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back to article NASA: There are 17 BEEELLION Earth-sized worlds in Milky Way

Scientists scrubbing up data about starlight from NASA's Kepler telescope have used it to estimate that there are 17 billion other Earths in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Artist's impression of the the variety of planets being detected by NASA's Kepler spacecraft, Credit: C. Pulliam & D. Aguilar (CfA) Artist's impression of the …

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Meh

wake me up when

we detect prime number sequences from one of them...

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Joke

Re: wake me up when

But er're the only ones here aren't we? Aren't we?

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Facepalm

Unfortunately

their prime number generator has been going for so long it's gotten to primes we haven't discovered yet...

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Alien

Theory is OK

But until we actually get out there and start exploring other star systems to confirm the existence of these planets, most of this information is just guesswork; an expert guess perhaps, but still just a guess.

(whilst typing the above, I somehow mistyped "exploring" as "exploiting" - or perhaps it wasn't such a mistype after all?)

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Re: Theory is OK

You can invest a fraction of a cost into very-long-baseline interferometers that are able to resolve continents on those planets.

That would be rad.

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17 billion what??

What I understood from the article is that 'Earth-sized' is actually being used for 'Earth-like'.

However even taking very low probabilities that such a planet is not only in the 'liquid-water' zone but has a reasonable temperature (<40 C), has actual water on the surface, can support an atmosphere (or even HAS an atmosphere) etc etc, it's a good bet that there are a handful of these planets that are Earth-like enough for humans to live there some time in the (VERY) far future.

"until we actually get out there and start exploring other star systems "

Right now we can barely get into LEO and the fastest and furtest probes we have ever sent have just taken 60-odd years to reach the edge of our solar system. As I said, VERY far future

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"until we get out there and start exploring"

Seriously, why can't we just build a proper spaceship? Why are we mucking around with the useless ISS? The people who designed these things should have thought big from the get-go. I see we will shortly be sending men into space for a year long investigation into the effects of weightlessness, but why?!! When we build the spaceship it will have a friggin rotating bit (or at least it would have if I built it). Has nobody in NASA seen 2001 or read ANY science fiction? From the very first shuttle launch THIS is what we should have been building. It could have pod bays, an insane computer, the works!

If we put our minds to it we could build a spaceship now (or a powered habitat), like the bionic man, we have the technology! The only thing we can't do is propulsion, that IS a tricky one.

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Unhappy

Re: "until we get out there and start exploring"

The sad fact is that most science fiction neglects to take into account (heh) the existence of accountants. Once you factor them in, 2001: A Space Odyssey becomes a 2 1/2 hour spreadsheet presentation about whether HAL really needs all of those memory banks, and that by downsizing the escape pods (and associated room) the total project cost can be reduced by 0.3%.

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Stop

Re: 17 billion what??

@James Micallef, the Voyager probes were launched in late 1977, so 35 years, not 60!

There is work underway for higher powered ION engined probes that could achieve very high speeds.

Theoretically, 10% speed of light.

Although I agree that getting an extra-solar planet in a reasonable time frame is well beyond our current technical capabilities.

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Alien

Re: 17 billion what??

I would bet the odds of an earth-size(ish) planet within the habitable zone having other prerequisites for live are probably better than 1 in 17 billion, so it is still interesting news.

I thought nuclear explosion based propulsion was a passable solution, until we figure out how to bend spacetime to our will.

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Re: "until we get out there and start exploring"

"the existence of accountants"

They can get their own ship, let call it, I don't know, 'B Ark'?

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... except that planets with a orbit-time of less than 150 days are most probably too close to their star, and therefore too hot, to be anything earth-like. Planets with an orbit time of 200-500 days are much harder to detect.

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Depends on the star.

A late sequence orange dwarf star with a lower surface temperature than our sun might be a good match for a closer-orbit world.

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Anonymous Coward

"planets with a orbit-time of less than 150 days are most probably too close to their star, and therefore too hot, to be anything earth-like"

That holds true only if one makes a number of assumptions about the parent star and the system as a whole.

