* This exoplanet is now "Kepler-452b" (kepler_name),
* In the "Kepler Object of Interest" catalog, it's KOI "K07016.01" (kepoi_name),
* Its star is both K07016 and Kepler ID 8311864 (kepid),
* In the broader 2MASS sky survey, the star has the id "J19440088+4416392"
Sources (catalog search engines),
(edit): Here's a mirror of the Kepler catalog entries -- KIC for the star, KOI for the planet:
There are 259 stars within about 30 light years.
Communication could be conceivable with such distances...
Has there been any research on this? I have no actual insight, but I'd guess the plane of the galaxy would affect plane of stellar rotation and perhaps also planetary disk alignment.
Given this thickness, I imagine you'd need to look beyond the 200-light-year range to notice a significant influence of the plane of the galaxy on the distribution of stars (and planets).
Every eighteen year-old suburbanite has already been pretty well socialised by local interactions in the context of a global system of local interactions, performed massively in parallel.
 metaphors mixed and units of measure utterly messed-around with
Yes, I know, it's still from Earth, but I do think it's a weird way of looking at dinosaur fossils.
More other-side-of-the-galaxy dinosaurs:
- What did you see out there? What horrors and wonders hide on the other side of space? Tell me, what did you see?
For a star like ours with a single Earth-size planet at 1AU, the odds of observing a transit are 0.47%. There is a page devoted to this question which gives some idea of the variables involved: http://certificate.ulo.ucl.ac.uk/modules/year_one/NASA_Keple...
Assuming a constant density of earth like stars, a density of 200 earth likes in a 1500 light year sphere would mean one earth like in 250 light year sphere.
Assuming a disk instead, it would be about 100 light years.
Don't know how it relates to the local star neighbourhood...
Of course, sampling from this small amount of data is pretty prone to problems...
"Kepler has observed over 156,000 stars simultaneously and near continuously to search for planets that periodically pass in front of their host star (transit)"
From the article:
"The confirmation of Kepler-452b brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030." — and I have verified that this refers specifically to planets confirmed by Kepler, not just planets in total.
"four, including Kepler-296f, were less than 2 1/2 the size of Earth and were in habitable zones where surface temperatures are suitable for liquid water."
These figures give us an approximate sense of the number of planets that occult their host star, as a proportion of the number of stars surveyed.
TRIGGER WARNING: SKETCHY BACK-OF-THE-ENVELOPE MATH
259 stars within 30 light years
1030 / 156000 = 0.00660256410256 (fraction of Kepler-surveyed stars possessing Kepler-confirmed planets that transit)
4 / 1030 = 0.00388349514563 (fraction of significantly Earth-like Kepler-surveyed planets)
259 * 0.00660256410256 * 0.00388349514563 = 0.00664102564102 or 0.66% (chance of a transiting Earth-like within 30 light years)
And that's not even factoring in planets that do not transit their host star.
Assume the plane needs to be within 1 degree from the line joining the star and kepler. I would guess it probably less.
It would be a function of size of the planet, size of the star, radius of the orbit and distance of star from kepler.
That would give about 179 planes that we cannot see, which is two orders of magnitude, but the probability calculation won't be that simple.
Assuming you mean 1 degree in either direction, or 2/360 = 1/180, this is off by about a factor of pi/2 ~= 1.57. The correct answer is sin(pi/360) ~= pi/360 ~= 1/115. Still two orders of magnitude, but slightly better. The reason is that the degrees are not equally likely (small degrees, that you want, are more likely, and large degrees less likely).
Here's the calculation: Consider the unit vector normal to the equator of the orbit, using say the right-hand rule. This vector is uniformly distributed over the unit sphere (surface area 4pi). You want the vector to lie within +-1 degree of the rim of the sphere. Call the region of such vectors R; the probability of a good planet is P = area(R)/(4pi).
R is an annulus going around the equator and up/down by 1 degree. In area, this is close to a rectangle with width 2pi (circumference of sphere) and height 2pi/360 (i.e., 2 degrees), so P ~= (pi^2/90) / (4pi) = pi/360.
The area of R (an equatorial annulus) can be computed exactly using calculus---or looked up on Wikipedia : area(R) = 4pi - 2(2pi(1-sin(pi/360))) = 4pi sin(pi/360). Thus, P = sin(pi/360).
