Two Alien Planets With 'Endless Oceans' --"Unlike anything in our Solar System"
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July 21, 2013

Two Alien Planets With 'Endless Oceans' --"Unlike anything in our Solar System"

 

 

         2492232-nebula-reflecting-on-the-ocean-of-an-alien-water-world

 

“These planets are unlike anything in our solar system. They have endless oceans,” said lead author Lisa Kaltenegger of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and the CfA. “There may be life there, but could it be technology-based like ours? Life on these worlds would be under water with no easy access to metals, to electricity, or fire for metallurgy. Nonetheless, these worlds will still be beautiful, blue planets circling an orange star — and maybe life’s inventiveness to get to a technology stage will surprise us.”

These two "Water World" planets orbit the star Kepler-62. This five-planet system has two worlds in the habitable zone — the distance from their star at which they receive enough light and warmth that liquid water could theoretically exist on their surfaces. Modeling by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) suggests that both planets are water worlds, their surfaces completely covered by a global ocean with no land in sight.

Kepler-62 is a type K star slightly smaller and cooler than our sun. The two water worlds, designated Kepler-62e and -62f, orbit the star every 122 and 267 days, respectively.

They were found by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which detects planets that transit, or cross the face of, their host star. Measuring a transit tells astronomers the size of the planet relative to its star.

Kepler-62e is 60 percent larger than Earth, while Kepler-62f is about 40 percent larger, making both of them “super-Earths.” They are too small for their masses to be measured, but astronomers expect them to be composed of rock and water, without a significant gaseous envelope.

As the warmer of the two worlds, Kepler-62e would have a bit more clouds than Earth, according to computer models. More distant Kepler-62f would need the greenhouse effect from plenty of carbon dioxide to warm it enough to host an ocean. Otherwise, it might become an ice-covered snowball.

“Kepler-62e probably has a very cloudy sky and is warm and humid all the way to the polar regions. Kepler-62f would be cooler, but still potentially life-friendly,” said Harvard astronomer and co-author Dimitar Sasselov.

“The good news is — the two would exhibit distinctly different colors and make our search for signatures of life easier on such planets in the near future,” he added.

The discovery raises the intriguing possibility that some star in our galaxy might be circled by two Earth-like worlds — planets with oceans and continents, where technologically advanced life could develop.

“Imagine looking through a telescope to see another world with life just a few million miles from your own. Or, having the capability to travel between them on a regular basis. I can’t think of a more powerful motivation to become a space-faring society,” said Sasselov.

Kaltenegger and Sasselov’s research has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

The Daily Galaxy via CfA

Image Credit: http://www.123rf.com/photo_2492232_nebula-reflecting-on-the-ocean-of-an-alien-water-world.html

Comments

Lets all hope that if conscious life exists it is not plagued with Jesus, Allah, or other human deadly inventions.

Why not send a robotic probe there? The UFO's we see here are probably from another planet with intelligent life. They saw our planet and sent probes.

Life takes many forms and can have many biochemistries. Plus there are many non-human life-forms on this planet that can potentially take our place if humans do themselves in. ‘Waterworlds’ hold no special challenges to imagine intelligent life as exampled by the octopus/squid on this planet.

Knize10: To be absolutely fair, Allah and Jesus are not human inventions. 100% of credible historians will tell you they indeed existed in their own times and more or less acted how we remember them.

actually we have a water world here, it`s Europa, even if it`s iced on the top, it`s completly ocean under (except a small mineral core deep under). Plus you can watch a new movie about this called "Europa Report (2013)" , realistic enough.

Chances are the highest life forms there are Octopuses which may be mere 10s of millions of years behind land animals in their development of consciousness.

I suspect that at least a third of all Earth sized worlds within habitable zones are water worlds (completely covered with water)with larger worlds trending towards more water cover and smaller worlds with less. Worlds that have land locked inland seas may be the trend for Earth-like worlds significantly smaller than Earth.

Perhaps we should worry about our own world and make sure we look after it before we wreck another lifeforms home.

I was thinking that the fire and metallurgy issue might be solved by underwater volcanoes or vents. Although I am not sure how life would easier approach them if the water is boiling. I guess, that would depend on the form of life. This in turn might allow them to create the tools to access minerals.

I'm sure if they are intelligent then they can't be as arrogant as the majority of mankind.

Mouse McCoy: Those credible historians you refer to...they're human, right?

uhm i think you mean Muhammed, not Allah, Mouse McCoy

I'm less interested in whether such species have technology, than intelligence. Of our three intelligent species, two are land-based (elephants and apes) and one is aquatic (cetaceans); although I must admit that cetaceans had land-based ancestors, I suspect their intelligence evolved in the oceans. When we go there, perhaps we should take a few dolphins with us?

Earth qualifies as a water world, you realize. As for the planets mentioned, why would there be no land, and how could you possibly model that? The article states that their masses can't yet be measured, so what are the model parameters? I would also point out that water vapor is far more potent a "greenhouse gas" than carbon dioxide, by a factor of roughly 1,000.The joys of unbridled speculation. :)

Mouse McCoy: There is not one single shred of evidence that Jesus existed. Maybe you should do some research before you spout off untruths. Look into Horace, Krishna and many others that came before Jesus and you will find where your Jesus story came from.

Remember the movie Water World staring Kevin Costner that people laughed at, saying that such a thing would not be possible? Now with the help of the space observatory Kepler we are actually finding that such worlds may actually exist. We can be so narrow minded in what we believe is possible. We have had only since the time of Galileo to actually observe the heavens with our own eyes (telescopes), and yet we have discovered so much in the last 500 years. Where will we be in the next 500 years; will we be observing the cosmos through an observatory on one of the moons of Pluto, and have probes searching for life on planets outside our solar system; can you imagine the possibilities?

David at 4:25pm: Try boning up on Tacticus, the Roman historian of that same period. Ole Mouse may be slow, but he is for sure ahead of you. Take your Marxist Revisionist / New Age b.s. to another site.

This five-planet system has two worlds in the habitable zone — the distance from their star at which they receive enough light and warmth that liquid water could theoretically exist on their surfaces.

OK, that does not state that water exists but 'could theoretically' exist. Let's not jump the gun and start assuming anything yet- other than that water could 'could theoretically' exist.

To Vonbock....yes, Jesus is mentioned by Tacitus, but it's a rather generalised statement of a story that had already been in circulation well before Tacitus was born. And the Annals were written in 116AD, just before Tacitus died. So, they are neither contemporary, nor do they count as empirical evidence since they were written well after the supposed fact and do not have any supporting evidence or argument to back the claim up. It's just the retelling of a commonly held story that was in circulation at the time. In short, no change to the position that David has taken.

Now, to get back on topic....these should be very interesting worlds to study. The fact that they show different colours through their spectral analysis is quite intriguing since they're both supposed to be waterworlds, which would mean differences in albedo, surface composition etc etc. It's a pity we don't have the means to explore these worlds directly.


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