Three New Earth-like Planets --"Candidates for Interstellar Robotic Probes"
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July 01, 2013

Three New Earth-like Planets --"Candidates for Interstellar Robotic Probes"

 

 

                    Earthlike_planets_3

 

"Finding multiple Super-earths orbiting in the habitable zone of such a nearby star is quite significant," said Steven Vogt, University of California, Santa Cruz astronomy and astrophysics professor. "It really confirms our suspicion that our galaxy is teeming with potentially habitable rocky planets. Many of these, such as the ones around GJ 667C, are even near enough to imagine sending robotic interstellar probes out to study within a few human lifetimes."

"This discovery is really the start of a whole new era studying Earth-like planets that may have liquid water on the surface," said Maria Womack, National Science Foundation (NSF) program officer.

New observations of a star known as Gliese 667C have revealed a system with at least six planets, including a record-breaking three super-Earths orbiting in the star's "habitable zone" where liquid water could exist on the planets. This is the first planetary system found to have a fully packed habitable zone.

"The three planets in the habitable zone are roughly Earth-sized, and only about three to four times the mass of the Earth," said Vogt, who is on a team with Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism that made this discovery.

The same team announced last year they had already found one planet in the habitable zone of this star system. They suspected the presence of more planets but couldn't confirm them given the data set available then. This new result confirms the presence of two previously known planets orbiting this star, but also reveals five more. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds both Vogt and Butler's research.

Also funded by NSF, coauthor Rory Barnes at the University of Washington noted the discovery offers additional insights. "The number of potentially habitable planets in our galaxy is much greater if we can expect to find several of them around each low-mass star. Instead of looking at 10 stars to look for a single potentially habitable planet, we now know we can look at just one star and have a high chance of finding several of them," he said

Gliese 667C is a well-studied star. Just over one-third the mass of the Sun, it is part of a triple-star system known as Gliese 667 (also referred to as GJ 667), 22 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion). This is relatively close to Earth, within the Sun's galactic neighborhood, and much closer than the star systems investigated using telescopes such as the planet-hunting Kepler space telescope.

The team of astronomers--led by Guillem Anglada-Escudé of the University of Göttingen, Germany, and Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire, U.K.--combined new observations from Keck and other telescopes with extensive data collected previously by the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher at the European Southern Observatory's 3.6-meter telescope in Chile. The findings will be published this week in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The Daily Galaxy via NSF

Image Credit: With thanks to Walter Myers

Comments

Are we near sighted or are we far sighted? It seems that we are far sighted, because we can see things at a distance but can't see things under our very noses. Sending a probe that would take generations to get to would mean it would take that long to get the data back. If it would take three hundred years for the probe to get to its destination, it would take three hundred years for the signal to reach Earth; that is a total of 600 years. Where we be in the next 600 years? We are in the infancy of space exploration running around in our tricycle, and we are still dreaming of getting our driver's license. The planets are 22 light years away, at the speed of light it would take us 22 years, at 300,000 miles per hour it would take us forever and a day. If a person left at 20 it would be 42 when it arrived on the planet, and when it arrived back on Earth it would be 64 (if it spent ten years doing research on the planet) it would be 74.

No,

It would not take 300 years PLUS another 300 years to get the signal back. The signal from the spacecraft when it reached the planet would travel back to us at the speed of light. I believe you already know how long that would take.

It's a total time of 322 years, by your calculations.

Speed of light is 186,000 miles per second

The question is how to reach the planet with this distance its impossible to reach it

so that is 129,045,312,000,000 miles away?

why do people constantly think that we are always further away than what we actually are. don't you think NASA give out the information they want people to know instead of the information that we all should know, they say we are always far away from the new earth planets but is that really true. I don't think this is the case i believe that we are much closer to them planets but are too scared of the truth. when i mean the truth i mean things like finding life on another planet how would that make are world that we live in today. you might think that this is all crazy talk but have you ever thought of this, lay down on your bed or on the grass outside in your garden and look up, look up at the sky or look out of our planet that we see, look up too the moon and think wow we are on a planet but we never think about it, we never think because we are all to busy leading our lives or doing some thing else which is too busy to think about it or we don't want to actually think about it because we know that if we do we would start to judge. think about who we are, this questions will always go around in my head who called us humans because if you think about it then we called ourselves humans but who are we really and who put us here, you think that out of the entire solar system there are over 2.5 billion planets, some one out there put us here on this planet for a reason that is my theory.

I've I did my research right pluto is 4 light years away...NASA built an extremely fast space craft that can reach pluto in 9.5 years....so 9.5*4 equals roughly 52 years to make it 22 light years away. so one life time. From a science perspective organisms arise when the biosphere is at optimal conditions. Earth's life started from single celled organisms, that it what put us here...and that is what yields organisms on other planets. Just from a research/experimental science perspective

Pluto is about 6 light hours away not 4 light years. I'd like to think that there is some integrity with each comment here. Jason M may have just had a typo. I think the best option is to research all information found and come to personal conclusions based on cross referenced information. Happy researching !

Unless we figure out a way around Eienstien's realativity, were not going anywhere...

Even approaching the speed of light, the energy requirements increase exponetialy, requiring you to drag along a jupiter sized energy supply, until antimatter can be harnessed cheaply and efficiently I'm afraid we are going to be limited to our own solar system for quite some time

It's not a question of should we be searching for Earth-like planets, but how how much longer do we have left here on Earth itself. I mean, with the way we are destroying it, I don't believe life will be possible here within the next five hundred years, if that. Look how fast we have depleted the oil supply on Earth.

Imagine setting up communication and other services on other planets, like Mars, used as stepping stones to these earth like planets. Scientific buildings and equipment on these stepping stones would speed up communication and eventually travel, I think.

GJ 667 is 22 light years away, so as Walter says 129,045,312,000,000 miles.

Fastest manned rocket at the current time is 25,000 mph

To get to the star that is 22 light years away would take;

5,166,055,066 Hours or

215,252,294 Days or

588,925 Years

Assuming an average lifetime of 70, this would mean;

8,413 lifetimes

Incidentally, Mars is approximately 0.5 years away (depending on orbital positions at any specific time) so compared to the 588,925 years it would take to get to GJ 667 it would not be much of a stepping stone I am afraid.

mmmm

I honestly wish that someone one figure out how to heighten technology for this very reason. think about it.. if NASA manages to build a space ship like that of what we have always figured would exist we might beable to reach theses sooner but, my thought is....what if the creatures on these planets are hostile towards us. what if it's still considered prehistoric there and there are giant beasts of which would destroy our little race.....hmmm I agree with the sending the probe first. at least then we will know what is there and if maybe it would be better to stay here or go. and maybe by the time the probe arrives we will be advanced enough to reach these planets in a much less time than originally thought. sorry if my thoughts and comments are scattered im more or less just typing my thinking process down . but all in all I want to learn more and keep an eye open for more articles on these planets. im extremely interested


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