A naive calculation for Earth would be Theta ~= 2 * (Earth diameter) / (Mean distance to Sun), which is ~2*10^-4. Since most planets found by kepler were much larger than earth, it seems 10^-2 is a reasonable guesstimate.
What would be necessary for a more comprehensive survey?
In the second method, you just try to block as much light from the star as you can and go look for the reflected light of the planet. This is much, much more difficult and so far has only been done for very large, distant planets.
To do direct imaging you really need to look at systems near the Earth, maybe a few tens of ly away. Then you can separate the planet from the star by enough that you can hope to mask the light from the star and still be able to detect the planet.
To get some idea of the techniques required to do this, take a look here: http://astrobites.org/2013/06/09/lowest-mass-exoplanet-disco...
While there are some techniques that could facilitate that (such as enormous star shades coupled with space telescopes) they wouldn't enable the sort of shotgun survey approach that Kepler has been able to do, but it would enable us to survey and extensively study stars one at a time for planets.
Wouldn't that mean a minimum of 60 years to get a reply to any message?
The verb form is used thus: "The earth occults the moon during a lunar eclipse."
We probably will need IPv10 to connect all the dots in the sky!
But IP is not designed for high-latency networks, so this only really matters if FTL communication is invented.
There is hope. Now quick, someone post a cat pic and a relevant gif.
Edit: Not complaining about the downvotes, but guys, this is the internet, not work. Loosen up. Smile for once. It's good for you, and confuses people.
Assuming an acceleration of 10 m/s^2 (similar to Earth's gravity), it will takes roughly one year to accelerate to a speed close to the speed of light were relativistic effects occurs, and you will need one more year to decelerate.
Is there something uncivilized about the Arab conquest of Byzantine lands? Had the Kepler 452-b-ians been observing Earthians but a few hundred years prior, they'd have seen the Romans doing much the same to expand their own empire. And the Arabs did quite a good job to not only preserve the Roman intellectual and scientific state of the art, but to contribute their own advancements of those fields.
There's a quite a bit more human energy going into war and destruction right now than into "peacefully collaborating among mankind to discover and explore planets."
If they were observing us today, they'd still see plenty of war and destruction.
It just so happens that a fraction of the worlds population lives under "peaceful" conditions. That's not universally true.
Source: I'm both an Arab and a Muslim.
We don't call the Spanish conquest of the Americas a Christian one even though they were Christians who ultimately converted everybody to Christianity.
What irritates me greatly is when historians refer to the Muslim scientists of the Islamic Golden Age as "Arabs", when most of them were not Arabs at all. It's such a simpleminded and sweeping generalisation that clearly shows the thoroughness of the so-called orientalists.
I agree with you about the second point. I guess it's due to the fact that they wrote in Arabic and many of the people they actually belonged to no longer exist (for example al-Khwārizm was from a Persian family but born in what is today Uzbekistan - I actually visited his hometown :)
To me it's strange to ascribe such areas of study to the religion. What does Islam really have to do with optics besides Ibn Al-Haytham being a Muslim? No one ever ascribes enlightenment science as 'Christian science'.
Hence the 'weaker' nation feels deprived of its history when its proudest moments are appropriated away.
Err, the Byzantine empire was still going strong for 6 centuries after that (and still existed, but not in a good shape, for 8).
It never got overrun by "barbarian hordes", but it did have a run in with thieving "supposedely christian horders" on their way to the Crusades in the 12th century, and was finally overrun by the muslim Ottoman empire in the 14th century.
This means that merely achieving orbit would be approximately as difficult as launching a probe on a Hohmann transfer orbit to Mars is. (Except that such a launch vehicle would need nearly twice the thrust/weight, cutting down the mass ratio even further.) It is not unreasonable to think that a species on such a planet would have never seriously developed space travel.
To head off the common rebuttal of "maybe they wouldn't have any interest in it," with more advanced technology smaller and smaller groups of individuals would be capable of instituting such a project, to the point where any high school kid with a synthetic biology kit and some toy rocketry kits could colonize the entire universe (owing to relativistic effects). You'd have to assume their society underwent some kind of massive convergence of social norms away from any individuality such that no few members of their species ever had both the capability and desire.
