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back to article NASA finds first Earth-sized planets outside the solar system

NASA's Kepler mission, tasked with the illustrious mission of finding an Earth 2.0 for humankind, has located the first Earth-sized planets orbiting a star outside our solar system. Artist's concept of Kepler 20e Artist's concept of Kepler 20e. Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech The two worlds, Kepler 20e and Kepler 20f, are too …

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Silver badge

So, basically ...

They are on the super-hot side of being Venus-like, and not Earth-like?

Next.

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Bronze badge

It doesn't matter that they are uninhabitable at all.

What matters is that we have detected a planet of a size similar to our own, instead of the much larger ones we've been seeing until now. This means that we could start to detect planets of the right size and composition in the goldilocks zone of other stars.

That's when the fun begins.

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"It doesn't matter that they are uninhabitable at all."

Uninhabitable to us...

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Devil

"That's when the fun begins."

You mean, chestbusters?

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"This means that we could start to detect planets of the right size and composition"

why does size matter?

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Headmaster

Why does size matter?

Size, or rather mass) determines the force of gravity on the surface, and hence the weight experienced by the inhabitants or visitors. We can walk on earth, leap about on the moon, but would sink into immobile lumps on the surface of a solid Jupiter.

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With those short years, I'd expect them to be tidally locked.

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Boffin

and ...

This is a problem how? Pack plenty of Factor 50, and no need to move the towels.

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Happy

@Titus.

Nice one! ;o)

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Anonymous Coward

Earth-sized planets?!?

Earth-sized planets?!?

To hell with that! We need ULTRA SUPER MEGA sized planets!

Something much bigger than Jupiter.

Has over population, limited rare earth elements and exhausting resources taught us nothing?

Plus, if we could ship all the religious nutters into opposite corners of earth 2.0, we might get some peace and quiet for a while.

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Unhappy

Problem is that...

...the likely gravitational pull on something bigger than Jupiter would make it impossible to even walk...

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Thumb Up

If only

Well at least until they overpupulate again and reach each other. But peace and quiet for a few hundred years.

Better yet if we could find a planet for each of them...

I digress.

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Boffin

Not if you evolved there. Even if you needed to move, who says intelligent life has to be mobile?

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Unhappy

RE: "Plus, if we could ship all the religious nutters into opposite corners...............

................ of earth 2.0 we might get some peace and quiet for a while."

It would be heavenly wouldn't it? However, they would make that extra effort to travel, regardless of how long it took, to bang on your door on Sunday morning. Just when your listening to your main man Lionel singing "Easy Sunday morning" you open the door to hear "we've come to give you a message from Glod (thank you Terry)" - they just don't get the message themselves do they?

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Trollface

Are Relgious Nutters better/worse than Drug dealers - YOU DECIDE!

I have here the answer to this definitive, life-changing debate.

Drug-Dealer: Do you wanna buy some drugs?

Me: No.

Drug-Dealer: OK (and leaves)

Religious Nutter: Do you want to hear about something wonderful?

Me: No.

Religious Nutter: I know you DO want to know, here it is... (and starts spouting endlessly)

So obviously, as soon as an Earth-2 is found, the first (and second and third...) wave will be made of...

Religious Nutters!

They'll be happy getting ready for people to come to them to hear the truth and we'll be happy with them gone. Win-win.

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To be followed by the telephone sanitisers and advertising account executives .......

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Alien

What??

"they are hot furnace-like planets completely inhospitable to any form of life."

Maybe within the conceptualisations of the mere human mind. But how do we know there isn't a race of super-being* who thrive on temperatures of this magnitude and are, as we speak, planning their despicable plan to move our own mother planet closer to Sol, so as to overthrow the human race and eat us all.

Keep watching the skies.....

*who I obviously welcome, and all that.

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FAIL

Obvious!!

I don't understandn the great clamour over this. It was entirely predictable. Once they had found gas giants, it made it pretty certain smaller, rocky planets existed, just that we couldn't detect them. Unless we are arrogant enough to believe Earth and the solar system in general is a one off, of course they were going to be out there. Given our understanding of how our planets formed, it was obvious they would be. I'm not sure how this helps us now though. Unless we can develop a means of getting there..........so what.

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Mushroom

Yes

Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego spring to mind.

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Anonymous Coward

shortage of bizarre animals

Trouble is its too far away to ruddy well matter. It would be cheaper just to make stuff up in

a sort of NASA fiction department.

Interesting how this sort of news pops up daily alongside stories of excessive wealth and hidious poverty.

Years ago they just ran a story about some excessivly furry cat or something.

