped when they were built and launched.

Anyway, even when Kepler has reached EoL (end of life), the data will continue to be analyzed. If we have two transits by some planet, there are lots of telescopes that can look for the third transit. They just don't have the dwell time and large field of view of Kepler.
YummyFur
1.4 / 5 (9) Dec 22, 2011
This is as wacky as any creationist argument. We know for sure there are Sun like stars, which are a prerequisite for EL planets, and finding a planet, of any kind is better than none at all, but we have NO EVIDENCE AT ALL, that another planet with all the complex characteristics of Earth, exist.
This is like saying that we have seen humans of less than two feet tall and more than seven feet tall but since we have not seen humans of five feet tall then we have evidence that five foot tall humans exist.

Which is wrong. You are mistaking evidence for exact proof which is not the same thing.

Ethelred


No to use your analogy that would be as if I just spoke about the size of a planet only. When in fact I'm talking about an incredibly complex and in many cases highly unlikely set of events. This massive stabilising moon amongst other things. When the moon finally floats away in a couple of billion years life on earth could be in deep strife.
NotAsleep
5 / 5 (2) Dec 22, 2011
Of all the solar systems that we have extensive knowledge of (one, our own), 100% of them have life.

Unfortunately, in statistics, a sample size of 1 means nothing. Still, this is all you have to base your statement on:
No to use your analogy that would be as if I just spoke about the size of a planet only. When in fact I'm talking about an incredibly complex and in many cases highly unlikely set of events.

There's no way at all that you can validate the series of events that led to life on earth as being "unlikely"
CHollman82
3 / 5 (4) Dec 22, 2011
The discovery marks the next important milestone in the ultimate search for planets like Earth.


Important milestone? That's like saying someone searching for The 1856 one-cent "Black on Magenta" stamp of British Guiana in the Gobi desert, after years of finding nothing even made out of paper, one day finds a piece of a bus ticket, and calling that an "important milestone" in their search for this rare stamp.


That was a horribly complicated analogy.
CHollman82
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 22, 2011
So it will be interesting to see how you will ever get to know the "truth".


science is not in the business of finding truth, as you said it often cannot be ascertained beyond reasonable doubt. Science is concerned with finding evidence and creating models accurate enough to make predictions. Workable models that make accurate predictions are the end goal, and we often achieve it.
CHollman82
3 / 5 (4) Dec 22, 2011
my roomate's half-sister makes $69 an hour on the computer. She has been fired for 8 months but last month her check was $7446 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more here...ur1.ca/5gn2z


Your roommate's half sister would make a lot more whoring herself out on the corner
Zed123
4 / 5 (4) Dec 22, 2011
@ Yummyfur

Look, the reality is that your entitled to your own opinion however it doesn't make you any less wrong.

What I am proposing is logical, rational thought about the existence of other planets in our universe that have similiar climates to Earth. I am not claiming to have any proof that these plnets exist, merely an extremely solid belief that they do based on some logical arguments. This is reflected in the fact that most of my comments in this thread have been rated as 5 by mulitple people.

You are getting very agitated and personally attacking me because you have realised your position is untenable. Your arguments do not make sense and are based on your particular view of things without any logical reasoning behind them. This is why almost all of your comments in this thread have been voted 1 by multiple people.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 22, 2011
"Space as we know it is 4 dimentional" - eachus

It is?

foolspoo
1 / 5 (1) Dec 22, 2011
what an insignificant find. uninterested in the article and i'm guessing 3/4 of yall didn't read it either.. best part is i didn't read ANY of this
Nanobanano
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 23, 2011
science is not in the business of finding truth - HolloTard


Really?

Science: ...a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths...

LowIQ
5 / 5 (1) Dec 24, 2011
foolspoo - you say that you didn't read the article so exactly what find was insignificant ?

kevintrs

Our theories on planetary and solar system formation are currently based on a sample size of one, and the models we have try to create what we see. As our knowledge increase, thanks to 'boring and uninteresting' finds like the one above our models will - and I hate to use a word you loathe - 'evolve' to the point where the diversity of systems missions like Kepler are finding will be understood and explained.

Your entitled to you views but you must surely realise trying to use current lack of knowledge and invoking the god of gaps is a fruitless exercise as inevitably one by one the gaps are closed.