The entire plan is mostly laid out by: http://www.tedxvienna.at/watch/why-aim-for-the-stars-when-th...
Progress is the exception, not the rule, so far in human history.
You're either cherry-picking your intervals or have a very weird definition of "progress".
If you don’t stick with Hydrogen Carbon Nitrogen Oxygen you’re going to have a much harder time finding what you need to grow on earth. For extra solar stuff even those might be hard to find.
If you do stick with HCNO it's hard to get a leg up on nature without simply making a few minor improvements which has limited value outside specific situations. There are also a lot of tradeoffs with binding energy etc.
If they took 100 years to get to the next star system 5-ly away and then 500 years to populate that system enough to start a new colonization, that's just ("just") 168,000 years to be here. Given a 2 billion year head start, that's easy.
Cathedral building in the middle-ages was a multi-generational 80+ year affair and some of the Pyramids took even longer IIRC. So societies were/are definitely capable of working on ~100 year missions :)
Maybe a generation ship needs to have some sort of 'cathedral-in-the-sky' religion connotation in order for us to commit to building it. Sounds like an interesting idea for a sci-fi plot!
But we've only been working on that for a few decades. 2 billion years is a lot longer. If there is a civilization there at all, it's extremely improbable that it hasn't figured out how to do exploration on a scale of thousands of light-years.
I suspect that's unlikely, even if there were advanced life there for 2 billion years.
Why do you think so? "Continuity" doesn't have to be having the same government or the same political structure, or even the same physical form (the article itself talks about uploads and nanomachines). It just means continuity of technological development. It doesn't have to mean steady progress either; our civilization hasn't had that, yet in ten millennia or so we have progressed from basic agriculture to space travel. For this planet, we're talking about two million millennia, or 200,000 times the time we've had. All the variables we've observed in our civilization's history become rounding error on that timescale.
Perhaps no civilization of any sort has ever developed there. Maybe conditions on the planet are inhospitable, perhaps evolution simply never went that way. I think people tend to assume that evolution naturally leads towards more intelligent creatures, but that's not true. Humans are a very very recent development on our planet, in geologic time scales, and our early existence was pretty improbable.
Perhaps civilizations have existed there, but never achieved technological advancement. There are still tribal civilizations on Earth that are using 50kya technology; there's no guarantee that a civilization must develop science and technology.
Perhaps it has had civilizations with similar technological advancements to our own, but they have been destroyed or set back by any of a number of things: extinction-level impact events (could easily happen to us), disease, warfare, or resource shortages. Maybe, for some reason, they never developed easy access to a high density fuel; imagine if humanity had tried to go directly from steam engines to nuclear or solar power because oil didn't exist or wasn't easy enough to find or its significance was never understood.
Perhaps they reached a level of technological advancement far, far superior to our own, but they never made an effort to explore the cosmos. The vast majority of people on Earth right now don't see any point to even exploring other worlds in our own solar system; that mindset could easily dominate for the rest of mankind's existence. Maybe we assume that there is some kind of shortcut around the speed of light and there isn't and, no matter advanced a civilization gets, there simply aren't enough volunteers for a 10,000-year journey to another tiny little planet that may or may not harbor life.
Perhaps all of these are wrong, but they simply visited Earth a million years ago and found it to be entirely uninteresting and haven't been back since. Maybe their civilization has even ceased to exist, and our civilizations will never ever cross paths because we missed eachother by a few minutes in geologic time.
I'm generally optimistic about the chances of advanced civilizations elsewhere in our galaxy, even relatively close by, and entirely pessimistic about our odds of ever being able to interact with those civilizations in any meaningful way.
Or that the distances and difficulty of transporting anything very large or complex between star systems turns out to be just too great of an engineering problem for any life form. The energy required to move a life-sustaining amount of mass between stars is mind-boggling huge and beyond our own technological capabilities for the foreseeable future ( we only anticipate interstellar life is a possibility by assuming our technological growth curve will continue unimpeded and then guessing there's life out there further along tha us, which may not be accurate or possible).
Or that they are indeed spreading but doing it in a way undetectable to our technologies we're looking with and we just didn't come up lucky enough to be directly contacted by them in their spread (yet?).
Or maybe they developed a Matrix-like utopia, a self-maintaining and long lasting support system and stopped outward appearing progress?