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Alien

That's what you get when you employ Magratheans to build your star systems. You only have to look at the mess they made when they constructed Earth. And don't get me started on those floating turtle planets, they make a right mess of the hyperspace highways...

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Paris Hilton

Can someone tell me...

Could the boffins on this site identify what would happen if we puny earthlings fired 100+ nukes at locations on Mars and Venus within a 20 mile range of each other?

Because it's ok finding an earth like planet 100 light years away but when we can only travel at 25% (this number has been pulled out of my ass based on figures from the internets and are therefore in no way accurate) the speed of light, surely heeating up Mars / cooling down Venus seems the more logical immediate sollution to our overcrowding.

It's also worth noting I am in no way a science geek. If the outcome of my mental experiment is crumpled metal due to no oxygen to ignite the bomb then so be it. My geek is set to just about understanding Star Wars.

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Mushroom

@ Graham. I don't think you needed to tell us you are not a science geek

even conventional bombs don't need oxygen: they carry their own if they use oxygen, and nukes are well, nuclear i.e. not chemical, no oxygen involved.

But to answer your question (at my best guess as a lay science person, amateur boffin) I suspect that on Venus we would not even be able to see 100 nukes go off at the surface and on mars I guess it would be interesting to see what size crater it would make.

I'm fairly sure it would not make much, if any, difference to their orbits.

But the idea of making other planets in this solar system habitable is probably more realistic than transporting significant proportions of the population across interstellar distances.

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Mushroom

Nukes don't need oxygen to work

So you'll be alright on that front. As to the rest, 100 nukes landing at the same time, within 20 miles of each other will result in quite a nice light show, a really big (but not especially deep) hole in the ground and pretty much feck all else.

Even 1000 nukes all hitting the same spot would only realease the engery equivalent of a moderate sized meteor strike. That sort of thing has happened quite a lot to both planets in the past with very little to show for it.

IMO you're quite right in thinking it'd be easier to alter mars or venus to suit our needs than to travel to planets around other stars but the amount of energy required to make any tangible long term difference will make your head spin.

There are lots of other proposed methods apart from chucking nukes at planets. Look up Terraforming if you're interested in finding out more :o)

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Gold badge
Meh

Still looking for Goldilocks

Not too big, not too small...

But getting closer.

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Isn't it more important

To find Earth-mass planets, not necessarily Earth-sized?

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No.

Imagine a planet of earth mass with a high conentration of neutronium at the core. If it had atmosphere and oceans, that'd be a hoot.

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Boffin

Could we find Solar System's planets?

Using the techniques we are, could we see the Solar System planets if we viewed from afar, what orientation would we need to be at? And how far away?

Maybe the Earth is too small and too far from the Sun for the current methods to be effective,

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Silver badge

If you were in the plane of the ecliptic (<1% probability), you could detect Earth by watching it transit the sun (you'd need to be looking at the right 'moment', of course). Detecting the Doppler shift caused by the earth 'wobbling' the sun wouldn't be possible with current technology, and you still need to be somewhat in line (i.e. there's no Doppler shift if you're looking from directly above/below the ecliptic). Spotting Jupiter wouldn't be too difficult, though.

Basically (with a few exceptions such as planets orbiting pulsars), we can still only detect planets that are either gas giants or very close to their star.

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Boffin

Too sweet, to hot and just right ......

Would have been more amazing to find another Earth-like planet INSIDE the solar system - look out, it's behind you!!

Seriously, there's every chance of complex life coming into being on any number of planets throughout the universe. However, the chances of that occurring within communicable proximity and, with both parties having concurrently attained similar levels of technical skill to engage in said communication, have to be so, so small as to rule it out all together, don't they?

Although sometimes I can't help thinking that a visit from some advanced and cooperative alien species might be the only way to put us Humins straight on a few matters - such as good house keeping and the sustainable furtherance of our own species - only saying.

Funny how much more engrossing it is for us to look out at all the twinkly, shiny, shiny stars, rather than face the mess we make so often at our very feet!

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Facepalm

You can fantasize about the good

Me, I figure that fate being what it is, any prospective advanced species is equally likely to be total ecological swine.

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Devil

Oh dear they're just burnt out cores of gas giants nothing more nothing less.

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Boffin

One of the (generally unappreciated) findings from the Kepler data is that planets move extensively around a system and do not stay in their orbits all their lives.

SO it seems to be very common for Gas Giants (thank you, James Blish) to form a long way away a sun, and then migrate closer, shedding the gas as they go, and ending up as a rocky core close to the star.

Which is probably what the Earth is. A burnt out core of a gas giant. Nothing more, nothing less...

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Coat

I can see that.

I shed a lot of gas on the way in to work myself.

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Bronze badge

Two new class-J planets located on the map. Good job!

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