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(io9)   Remember all those "Earth-like" planets we keep discovering? Yea, about that   (io9.com) divider line 121
    More: Followup, planets, main sequence star, circular orbit, semantics, planetary habitability, astronomers, greenhouse effect, cloud cover  
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10930 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Dec 2012 at 10:14 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-27 08:21:34 PM
Okay, I have a background in astronomy, so my sense of what the common perception of things is is skewed, but did people actually think that "potentially habitable planet" mean a place you would visit on vacation? All of the accounts I've read have made a point of saying that they are 2-5 times the mass of Earth, and while we have no idea what kind of atmosphere it would have, would very likely not be compatible with us, because we evolved very specifically for our atmosphere.
 
2012-12-27 08:32:50 PM

nmrsnr: Okay, I have a background in astronomy, so my sense of what the common perception of things is is skewed, but did people actually think that "potentially habitable planet" mean a place you would visit on vacation? All of the accounts I've read have made a point of saying that they are 2-5 times the mass of Earth, and while we have no idea what kind of atmosphere it would have, would very likely not be compatible with us, because we evolved very specifically for our atmosphere.


Darn. And I was just gonna make a snarky comment about scientific process and pop astronomy, and you have to go throwing facts and shiat around. :P
 
2012-12-27 08:34:20 PM
Class M is like Risa and Earth but Classes L and K are also habital by Earthlike beings.
 
2012-12-27 08:37:55 PM
4.bp.blogspot.com

NO WAY!
 
2012-12-27 09:11:14 PM

nmrsnr: Okay, I have a background in astronomy, so my sense of what the common perception of things is is skewed, but did people actually think that "potentially habitable planet" mean a place you would visit on vacation? All of the accounts I've read have made a point of saying that they are 2-5 times the mass of Earth, and while we have no idea what kind of atmosphere it would have, would very likely not be compatible with us, because we evolved very specifically for our atmosphere.


I don't have any real background in astronomy, but I, too, always read "Earth-like" to mean nothing more than "having roughly the barest characteristics to maybe support some kind of atmosphere and liquid water," not that a given exo-planet is literally Earth-like and presently habitable by humans.  I blame the science-news cycle.

www.marketingexperiments.com
 
2012-12-27 09:19:34 PM
I have no background in astronomy (except for occasionally reading the bad astronomy blog), and i assumed they mean rocky planet, not a gas giant or liquid methane planet. Either way it's still cool that they can find these things, given the vast emptiness of space.

/dnrtfa
 
2012-12-27 09:21:17 PM
You mean science journalism is pandering bullshiat? Ya don't say.
 
2012-12-27 09:29:20 PM
Well, we found one so far.  So we know it's possible.
 
2012-12-27 09:32:52 PM

doglover: You mean science journalism is pandering bullshiat? Ya don't say.


That's the thing, it's not (always). The stuff I've read about exoplanets has always been pretty good, "we've found such and such a planet with a mass X times that of Earth in the host star's 'habitable zone,' meaning there could be liquid water on its surface." And that's about it, if that gives the impression of a balmy ocean resort planet I don't really see how (but then again, I'm not the salt of the earth, the common clay... etc.). So the question now is: is this really a misperception that people have, or is it a mistake the journalist made up so that he can sound smart by correcting it?
 
2012-12-27 09:32:59 PM
300B galaxies and this is the only planet that supports life. what more proof of god do you need?
 
2012-12-27 09:51:51 PM

nmrsnr: So the question now is: is this really a misperception that people have, or is it a mistake the journalist made up so that he can sound smart by correcting it?


It's a misconception science journalists have that they're the only ones who can report on science. Really they're basically the last people who should be doing that.

Scientists and engineers are inarticulate, but accurate. They mince words. Once you figure out what they're saying, it's dull as hell but precise. "We have found X planets in the 'potentially habitable zone' across Y systems using the OO technique this year." Not exactly thrilling stuff, but it's the truth.

Take science journalists, people who think they know more than the readership, and they try to Romero it up. Earth-like planets (picture of a jungle) God Particle (atom superimposed on a cross) Weapons Grade Plutonium (used frequently in peaceful space probes) They just gunk it all up and try to make it more exciting, which never works. Remember all the people who tried to make things more exciting than they were when you were a kid? Remember how awful that was for you when they failed? That's what articles that use terms like "Earth-like" for things we've only detected a mass and temperature range and atmosphere for are like. They're your new parents trying to get you to eat your stewed vegetables by making airplane sounds when clearly the spoon is not an airplane.
 
2012-12-27 09:57:49 PM
Author of TFA:

pendletonpanther.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-12-27 10:08:37 PM
You're saying that it DOESN'T rain donuts there?
 
2012-12-27 10:13:51 PM

SpikeStrip: 300B galaxies and this is the only planet that supports life. what more proof of god do you need?


Oh no you didn't
 
2012-12-27 10:25:02 PM
Well yeah, no shiat, Venus and Mars are "Earth like" planets, but you wouldnt want to live there.
 