Or going in another direction, perhaps we really are inside a simulation and $life_bearing_planet is set to 1.
The hypotheticals are nearly endless and not necessarily due to overtly negative outcomes.
I wouldn't have expected every possible situation to have occurred given the finite history of the universe.
But I really have no idea what I'm talking about, so my request is serious.
So we could be in ZOO experiment. Other civilizations want to see if we are capable of evolving and joining them so they make sure we are not disturbed by other life out there because if we discover intelligent life, we will freak out. We might start fighting for our survival and it could affect our evolution to higher species.
We could also be a part of some computer simulation (with enough power you can create rules with particles and simulate the universe). Maybe somebody is trying to answer this question: If you create a big enough simulation, will be the simulation able to figure out it, it is being simulated?
Or maybe everything that we see is true but it is just impossible to overcome some physical limitations. We assume there are no limits and everything is possible and one day we will master it. But what if communicating and traveling through universe is nearly impossible? Maybe there are limits that we don't know about yet.
Maybe every civilization reaches point where they know the answer to everything and they don't see a reason to live anymore or they leave the universe and move somewhere else.
My point is that we assume something that will eventually turn out false and everyone will be surprised by the truth.
Imagine how much more wisdom (besides technological advancement) the average humans will posses in just 200 years (provided things evolve like they have been evolving during the last century minus the wars ).
What wisdom and knowledge will we have in 1000, 2000, 50000 years (again, provided we are still alive) ?
Maybe there is no need to physically travel through light years of space, maybe the 'truth' is much closer - right inside our own minds.
In just a couple of decades we'll be able to build simulations which simulate all our senses and are just as real as our 'current' Universe - enter there and take a pill which makes you 'forget' about this reality and you can basically live another life without knowing about your current one.
What if our current life is the result of such a 'game' which we entered and forgot about the 'outer' life. What if we're level 64 deep in such a simulation within simulation ? :)
So many possibilities, but hopefully we'll somehow figure them out ..
If you have facts to prove him wrong, feel free to reply and publish them.
The little boy in me so wants me to be wrong.
Our planet has life in all kinds of niches. Why would an Earth-like planet not be overwhelmingly likely to have life on it? (I am an engineer also...)
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Earth-like planets generally won't support life. I have no idea how many will. It just seems unlikely that the first one found happens to tick all the relevant boxes.
Having said that, the fact that they've found one so quickly, relatively speaking, seems like a good indicator that there are an awful lot of good candidates for life-supporting planets. The more there are, one would assume, the more chance that some will have everything in place.
But then again, we could just get lucky and hit it first time. Which would be stellar (sorry).
The composition of Earth's atmosphere was pretty similar to Venus and Mars, before photosynthesis changed it to the current composition.
There is good evidence that life apeared on earth more or less as soon as it cooled down, so there is just as much reason to think that this new place may have life as not.
However, by the same reasoning it seems to me that the life may be bacteria like!
[The Fermi paradox: We're pretty much screwed...](http://imgur.com/gallery/Wtog9)
It's like, nobody has considered that advanced life might not even feel a need to live on planets at all. It's expensive to get resources from, and there's a near limitless supply of easy to get smaller debris.
Additionally, the difference a 2 billion year head start could make is hard to imagine. One thing that's not hard to imagine is that they don't live in meat bodies for most of that time. They could easily be machines or virtual, and then would look and act nothing like anything we're looking for.
Any space habitat of any plausible size will be completely undetectable, or at least indistinguishable from a planet. And I would think they'd be much smaller than that.
And structured radio? Lots of possible reasons not to see it. One, possibly not using radio. Two, encryption. Communication will likely look like noise. But even so, the distances involved means long range transmissions will need to be very directed and narrow beam. And even then, it's only a few light years before the signal is undetectable. I would suspect any really long distance communication would be bounced through relays. Also, why? You have to wait years for messages to go around. All of this means no, we're not likely to easily find stray radio signals.
And this is without getting into Dyson spheres and other efficient but detectable technology.
Yes, of course. And the heat of a star will make that heat completely invisible in comparison.
The "spectra" that heat would be vented at is infrared, which is infrared no matter the source.
