Author Topic: First 'Alien Earth' May Be Found by 2014  (Read 685 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online Buster's Uncle

  • Celebrating AC2's 10th Year- Little Terraformer That Could
  • Ascend
  • *
  • Posts: 47104
  • €142
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Because there are times when people just need a cute puppy  Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur  Someone thinks a Winrar is You!  
  • AC2 is my instrument, my heart, as I play my song.
  • Planet tales writer Smilie Artist Custom Faction Modder AC2 Wiki contributor Downloads Contributor
    • View Profile
    • My Custom Factions
    • Awards
First 'Alien Earth' May Be Found by 2014
« on: April 04, 2012, 04:34:21 PM »
First 'Alien Earth' May Be Found by 2014
By Staff | – 3 hrs ago...

The first true "alien Earth" will likely be discovered in the next two years, a NASA scientist says.
Astronomers have found more than 750 alien planets to date, and NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has flagged 2,300 additional "candidates" awaiting confirmation by follow-up studies. This haul has not yet included an Earth-like exoplanet — one that's the size of our planet and orbits at the right distance from its star to support liquid water and, possibly, life as we know it.
But that could change soon, according to Shawn Domagal-Goldman, a researcher at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. who specializes in exoplanet biology.
"I believe Kepler will find a 'Goldilocks planet' within the next two years," Domagal-Goldman said in a statement. "We'll be able to point at a specific star in the night sky and say 'There it is — a planet that could support life!'" [Video: How to Find Earth's Alien Twin]
Studying a 'Goldilocks planet'
Some NASA officials appear to share Domagal-Goldman's optimism, for the agency is already looking into ways to study alien Earths once they're found.
It's difficult to investigate such worlds directly, since faraway Earth-size planets are small and faint, their dim light almost completely drowned out by the bright glare of their parent stars. But researchers are confident that an indirect approach, called transit spectroscopy, can reveal a lot about Goldilocks worlds.
This technique scrutinizes starlight that bounces off the atmosphere of an alien Earth on its way to our cosmic neighborhood. Such starlight carries a sort of fingerprint of the atmosphere, which astronomers can study to learn about the atmosphere's composition.
"The reflected light of an exoplanet tells its story," said Doug Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters.

New missions coming?
One new mission under consideration, called Finesse, uses the transit spectroscopy method. Finesse, which is short for "Fast INfrared Exoplanet Spectroscopy Survey Explorer," would measure the spectra of stars and their planets in two situations — once when the planet is in view, and again when it's hidden behind its star.
The mission would be able to separate the planet's dim light from the star's blazing glare, revealing the composition of the planet's atmosphere in the process, researchers said.
NASA is also considering an observatory named Tess (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite). Supported in part by Google, this mission is designed to find alien planets in our local galactic neighborhood. Tess would study hundreds of stars within 50 light-years of Earth, close enough to study in some detail.
"With better detectors and instruments designed to block the glare of the parent stars, these next-generation telescopes could not only find a Goldilocks planet, but also tell us what its atmosphere is made of, what sort of cloud cover graces its skies, and maybe even what the surface is like — whether oceans cover part of the globe, how much land there is, and so on," Hudgins said.
Domagal-Goldman expects big finds, and big surprises.
"We've found so many unexpected things about planets that now I expect to be amazed," he said. "When we can study a Goldilocks planet, I believe we'll discover something revolutionary about how life interacts with a planetary environment. Nature is so much more diverse than we anticipated."


* User

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Select language:

* Community poll

SMAC v.4 SMAX v.2 (or previous versions)
21 (7%)
XP Compatibility patch
9 (3%)
Gog version for Windows
84 (30%)
Scient (unofficial) patch
31 (11%)
Kyrub's latest patch
14 (5%)
Yitzi's latest patch
87 (31%)
AC for Mac
2 (0%)
AC for Linux
5 (1%)
Gog version for Mac
11 (3%)
No patch
15 (5%)
Total Members Voted: 279
AC2 Wiki Logo
-click pic for wik-

* Random quote

And I stood before him, and I sang unto her, and it appeared to listen. His very countenance rippled like the sea, and the sound of my own voice came back to me, distorted. For a moment I thought she was mocking me, or it was nonsapient and mimicking me. Then I understood: the sounds were not important.. it was how I affected his sounds and how she affected mine that transmitted the message.
~Prime Function Aki Zeta-5 'One Future'

* Select your theme