We have made amazing progress as a species and while science is still breaking dawn it's light is chasing away the shadows of the night that humans have lived in fear of for thousands of years. Sorry Kevin, the bad news is that the sun is comming up so you'd better get your Raybans on
Nanobanano
1 / 5 (3) Dec 24, 2011
Repeat after me:

"There's no place like home."

"There's no place like home."

"There's no place like home."
Ethelred
2.7 / 5 (7) Dec 26, 2011
"Space as we know it is 4 dimentional" - eachus

It is?
Well space-time is. It may have more dimensions but it definitely has at least 4. The way gravity works implies but may not require a fifth.

Repeat after me:

"There's no place like home."
Why should I repeat that and why do you think there is no place like Earth?

Ethelred
Nanobanano
1.2 / 5 (6) Dec 26, 2011
Why should I repeat that and why do you think there is no place like Earth?

Ethelred


Are you aware that if Earth was averaging 1% closer/farther to the Sun it's mean temperature would be warmer/cooler by at least 5.8C? A 2% change in distance would make at least an 11.5C change in temperature.

If Earth averaged 1% closer to the Sun, there would be no ice caps on this planet, and the atmosphere would be nearly 100% overcast with convection year round. Most existing plants: grasses, grains, fruits and vegetables would not be able to survive, because they would rot in the fields.

Do you realize, as I pointed out, that the "goldilocks zone" is just one variable among thousands that make our planet what it is?

Do yuo really think you are going to find a planet somewhere where a human being could survive and reproduce on the surface without a pressure suit and air filtration/enhancements?

Everything has to be perfect for that to happen.
Nanobanano
1.3 / 5 (4) Dec 26, 2011
A greenhouse effect could make a distant planet more warm, broadening the habital zone due to temeprature, but Carbon Dioxide starts to become toxic above about 8%, and deadly in the low teens.

Then there's oxygen, which has to be high enough to live, but not high enough to be toxic.

Then there's nitrogen, which you need for all life.

then of course all the other elements of life: Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, and so forth.

they have to be in EXACTLY the proper proportion to support humans and human-compatible life (agriculture, horticulture, our plants and bacteria for human-compatible ecosystems, etc,) which is not very forgiving even on Earth, as about 1/6th of humans on EARTH have vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and this is our home planet.

The whole notion of finding a planet you would actually walk on and breathe it's air and eat it's local food and live to tell the tale, like in Star Trek or Star Wars, is completely ludicrous.
Hari_Seldon
4 / 5 (3) Dec 26, 2011
Do you really think out of the billions and billions of planets in this galaxy alone, there is not one other than earth where a human could live at least a little uncomfortably?

Are you trying to say our solar system was intelligently designed? I can't see anything else that would lead someone to believe in the vastness of the universe earth is the only planet that could support human life.

Maybe the technology hurdles are too far to surpass but regardless of whether we find one or can reach one, there are obviously an abundant amount of habitable planets in the universe and probably our own galaxy.
Nanobanano
1 / 5 (3) Dec 26, 2011
Do you really think out of the billions and billions of planets in this galaxy alone, there is not one other than earth where a human could live at least a little uncomfortably?


How many Earth gs do you think a human can live in comfortably?

Maybe 2? Your brain would be twice as heavy inside your head. Your Heart and internal organs would be twice as heavy, etc.

Your body weight would be twice as high,etc.

I doubt 2gs is workable. Imagine how hard it would be to get out of bed if you weighed twice as much? Imagine how hard it'd be to have sex!.

what about air pressure?

maybe 2 atmospheres? That's the same as the weight you feel when you're under 32 feet of water.

You'd think NASA or somebody would've done some monkey experiments to see when a monkey dies from too much or too little pressure, or from too high of gravity.

However, dying of an instantaneous g-force is not an indicator of viability of a perpetual g-force at a lower level...
Ethelred
3 / 5 (8) Dec 27, 2011
Are you aware that if Earth was averaging 1% closer/farther to the Sun it's mean temperature would be warmer/cooler by at least 5.8C
Are you aware the Sun is 30% warmer than it was when life started on Earth.

If Earth averaged 1% closer to the Sun, there would be no ice caps
That would depend on the CO2 and water content of the atmosphere.

Most existing plants: grasses, grains, fruits and vegetables would not be able to survive, because they would rot in the fields.
Which is irrelevant since the plants evolved for this world not the hypothetical one.