Say you had some gargantuan fusion power harnessing space station in deep space. lots of assumptions here about alien cultures, but this is likely the easiest to detect. They will do whatever they do with their energy, and then vent the waste heat. That heat will be infrared. What does a dim infrared source look like (if even visible at all)? It looks like a brown dwarf. But this is assuming a lot. It assumes some alien would even build brown dwarf sized space stations. We don't know if or even why they would do that.
How do we know this? Because astronomers see these every single night and have developed sophisticated filters to remove them. But by checking how the source is moving it is quite easy to tell if source is local or not, and sure enough all these artificial sources come from satellites, the troposphere, or an unshielded microwave.
It is actually remarkably difficult and a challenging problem in itself to create a communication mechanism which looks like a natural source. It defies imagination to think that every single intelligent species out there has purposefully masked their existence in such a way, including giving up useful technology like ground control radar or mobile communications.
Just think about it. The signals are going to be so weak by the time the photons get here they will be indistinguishable from the CMB.
I'm sorry, but that's way off.
Our current telescopes can't even see the majority of the exoplanets in our galaxy; we are made aware of their existence by observing the behavior of their host star (wobbling/dimming). Unless something is extremely close, unfathomably enormous, or emitting/reflecting large amounts of electromagnetic radiation (light, radio, etc.) that isn't bent/filtered/reduced to noise, then we are completely unaware of it.
Maybe there are other channels of exploring spacetime than just the physical reality. Maybe that's where all the advanced civilizations reside.. Like the place we are in before we are born or after we die...
1 million years of mind evolution should not only bring advanced tech, but also advanced wisdom and understanding of who we are and what we are doing here. I doubt that expansion to all possible planets is the ultimate goal, the mystery must go much deeper than that ;).
Edit: I've said that self-interest isn't exclusive to Earth, without providing evidence and I don't have any; I should have said that self-interest isn't exclusive to humans, the simplest forms of life (bacteria, as an example) make war also.
Any of the hypotheses we discuss in this thread (whether they are over-confidently stated as facts or marked as speculative) are inevitably deficient due to data derived from a sample size of one.
But what I find most amusing is that when I was a kid "science" was saying "but we don't know if any other star even has a planet!" and to me as a kid it seemed preposterous that other stars wouldn't have planets. And now of course we know that pretty much ever star has at least some planets. The unusual case is no planets.
Similarly with life, it seems ridiculous to think that somehow this planet at this time was the only place anywhere that sentience emerged. So it really makes me wonder, why the heck aren't we already talking with them?
What is it that keeps intelligent life that originated on other planets from communicating with the intelligent life living on this planet? Why won't they talk to us?
1. Does it have active plate tectonics?
2. Does it have a working deep carbon cycle?
3. Has its atmosphere hung on to its hydrogen (that is, has it managed not to lose it all to high-altitude UV splitting and solar wind)?
If the answer to all three of those is "yes" then this suddenly gets a lot more interesting, whether or not we can see any free oxygen in the atmosphere. And while we won't be able to get answers to them using current technology, next-generation direct-observation planet seeking telescopes might be able to deliver within the 15-30 year time scale (if the astrophysicists I know are correct).
And if there are billions of them, then what are the odds that some of them would have plate tectonics, a deep carbon cycle and hydrogen?
Seem pretty high to me.
(Note that neither Mars nor Venus have active plate tectonics. The surface of Venus melts every couple of hundred million years due to trapped heat, while Mars has no magnetosphere to speak of ...)
It's becoming increasingly clear that solar systems are quite common. As our planet detection abilities increase to smaller and smaller planets I believe we'll find more and more of those too. Some of these (like this one) will be in the habitable zone of a star. Some of those assumedly will develop life. Some of those will develop sentient life.
I just picture a timeline like Earth's projected on this planet, which of course has no basis in fact. But imagine a civilization that's had 2 billion years of life longer than ours?
That's a really long time obviously. It's hard to imagine that such a civilization couldn't develop automated methods to populate the local space around them. This is one of the counterarguments to life being common in the universe of course. At 1% of the speed of light you could populate the galaxy with autonomous robots in a "mere" 10 million years.
So our inability to detect anything like this gives weight to the argument that no such starfaring civilization exists or that they're less than ~10 milllion years old.
Was there civilization on this planet and it died out for some reason? We'll probably never know.
As these planets mount up (as I believe they will), it'll further strengthen the idea that we're basically doomed (ie the Great Filter) and further suggest we are a mere cosmic blink.