For example, Gliese 163c (a 'super Earth') has an orbital period of around 26 days, but may have a surface temperature of only about 60C. (Although throwing red dwarfs into the mix brings other problems to consider in this respect).

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Boffin

Given their orbital periods

They'd be better described as "Venus-like" or "Mercury-like", though Venus is still in the 200+ day orbit range, and Mercury is a bit small...

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Joke

Re: Depends on the star.

Possibly, but then we're left with the same problems again in a couple of ,illion years' time - must find somewhere else fast!

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Alien

Meanwhile...on 55 Cancri e

Alien 1: "Well, we've found tons of uninhabitable planets with liquid H20 that are way too cold and have feeble gravity, but no diamond cored planets. We might have to face the prospect of being alone in the Universe."

Alien 2: "Bugger."

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Re: Meanwhile...on 55 Cancri e

I for one welcome our alien diamond pickaxe wielding overlords.

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Windows

There are 17 BEEELLION Earth-like worlds in Milky Way!!!

So what!

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Re: There are 17 BEEELLION Earth-like worlds in Milky Way!!!

Not sure.

I hope you sanitized your telephone today.

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Headmaster

Re: There are 17 BEEELLION Earth-like worlds in Milky Way!!!

Nah, but bored beyond belief. So will have to route through the old philosophies on the matter.

a) Yes there are 'X' number of Earth like worlds out there.

b) Some of those worlds out there will have 'intelligent/technically aggressive' life like aspects to them.

c) Space is really big

d) Some of those life forms getting in contact with us, (or coming here), will probably be wanting to take our corn and bum rape us.

e) There are already people here on this planet who will want to take your corn and bum rape you.

f) So what!

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Happy

Re: There are 17 BEEELLION Earth-like worlds in Milky Way!!!

Joke ------------>

Your Head

Me, I'd be happy in the C Ark

:)

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Joke

Re: There are 17 BEEELLION Earth-like worlds in Milky Way!!!

"Why DO aliens always seem to pop up in CORN FIELDS?", Jonathan Archer, Captain, Starfleet...

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Re: There are 17 BEEELLION Earth-like worlds in Milky Way!!!

"Me, I'd be happy in the C Ark"

Until you're killed off by a plague spawned on unsanitized telephone handsets.

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Coat

Re: There are 17 BEEELLION Earth-like worlds in Milky Way!!!

"Why DO aliens always seem to pop up in CORN FIELDS?", Jonathan Archer, Captain, Starfleet..."

In case the aliens run short of anal probes.

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If we can find them

then we have to pray we're the most advanced civilization. Because if they're more advanced, find us first and travel to earth, we're screwed.

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Re: If we can find them

But, what if instead of Gorn, Talshyar, Naussicans, etc, they are a bunch of Organians? They might sport weed of a higher grade than San Fransideshow. Or, what if they rendered war to cleaner from bloody via use of Disintegration Chambers... Or, no matter their harvesting or tech superiority, suppose they have vastly greater wit, humor, and insult skills? Or, suppose they can supply a steady, sultry stream of age-legal Orion slave girls and boys?

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funny how all the planets are round isn't it. Almost like they were designed...

if richard dorkins was right planets should have evolved into more complex shapes by now

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Paris Hilton

Can't decide if that's a failed attempt at humour or a failed attempt at physics. Whatever...

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the only thing i fail at is being wrong (think about it)

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Anonymous Coward

I'm a little puzzled too. Is the mis-spelling of the name deliberate? i.e. 'Dork' as opposed to 'Dawk'?

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Anonymous Coward

"Is the mis-spelling of the name deliberate?"

Probably. But what do you expect from somebody whose pseudonym is the sound of a dog with a bone.

AC 'cos I'm in no hurry to have my own pseud criticised.

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I believe he failed at both.

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FAIL

What?

What?

If this is a troll, it's a very poor one indeed.

