It was really big news back in October when astronomers discovered an Earth-sized planet whipping around Alpha Centauri B, a star in the Alpha Centauri system, the closest star system to Earth. Now, it turns out the nearest single sun-like star to us is likely also harboring planets--five of them--and one looks to be orbiting in the so-called "goldilocks zone."
The star is known as Tau Ceti, which resides just 12 light-years away. That's further than Alpha Centauri (at just four light-years) but the Tau Ceti finding is significant. The Alpha Centauri exoplanet orbits its star at too close a distance to harbor surface water--it's simply too hot. The potential planet orbiting Tau Ceti, though its precise composition is unknown, looks to be a rocky planet like Earth. And it's orbital distance is such that liquid water could exist on the planet's surface.
Its minimum mass is just 4.3 times that of Earth, making it the smallest exoplanet to be discovered in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. And it's worth noting here that the this planet is not yet confirmed--while it appears to exist in data collected from three different instruments, further study is needed before astronomers can declare it a known exoplanet. But if confirmed, the Tau Ceti planets would be a prime candidates for further study--and perhaps for eventual exploration.
I hate getting information from idiots. Use your checkware moron writer and illiterate editor. I don't want to read crap that looks like children scribbled it down.
"That’s further than Alpha Centauri"
You mean "farther" as it's related to distance not increase. Should probably correct that before print.
Sweet though hope we can live there some day :)
Little harsh don't we think? The article is brief and to the point, and as Paradigm pointed out, has about one grammatical error.
I am mostly interested in around the Orion belt. I do not believe the ancient pyramids built with the same star shape indication, just because it was pretty and some Pharaoh liked it.
We are given a direct sign post to the stars. Perhaps we should look at and listen that direction too, hmmm?
Does anyone know what the definition of a habitable planet is?
Surface water is nice, but 4.3 times earths gravity seems a little much.
I find it interesting how so many exoplanets are not in the goldilocks zone...
Goldilocks zone aside though, doesn't this sound like something straight out of Star Trek?
If you hate getting information from idiots, then why do you? It sounds like you're used to it...just don't ruin it for others.
More detailed articles on other sites indicate that is it unlikely that this plans is a rocky terrestrial type planet which is one of the requirements for it being "Earth Like". Once again we see the media jumping on any excuse to publish a "Earth like planet discovered" headline for a quick bump in market share. PopSci really needs to have better supervision of their interns in order to avoid this kind of sloppiness.
@superscout 4.3 earth mass does not equal 4.3x earth gavity. Gravity is proportional to m/r^2. If 2 is 2x r(earth) then surface gravity would be about the same. However it is very unlikely a terrestrial of that mass would have 2x earth's radius. Volume of a sphere is proportional to the radius cubed. If the density of this planet is similar to Earth's its radius would be the cube root of 4.3 (1.63) x r(earth). Therefore;
4.3 m(earth) / ((1.63^2) r(earth) = 1.62 g(earth)
You and I would not want to live on a planet that has 1.6 earth gravity, but some form of life could live there. Just do not expect that life to be launching rockets in to orbit.
Do you know what I really dislike? . . .
People who just love to point out grammatical errors to other people. Mistakenly, people sometimes feel they are superior in some way for pointing out a grammatical or spelling error that, most of the time, does not diminishes in any way the bottom line, which is "did the author get his/her point across?"
Next time you feel the need to point out someone else's spelling or grammatical error, ask yourself this questions . . . . Did you understand the point the author was trying to make? Is it that important to make a grammatical error a bigger deal than the overall idea or concept of the article?
Just think about this . . . imagine if every time a journalist that interviews a foreign diplomat they would stopped them for every grammar error they would make, point that out along the way. It's not only useless, but it distracts from what is trying to be accomplished.
Intelligence is not about pointing out every little mistake people make but about understanding the ideas behind what is said. Intelligent people just skip through those pesky details . . .
Therefore, unless you are correcting a dissertation or some type of university paper, the need to make grammar errors the most important thing from an overall idea is just a distraction. It's best to take in the main idea or the point that is being made . . . that's what's important.
Nice input! So would 1.62 G be something humans could endure? I know some trained fighter pilots can survive G forces up to 11 or something like that, but only for a limited time.
There are ongoing micro gravity experiments all the time on the ISS but have there been any experiments with people living inside of a centrifuge for weeks?
-I dont want to live on this planet anymore
I imagine you could adjust to it, but breathing and circulation would be very difficult on your heart and lungs. Remaining verticle would but tremendous pressure on your leg veins to get the blood up the the heart.
So, you would likely pass out, fall twice as hard, then try to recover while breathing is like having someone laying flat on top of you.
I'd imagine any human living there would go through life in similar fashion to those tallest among us here. An 8 ft tall man doesn't have a long life expectancy. Even when fit, it's doubtful that a person 8 ft tall could jump half as high as someone of typical size. While often very strong, they are much more limited in the use of that strength, meaning closer to the body center. The nervous system would suffer damage right along with joints and tendons. They'd probably be very sore people for a couple generations anyway. Things like skin tears, that we normally associate with the elderly, would be commonplace any time after maturity.
Image your 150lb, and have to carry a 90 backpack with you all day and night. You could live that way, but why would you want to? In my none professional opinion for humans to live on any planet with a surface gravity outside of 1.2 to 0.7g will require serious genetic modification. It would be much easier to blow up the planet and build two or three planets with the right gravity.
A fighter pilot with a special flight suit can endure 11g's for a few seconds before passing out
Many of our E.T. friends who live beyond public knowledge live INSIDE planets, not just on the surface. Take Earth, for example...
If there were to be colonist.
After say 8 years in space, would need
massive physical training.
From zero to 1.6 gravity's it would be tuff.
But not unbearable.
In time generations of colonist will inherent
enhanced frame and muscle build.
A natural attribute of adaption.
The harder you work the bigger you get.
Your Great..great...great grand kids will be saying.
You don't mess with a colonist.
Scientists agree that Pion antimatter powered spacecraft may approach the speed of light.
The late Dr. Robert Carroll, a mathematical physicist who rejected relativity, claimed a Pion powered spacecraft might approach 20 million times the speed of light. See pages 34-37 at CHEAP GREEN on www.aesopinstitute.org
Pion fusion is under development in Australia and also by a Japanese - British Joint Venture.
If successful, spacecraft will surely be powered by Pion drives.
A test craft that might prove Dr. Carroll correct, should it accelerate well beyond the speed of light, would open human exploration of Goldilocks planets.
This article doesn't take Kepler 22b into account. Anyone notice that?