And slides here (currently on Figure 10) http://www.nasa.gov/keplerbriefing0723
EDIT booooo - audio stream has gone down
The size and extent of the habitable zone of Kepler-452
is nearly the same as that of the sun, but is slightly bigger because
Kepler-452 is somewhat older, bigger and brighter. The size of the orbit of
Kepler-452b is nearly the same as that of the Earth at 1.05 AU. Kepler-452b
orbits its star once every 385 days.
Looking at the images (aside from the artist interpretation), it looks like they're just guessing based on size and location?
Now maybe you can do that with Pluto using some far-off star for reference, not sure. Also, I'm not sure if in this specific example the exoplanet made a transit of its star, or if it was detected by other means (usually by measuring its gravitational affect on the star, i.e. its star "wobbles").
It has been done for Pluto, first in 1988, with an occultation of a background star.
This will help tie in past and future occultation observations to the New Horizons data.
Kepler is a mission that mostly works with photometric measurements of planet transits in front of their stars.
I guess with Kepler you're safe for the next couple of thousand years, unless we find something much closer.
In theory there should be thousands of such planets within 30 light years so who knows, maybe we will have to start thinking about that soon :)
While seconds since Jan 1, 1970 is a perfectly fine system, sadly unixtime has deviated from that simple definition, due to the introduction of leap-seconds.
No FTL travel, no working cryonics, no mind-upload tech. Just harsh reality.
How did we discover (and begin actually using) the Americas? Christopher Columbus was sent on a trip to retrieve resources from India. It was a financial trip, supposed to enrich the government, not an exploratory one.
That's kind of how it's always been. Societies have discovered new people, lands, and resources by accident while trying to expand their empires (generally).
Furthermore, as we continue to consume resources and grow our population, we should probably strive to expand our society to other locations before we overconsume and overpopulate to the point that it starts to cause problems.
>> Kepler-452b is 60 percent larger in diameter than Earth and is considered a super-Earth-size planet.
>> Kepler-452 is 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than our sun, has the same temperature, and is 20 percent brighter and has a diameter 10 percent larger.
I noticed the lack of "b" on that second one, but they seem to be talking about a single planet.
Earth is 12,742 km in diameter, so "b" must be 20,387 km in diameter.
Our Sun is 1,391,684 km in diameter, so Kepler-452 must be 1,530,852 km in diameter.
Since the star is 10% larger and 20% brighter, but the same temperature, does that mean it is burning fuel 20% faster, and will enter its later stages earlier?
Yep, you understand it correctly.
"The name of a newly discovered exoplanet is dependant on the name of the star which it orbits and also if any other exoplanets orbiting the same host star have been discovered. The first exoplanet discovered around a star is given its host star name with ‘b’ appended. The next exoplanet discovered in the same system gets the letter ‘c’ appended and so on. Planets in multiple planet systems are always labelled b, c, d… in the order of discovery."
It's not clear to me why they would begin with 'b' instead of 'a', but basing the order of names on the order of discovery makes intuitive sense. The largest planets would presumably be discovered first, even though they may be in the middle zone of their systems (such as in the Solar System).
EDIT: Kepler-26 is an example of the named order not matching the distance from the star. The planets in that system, in order of distance from their star, are: d, b, c, e
Telescopes that can do this are still a tiny bit away reality I think.
It might not be the most earth like exo-planet as Kepler-438b has an ESI score of 0.88.
But, consider that there are a few places in our own solar system that "could" support life, probably with more confidence than we have in this planet so far, and yet the question is still wide open. I wouldn't expect a firm answer for many decades to come.
"check out this planet, looks like a promising place once we run out of materials here."
Very cool that we can find it, but I don't think we'll be visiting this one any time soon...
Which is a bugger as I'm out that week.
So that means, a baby could reach the exoplanet, before it dies of old age, on a spaceship travelling 99% the speed of light, which can theoretically built right now.
How did you arrive at your calculation of 7 years?
On a serious note, I'm looking forward to the discovery of a smaller cousin. That seems to me to be more promising for life: Stuff in water oceans won't sink as readily, so will be able to absorb more sunlight. Avian species will find life easier going (predicated on a suitably dense atmosphere). Any advanced civilizations will have an easier time getting out of its gravity well, and so on.