Do you realize, as I pointed out, that the "goldilocks zone" is just one variable among thousands that make our planet what it is?
Do you realize that an IQ of 122 is lower than mine? I know all this stuff. I learned most of it a long time ago.>>
Ethelred
3.2 / 5 (9) Dec 27, 2011
Do yuo really think you are going to find a planet somewhere where a human being could survive
The only reason we might not is because we have a limited range we can investigate.

Everything has to be perfect for that to happen.
No. Everything has to be good enough. Not perfect. And what does that have to with life on those planets evolving to fit the conditions of those planets?

but Carbon Dioxide starts to become toxic above about 8%, and deadly in the low teens.
That is because we evolved for low CO2.

Then there's oxygen, which has to be high enough to live, but not high enough to be toxic.
Wrong. If it is much higher than it is now fires start easy enough that the O2 level goes back down. You aren't thinking this through. Others have already thought about this.>>
Ethelred
3 / 5 (8) Dec 27, 2011
Then there's nitrogen, which you need for all life.
Plenty of it AND life evolved for THIS atmosphere. Or rather is evolved for the water life started in and the soluble levels of nitrogen that was available at that time and has adapted since.

then of course all the other elements of life: Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, and so forth.
And in each case life evolved to use what was available.

they have to be in EXACTLY the proper proportion to support humans and human-compatible life
No. They have to be good enough not exact. There isn't any exact of any that anywhere on Earth.

as about 1/6th of humans on EARTH have vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and this is our home planet.
Yet still those humans reproduce so it was really a deficiency.

The whole notion of finding a planet you would actually walk on and breathe it's air
Is fairly reasonable if you have enough planets.>>
Ethelred
2.7 / 5 (7) Dec 27, 2011
and eat it's local food and live to tell the tale,
Who, of those with a clue, expects such a thing?

like in Star Trek or Star Wars, is completely ludicrous.
Those are fiction. Did you miss out on that?

How many Earth gs do you think a human can live in comfortably?
less than a half and at least up to two Gs. Of course I am not demanding comfort as that is a silly demand for people that would be pioneering types.

Your body weight would be twice as high,etc.
You really have to be pretty stupid to think you are the only one that has figured out that Two Gs means twice the weight. Did you notice the MUCH more important part?

No you didn't.

Things fall faster and that will make stumbling a Really Bad Thing much more so than the actual weight.

Of course if we could find and reach such a planet I think we will be able to modify people to deal the environment. People have been writing about that for decades.>>
Ethelred
2.9 / 5 (8) Dec 27, 2011
what about air pressure?
Depends on the amount of atmosphere. In other words that is a separate variable that is related to gravity but gravity is no the only variable involved.

You'd think NASA or somebody would've done some monkey experiments to see when a monkey dies from too much or too little pressure, or from too high of gravity.
You haven't thought that out. Pressure HAS been done with hairless primates. Living in high gravity is impractical to test without a very good reason. There isn't place we can go to with higher gravity than Earth so far.

Sometimes I get the feeling that you think you are the only person that has ever thought about, well, pretty much anything.

Go read some Hard SF. You might start with Hal Clement's Mission of Gravity.

There is nothing wrong with you discussing this QC, the problem is the way you think you are the only one that has every had a thought about it.

Ethelred
bluehigh
1.6 / 5 (13) Dec 27, 2011
I am not claiming to have any proof that these plnets exist, merely an extremely solid belief that they do based on some logical arguments.
- Zed123

You got religion not science.

I may believe that due to the Universe being really really really big with lots of opportunities for life to exist. However that does not constitute any scientific basis for declaring that life (other than on Earth) can, should or must exist. YummyFur has a valid argument.
foolspoo
1 / 5 (1) Dec 27, 2011
foolspoo - you say that you didn't read the article so exactly what find was insignificant ?

Oh how about the part that there might not be enough ink in a typical printer cartridge to print the number of 'earth' sized planets in the this universe. significant to our history books doesn't qualify true significance, to me at least.
LowIQ
5 / 5 (1) Dec 28, 2011
foolspoo - I hear what your saying and would agree that in a few millenia another 'earth sized/like planet' or another alien lifeform discovered 'may' be less interesting but I would not go so far to say insignificant.

For now though every extra solar planet found should be a source of of wonder and excitement - our sun is not unique, our planet is not unique, our solar system is not unique and finds like this help bang another nail in the coffin of the majority of this planets anthropocentric world view.

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