back to article Earth-sized planet found at Alpha Centauri B

Astronomers have spotted an Earth-sized exoplanet in orbit around Alpha Centauri B. At just 4.37 light years away, the stars of the Centaurus constellation are Earth’s nearest neighbours. That makes the discovery of an Earth-sized exoplanet rather exciting. Sadly, the planet is even closer to its star than Mercury is to Sol, …

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  1. MajorTom
    Go

    If only we could...

    Within my lifetime I would love to see the results of an interstellar probe on NASA TV...

    1. MacroRodent Silver badge
      Go

      Orion

      The only known technology that might do it within your lifetime.

      Too bad the prospect of launching 1000's of small nukes (even if they would actually be set off only far from the Earth) will be nixed, just because the idea is too scary.

      1. Annihilator
        Happy

        Re: Orion

        Orion - the local galactic arm? The nebula? The constellation? The space craft? The nuclear propulsion project?

        You'd think with all the words we have available to us, we wouldn't have to be overlapping so massively in space-faring term :-)

      2. Vulch
        Alert

        Re: Orion

        Try Starwisp, just needs a 56GW microwave transmitter to get an 80 gram payload moving.

        (Do not look into Maser with remaing body)

      3. Orv Silver badge

        Re: Orion

        I don't find the "setting them off" part scary, but I am wary of the "putting thousands of pounds of plutonium on top of a rocket and boosting it through the atmosphere" part. If the rocket explodes in flight you've just made the world's largest dirty bomb.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If only we could...

      'What do you mean you've never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh for heaven sake mankind it's only four light years away you know! I'm sorry but if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs that's your own regard. Energise the demolition beams! God I don't know…apathetic bloody planet, I've no sympathy at all… '

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: If only we could...

        Every time I've been to Alpha Centauri I get bloody probed - never enough time to check out the local council before I'm waking up in a field covered in my own vomit and urine.

        Or at least that's what it tastes like...

        1. John 62

          Re: If only we could...

          <<Every time I've been to Alpha Centauri I get bloody probed - never enough time to check out the local council before I'm waking up in a field covered in my own vomit and urine.

          Or at least that's what it tastes like...>>

          You must be going to a different Alpha Centauri, every time I go, humanity has split into seven factions, I have to unite us through glorious warfare and I figure out how to use fungus to become an immortal consciousness. Then I realise it's time for breakfast, when I'd swear I'd only just looked at the clock a few minutes earlier and it said 9pm...

    3. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: If only we could...

      I'd be happy just to see one launched within my lifetime.

    4. CmdrX3
      Happy

      That sounds like fun..

      Are you saying you would like NASA TV to become the first channel to start showing alien porn?..... oh sorry, you mean the other kind of interstellar probe don't you. My bad!!! ;-)

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Flame

    Yeah but

    When will they offer package deals to this new HOT spot?

    And what is the duty free allowance?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Yeah but

      Just don't forget to pack your sun cream. Factor 1,000,000 should do it...

  3. tkioz
    Alien

    Pretty cool. Now we just need to start working on a way to get off this lump of rock.

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    A planet by any other name ....

    If you state that it's in orbit around Alpha Centauri B, then why do you need to call it an 'exoplanet'? It's a planet and it's in orbit around Alpha Centauri B.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A planet by any other name ....

      "why do you need to call it an 'exoplanet'?"

      Because everyone has left ?

    2. Steve the Cynic

      Re: A planet by any other name ....

      You call it an exoplanet because that's what it is, by definition. Exoplanets are planets in orbit round stars that aren't our very own Sol. And Alpha C isn't our Sol, so this newly-discovered exoplanet is, indeed, an exoplanet.

      Duh.

    3. Annihilator
      Coat

      Re: A planet by any other name ....

      "why do you need to call it an 'exoplanet'?"

      Maybe it used to be an Irish planet? Previously it was an O'Planet, now it's an ex-O'Planet...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A planet by any other name ....

        Maybe it's sentient and likes playing 3-in-a-line on a 3x3 grid on a piece of paper ..... ;)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not pining...

      It's passed on. This planet is no more. It has ceased to be.

      It's expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late planet.

      It's a stiff. In the restive night it rests in peace.

      It's pulled down the curtain and joined the choir invisble.

      It is an exo-planet.

      Apologies....

    5. NomNomNom

      Re: A planet by any other name ....

      or it's covered in gravy. oxoplanet

  5. twelvebore
    WTF?

    Embargo

    Did you just break the Nature embargo? Or was that someone else?

  6. Christoph Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Nearest neighbours

    "the stars of the Centaurus constellation are Earth’s nearest neighbours"

    The stars of the Alpha and Proxima Centauri system are Earth's nearest neighbours, the other stars in the Centauri constellation aren't. Beta Centauri for instance is a very bright star about 350 light years away.

  7. greensun

    150 million meters per hour is pretty good for a tank.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    4 yr mission

    Shame its gonna be more than 4yrs before NASA come up with a near LS drive to send a probe there.....

  9. ant 2

    lacks decent space-based planet-spotting kit?

    err, Kepler (2,321 planet candidates in three and a half years) is not a decent piece of kit?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    I think I read a conspiracy theory somewhere that the Mayans knew about this planet and Carl Sagan tried to play it down? I'm sure I didn't just make that up, can anyone else confirm if they heard such a thing?

    1. Sceptic Tank

      Sid Meyer

      At least we know that Sid Meyer knew about it.

  11. andy gibson

    According to Frontier Elite 2.....

    AC-B doesn't have any planets but Proxima Centauri has "Eden: World with weather water system and corrosive atmosphere". Nothing on the planet but Eden Station orbits.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: According to Frontier Elite 2.....

      If you want to be picky, Earth has a corrosive atmosphere (and corrosive oceans over 70% of the surface).

      Just not terribly corrosive.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: According to Frontier Elite 2.....

        "Just not terribly corrosive."

        Evidently you never owned a 70's era automobile.

      2. Another Old Goat
        Devil

        Re: According to Frontier Elite 2.....

        "Just not terribly corrosive."

        You evidently never owned a '70's vintage automobile.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: According to Frontier Elite 2.....

          @Another Old Goat: "You evidently never owned a '70's vintage automobile."

          Actually, I owned a 1973 Mercury Monterrey Custom 400, which died in 1997 not from rust, but from a botched engine rebuild by a local company (If you are in the Wichita area, DO NOT use United Engine Specialists!) which caused it to have no oil pressure and to seize up trying to get home from the Black Hills.

          But that was when cars were made from Real Steel, of Real Thickness, with Real Paint that really protected the car - 4200 pounds dry curb weight of Yank Tank.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But...

    What about silicon based life which happens to "like" temperatures approaching 600 Celsius?

    Not as stupid as it sounds, a reverse greenhouse effect caused by heavy metal clouds *just might* reflect enough light back into space to allow life to start.

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