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Thumb Up

Regarding Mr. NomNomNom

"funny how all the planets are round isn't it. Almost like they were designed...

if richard dorkins was right planets should have evolved into more complex shapes by now"

Having read other Mr. NomNomNom's posts, I'd bet my money on the post being a joke, and even found it funny.

Out of pure curiosity, please upvote this post if you found the post funny, downvote if you didn't.

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Re: Regarding Mr. NomNomNom

Given that, to me, NomNomNom appeared to be taking the piss out of young-earth creationists, I would surmise that those who downvoted him/her:

1) Were born without sarcasm detection mechanisms; or

2) Possess a sense of humour incapable of comprehending much beyond knock-knock jokes; or

3) Are themselves young-earth creationists who don't appreciate people taking the piss...

I personally found NomNomNom's post sufficiently amusing to bring a smile to my face, although it's admittedly not exactly side-splitting material. Doesn't justify a downvote in my book though!

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Meh

Re: Regarding Mr. NomNomNom

It's funny how sarcasm doesn't always work on the internet. That said, good on him for making the effort.

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Childcatcher

Contact

Statistics, it would seem, points to our eventually encountering intelligent life somewhere out there. We therefor need to establish some criteria for who our eventual ambassadors will be. This is easiest accomplished through elimination. For example, if you have ever posted on this site, humanity would be better off keeping you away from our eventual alien overlords.

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Trollface

All 17 Billion of the too far away to make contact

Suddenly I don't feel so lonely!

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Are those US Billions?

or non-US Billions?

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And how many billion humans are going hungry today?

Just asking.

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Trollface

All of them.

If we didn't get hungry we wouldn't eat anything.

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Re: All of them.

I suspect you've never actually been hungry for any length of time, Fibbles. If you had been, you wouldn't joke about it.

Most of the Western world eats because society says "must eat on schedule", even if the person in question isn't actually in need of fuel. The results are obvious ... Alas.

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Coat

The results are obvious ... Alas.

What Fat people? what if its glandular

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Re: And how many billion humans are going hungry today?

"@jake - And how many billion humans are going hungry today?"

Science and the curiosity that comes with it is never a wasted pursuit! Devices, conducted research, and knowledge from NASA (and other large research agencies) have helped our civilisation in numerous ways!

If you are going to comment about how money could be used to help those below the poverty line or in the third world then perhaps you should start with celebrity blogs and tabloid news sites and not on stories about genuine scientific knowledge and discovery.

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Re: All of them.

"I suspect you've never actually been hungry for any length of time, Fibbles. If you had been, you wouldn't joke about it."

Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups. I've been broke before, living off a few cup-a-soup a week. I know what hunger is, your point is still stupid.

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earthlike? ...

nasa's pr department seems so focused on fulfilling american trekie sci-fi expectations and hence securing funding that it distorts it own findings beyond recognition, remember the mars fossils?

to call a rocky planet in a similar orbit of mercury earth-like is to call jack the ripper jesus like, yes compared to a deep sea squid they are similar but by reasonable understanding of the english language its ridiculous.

its an intentional and cynical attempt to distort and deceive, it only serves to devalue the very real and very important science they are actually doing and i wish they would stop.

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@earthlike? ...

Well, maybe the stars of these planets are somewhat cooler than the Sun, no?

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Alien

17 billion Earth-like planets!?!

So the chances are excellent of there being alternate Earth ruled by sexually curious Amazon women? Sign me up for the Space Exploration Corps now!

On the other hand, I have to say I feel a little rejected that there are 17 billion Earths out there, and nobody wants to talk to us.... So what, there's the Amazon women Earth, probably all those Star Trek "Still ruled by Roman Empire/Nazis/bad Chicago gangster stereotype Earths" and we are the "fat kid wearing glasses during football team choice" Earth? Boy, don't I feel insignificant!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 17 billion Earth-like planets!?!

"sexually curious Amazon women" - Death by snoo-snoo

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