'Giant leap in search for alien life . . .'

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Profile Michael Roberts
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Message 523290 - Posted: 25 Feb 2007, 18:30:58 UTC - in response to Message 522678.  

The big giveaway on the Earth is 20% oxygen - far, far away from static equilibrium or an currently-plausible inanimate planetological process.
It will be interesting to see how fast they can extend the measurements to smaller, cooler planets.
The further from their stars the planets orbit, the smaller the chances of finding transits, which this method relies on.


Doesn't this also indicate though that the planet may be too cool to support life as we know it? I mean a really huge sun could support warmer planets further out, but those closer in would be too Mercury like. Aren't we basically looking for 3 to 5 or maybe 6 planets out for Earth like planets?

We won't really know what to expect until we find it. I don't think anyone had predicted the possibility of any of the planets we have found so far in advance. The techniques need to be refined for 'our' sort of planet, for reasons including those you mention.

Exoclimatology is also advancing, with strong indications that there may be stable water-friendly climates in unexpected places.

We would also not find other exotic environments such as Europa might offer by this technique, but it is a tremendous step forward.

There is no way of predicting an alien ecology in any sort of detail, but at least some are likely to be generally carbon-oxygen-nitrogen-hydrogen based, because (a) we know that works quite well and (b) all those atoms are relatively common.
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Message 522678 - Posted: 24 Feb 2007, 14:17:56 UTC - in response to Message 522653.  

The big giveaway on the Earth is 20% oxygen - far, far away from static equilibrium or an currently-plausible inanimate planetological process.
It will be interesting to see how fast they can extend the measurements to smaller, cooler planets.
The further from their stars the planets orbit, the smaller the chances of finding transits, which this method relies on.


Doesn't this also indicate though that the planet may be too cool to support life as we know it? I mean a really huge sun could support warmer planets further out, but those closer in would be too Mercury like. Aren't we basically looking for 3 to 5 or maybe 6 planets out for Earth like planets?
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Profile Michael Roberts
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Message 522653 - Posted: 24 Feb 2007, 13:18:52 UTC

The big giveaway on the Earth is 20% oxygen - far, far away from static equilibrium or an currently-plausible inanimate planetological process.

It will be interesting to see how fast they can extend the measurements to smaller, cooler planets.

The further from their stars the planets orbit, the smaller the chances of finding transits, which this method relies on. Even with the current rather close-orbiting planets, there are only 14 out of 200 transits. The answer is partly to have an automated search of many stars for planetary transits - step up please the Corot mission which
should discover, in addition to a large number of giants (hot Jupiters), a few tens of rocky planets (exoEarths).
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Message 522652 - Posted: 24 Feb 2007, 13:18:40 UTC - in response to Message 522628.  

If the telescope sensitivity is sufficient, and the number of atmospheric gasses wide enough. Then a technological and industrialised culture can be identified by the pollution, and how this is made up.


Is that Chinese you're talking?


flaming balloons
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Profile John Clark
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Message 522628 - Posted: 24 Feb 2007, 12:12:33 UTC

If the telescope sensitivity is sufficient, and the number of atmospheric gasses wide enough. Then a technological and industrialised culture can be identified by the pollution, and how this is made up.
It's good to be back amongst friends and colleagues



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Message 522533 - Posted: 24 Feb 2007, 7:18:50 UTC
Last modified: 24 Feb 2007, 9:42:01 UTC

Chairman Mao said the same thing once...the jury's still out on this one.
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Message 522513 - Posted: 24 Feb 2007, 5:29:27 UTC


> would like to hear some Dialogue in the Cafe regarding this -


'Giant leap in search for alien life . . .'


Friday, February 23, 2007


Scientists are on the verge of discovering ET's fingerprints thanks to a breakthrough in space.

An orbiting telescope has collected enough light from alien worlds to identify individual ingredients

that make up their atmospheres.


Nasa has hailed it a "landmark achievement" and say it is a significant step towards detecting life

on rocky worlds in other star systems.


Nasa's Dr Jeremy Richardson said of the results, published in Nature: "The theorists' heads were

spinning when they saw the data. It is virtually impossible for water, in the form of vapour, to

be absent from the planet, so it must be hidden, probably by the dusty cloud layer."

© PAUL SUTHERLAND 2007 Skymania.com


more . . .

© PAUL SUTHERLAND 2007 Skymania.com
Copyright 2007 USA TODAY

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Message boards : Cafe SETI : 'Giant leap in search for alien life . . .'


 
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