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Old 04-30-2008, 09:24 PM
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Default Detecting Extrasolar Earth-mass worlds

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0402201541.htm

So what are your thoughts? Is this an approach that is worth the money? What should we be moving toward?

Oley
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:01 AM
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Well, I'm not sure what specifically you're asking when is this "worth the money" as it relates to this particular method... unless you mean are such planetary searches worth the money in general?

In any case, I'd think being able to more ably detect Earth-like planets outside our solar system would be helpful to astronomical study generally. Being able to 'map' other solar systems which include rocky Earth-like planets might give us much better insight into how solar systems form beyond our own familiar but singular example.

Scientists might find other variations in formations and planet distribution which differ significantly from our model. If so, it might broaden our acknowledged conditions under which planet systems may support life (i.e. having giant gas planets 'streetsweeping' systems of incoming debris which could be lifekillers on a suitable, vulnerable small rock planet).

If we get more and different data on how such systems form, that may cause revisions of how likely other life is out there, if we discover new conditions in systems we don't 'see' or understand yet.

It could be another useful next step, but not a means to its own end of course.
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Old 05-01-2008, 04:18 AM
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Unless our propulsion system for space travel radically change, looking for another Earth-like planet is futile.
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:51 PM
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I disagree. You must be looking at it from a "possible colony" viewpoint. I think most astronomers are looking at it as a "fill in the gaps in our knowledge" one. We still don't know enough about the formation of solar systems to be able to say how common they are, or what sorts of stellar types planets are most common with. Considering the majority of star systems are bianary or trianary in nature, finding out that planets are common, even around them would drastically change our conceptions.

To use your point, however, we need to know there is someplace to go to, before we start building ships to go there. Would we have bothered with space travel at all, if there were no Moon orbiting Earth? By the same token, would we bother developing a "star drive" of any kind, if we don't know there are planets to visit? (It's a chicken and the egg argument, if ever there was.)
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:03 PM
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I certainly think it is worth the money and worth doing. Before the discovery of extrasolar planets, planet formation was debated as to whether it was a rare phenomena or widespread and in looking at all the discoveries it seems it is widespread. I saw a program once that explained how they've found planets circling pulsars. These are stars that went nova resulting in pulsars, the planets must have formed from the debree surrounding the newly formed pulsar. That just really shows that nature seems to make planets rather easily, which goes to ask how common are Earth like planets? Any technology that can be developed to answer this question should certainly be pursued. Recently they found a massive rocky planet circling a red dwarf, it's orbit is in the right zone for liquid water, so if water is there, it'd be a liquid, but the planet is huge, 5 or 7 times more massive than earth.

Regadless, the technology should be pursued. China now are stepping up their space program and if we don't get back into the race then their program will surpass ours in a few decades. China are planning to go to the moon, set up bases in the coming decades.
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:11 PM
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Unfortunately, their astronauts will never make it, being in a capsule made with lead paint... LOL
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:48 PM
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I'm personally against it because it kicked my boy Pluto off the Planets of the Solar System list...

Seriously, detecting as many planets as possible is a good thing, even if the benefits may not pay off within our lifetime or even during the lifetime of our grandchildren.

That's the hardest thing about doing long-term research into things that may only pay off for future generations. We tend to want the results right here and now for us...
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FanWriter45 View Post
Unfortunately, their astronauts will never make it, being in a capsule made with lead paint... LOL
Yeah, well they'll have to graduate from the lead paint class before attempting lunar landings!
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FanWriter45 View Post
I disagree. You must be looking at it from a "possible colony" viewpoint. I think most astronomers are looking at it as a "fill in the gaps in our knowledge" one. We still don't know enough about the formation of solar systems to be able to say how common they are, or what sorts of stellar types planets are most common with. Considering the majority of star systems are bianary or trianary in nature, finding out that planets are common, even around them would drastically change our conceptions.

To use your point, however, we need to know there is someplace to go to, before we start building ships to go there. Would we have bothered with space travel at all, if there were no Moon orbiting Earth? By the same token, would we bother developing a "star drive" of any kind, if we don't know there are planets to visit? (It's a chicken and the egg argument, if ever there was.)
I was actually. Colinzation of the moon on a large scale is impratical. Taraforming mars with current technology is equally impratical.

As we keep killing off this planet, if we are to survive as a species, sadly we'll have to look to the stars. I say sadly because we are not mature enough as a species to go to the stars yet.
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:28 AM
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Well we need to keep in mind that not every thing that we understand about how our planet works and what potentially threatens our planet was discovered by looking at our planet. Perhaps the most notable example for today is the greenhouse effect. That was not discovered by observations of Earth. It's based on observations of the planet Venus. We're just applying what we see on Venus to the Earth's system, which we have incomplete data about as well even though we live on it.. That alone was a big step in and of itself as Venus and Earth are not true analogs either, although they certainly do hold some similarities. It's unclear if Venus could have been more like Earth in the past or not, and if so, what happened to it. This leaves many unanswered questions about what happened in the natural history of Venus and whether or not it can happen here. The same applies for Mars. Quite frankly the only way to potentially get some answers is to examine the planets up closely. It's not nearly as simple as taking care of what on this planet first then look to the stars when a lot of what we understand is based on what we've found by looking to the stars to begin with.
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