EDIT: typing error
Are they like us? a civilization that loves going to war and colonize others? that is the most important thing we need to know.
Right ascension (α) 18h 46m 35.000s
Declination (δ) +41° 57′ 3.93″
Apparent magnitude (mV) 14.467
I guess it hit some metric in the ranking algo!
Photoshop? Sure. For popularization? I wouldn't say. Begging for money? Yeah, more buzz, more money. From whom?
2 days ago Yuri Milner, Russian oligarch and media magnat, announced 100M$ financement of mission to discover new life. Literally 1 person got all this money - Stephen Hawking.
Another 100M$, Yura? Davai, at least now you know where to fly!
Finding out that other advanced civilizations exist out there would bring such an amazing new meaning to life. If I could ask for one wish, it would be to find out if we're alone or not. Somehow knowing we're alone would be a large one to swallow, but the universe works in ways that it doesn't care about our feelings.
"We’re rare, we’re first, or we’re fucked."
Assuming there's no way to sidestep GR, the real problem is the human lifespan (and attention span.)
If our culture moved at 0.1% of the current rate and we lived a thousand times as long, a 1400 year round trip wouldn't be problematic.
It's possible to imagine low-energy lifeforms that move that slowly. But they wouldn't be looking for Earth-like planets to colonise - they'd be looking for much colder and more stable locations.
And we wouldn't be looking for the right spectroscopic signals to give them away, because we don't know what they are.
Also worth noting is that all deep space missions thus far have had to rely on nuclear power, usually using 238-Pu with a half life of less than 90 years. With such technology, a well-shielded, self-correcting computer system traveling at reasonable speeds and energies could not survive too long because it would simply run out of power. AFAIK, workarounds for this rely on exotic power sources and unproven physics--it's entirely possible that these don't pan out, and this provides our "Great Filter."
As far as onboard power sources go, fission seems perfectly cromulent. You just have to protect those radiators.
> Since the tether current is 1,333 amps, ne = 3 X 10‘‘ m-3 and the ship’s velocity is 900
km/sec, the effective electron-collector radius is approximately 3 13 km.
This appears to have a toroidal-field ramscoop as a prerequisite.
For thrustless turning, a 0.06 degree turn requires a tether 10^3 km long:
> To obtain a six-degree trajectory modification during a 1,400-year journey with
the tether current assumed, the tether length must be increased by a factor of lOOX to
equal l0^5 km. This would increase tether mass to 2.7 X lo5 kg.
And this is using a reference ship many scientists are skeptical about:
> ...it is assumed here that the primary propulsion for these ships is the ultra-thin, space manufactured
solar sail unfurled as close to the Sun as possible at the perihelion of a
parabolic or hyperbolic solar orbit. After acceleration to interstellar cruise velocity, it
is also assumed that sail and cables are wound around the habitat section to provide extra
cosmic ray shielding. The sail is unfurled again for deceleration at the destination star.... since the baseline sailcraft for this analysis is somewhat faster, either more advanced sail/cable materials are required or the pre-perihelion orbit is hyperbolic.
I'd definitely categorize that under "experimental power sources and unproven physics." Perhaps you are thinking of a different article?
There are about 10 stars we know about within 11-ly of earth. A serious attempt to reach one would involve doing slingshots around many bodies in the solar system, probably culminating with a dive to the Sun in order where the major rockets would be fired. (The Oberth effect says you get the most ∆v boost at the point closest to the orbiting body. You cannot logically use the Sun as a passive slingshot because you are trying to leave the solar system.) Getting the speed to 1% of c this way looks entirely reasonable, which gives about a century of travel time.
It would be very expensive, but in a few more centuries society will be a lot richer. This is also something that would only occur after significant colonization within the solar system, and mapping of distant star systems to find good candidate systems.
What if we (and every other intelligent life) just level off when we start reaching the limits of physics and the available resources within our own solar system?
Therefore inter-species conflicts are resolved by mass/energy available. Any civilization that doesn't expand to interstellar levels of power is subject to the whims of those that do. If you can expand, you must.
I find it helpful to remember that any Big Announcement like definite signs of life or advanced alien civilizations or asteroids hurtling toward Earth wouldn't be in such a small-scale announcement. You'd have the President appearing on TV or something.