2012-12-27 10:26:12 PM
The author and the astronomer need to remove the pickle cemented in their asses.

Many gas giants also exist in the habitable zone of many main sequence stars. That They are in the zone is what is important and it is what was not expected.

Most of the lay people I speak to have no expectation of what the pickle butted assclown author claim.

The average joe is not the moron here, it is the clowns that hold them in such low regard.
 
2012-12-27 10:37:57 PM
Yeah I've heard of exactly zero people who think we've found other habitable planets. Anyone who cares enough to follow the news on this subject understands that we aren't there yet. The exciting thing at this point is simply being able to find planets that are small enough.
 
2012-12-27 10:38:43 PM
THANK YOU!!!
May I suggest that a less-hopeful but identical term would be "Venus-like"
or we could talk about discovering "Super-Venuses" (Veni???)
 
2012-12-27 10:42:04 PM

Cyno01: Well yeah, no shiat, Venus and Mars are "Earth like" planets, but you wouldnt want to live there.


Speak for yourself.

I've read the literature, and Barsoom sounds like one helluva place to live. You get to be a super-hero and fertilize as many eggs as you want.

Admittedly, the getting killed at the end of every story seems to kind of suck, but I can deal with it.
 
2012-12-27 10:45:52 PM
Damn, I had my 3D printer all packed up, some energy bars and bottled water. I was sure that private space was going to get me, nay, the entire species, off this rock? There aren't hundreds of other mud balls out there within easy reach, like so many Walmarts packed with stuff?

You mean low earth orbit is *it* for the richest people on Earth, and the rest of us will just have to somehow survive on this rock?

Oh no!
 
2012-12-27 10:46:32 PM
Why don't we just send some people to some of these planets and they can report back whether they are habitable. I mean, if we can see them and they are just planets, as opposed to stars, they can't be too far away. Planets don't even emit light. And as for their suns, we could find out when it is winter in those areas and maybe get a closer look at the stars when it isn't so hot. We can learn a lot from this.
 
2012-12-27 10:47:00 PM
Earth wasn't habitable either.
 
2012-12-27 10:49:26 PM

Cyno01: Well yeah, no shiat, Venus and Mars are "Earth like" planets, but you wouldnt want to live there.


Mars certainly ain't no kind of place to raise your kids.
 
2012-12-27 10:49:31 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Damn, I had my 3D printer all packed up, some energy bars and bottled water. I was sure that private space was going to get me, nay, the entire species, off this rock? There aren't hundreds of other mud balls out there within easy reach, like so many Walmarts packed with stuff?

You mean low earth orbit is *it* for the richest people on Earth, and the rest of us will just have to somehow survive on this rock?

Oh no!


Damn it... I was so excited that we might have had a conversation without your lame-ass bevets-bot, tired, repetitive, trite, predictable and utterly useless postings showing up.

Maybe next time.
 
2012-12-27 10:49:37 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Damn, I had my 3D printer all packed up, some energy bars and bottled water. I was sure that private space was going to get me, nay, the entire species, off this rock? There aren't hundreds of other mud balls out there within easy reach, like so many Walmarts packed with stuff?

You mean low earth orbit is *it* for the richest people on Earth, and the rest of us will just have to somehow survive on this rock?

Oh no!


No no you were mistaken, see we were all going to get magic life extension tech and live in a happy immortal utopia right here on this rock and never run out of resources or room to expand.
 
2012-12-27 10:51:16 PM

SpikeStrip: 300B galaxies and this is the only planet that supports life. what more proof of god do you need?


Seems like a huge waste of space if we are the only planet with life in all of the universe.
 
2012-12-27 10:52:28 PM

Mad_Radhu: Cyno01: Well yeah, no shiat, Venus and Mars are "Earth like" planets, but you wouldnt want to live there.

Mars certainly ain't no kind of place to raise your kids.


it's cold as hell
 
2012-12-27 10:53:28 PM
I've always assumed "earth-like" meant the planets were somewhat roundish... since the description of "earth-like" was invariably followed by things like "eight times Earth's mass, three times Earth's size with a surface temperature of 400º".

That exact information was included in each of the articles, so I don't know how anyone how actually read** them would be fooled.


**Basically, it just proves people don't read the articles
 
2012-12-27 10:53:41 PM

Cyno01: Well yeah, no shiat, Venus and Mars are "Earth like" planets, but you wouldnt want to live there.


OhioKnight: THANK YOU!!!
May I suggest that a less-hopeful but identical term would be "Venus-like"
or we could talk about discovering "Super-Venuses" (Veni???)


Venus isn't in the habitable zone.
 
2012-12-27 10:53:42 PM
Dingleberry Dickwad: Oh no, life extension is not possible. You see, we don't live longer than before, we aren't born in hospitals, we don't vaccinate our young or use antibiotics, or have indoor plumbing, sanitation, clean tap water and hygiene.

Living longer than before? Ridiculous! All that stuff is magic!

/Do you seriously not realize how inane you sound?
//germ theory, cancer cures, etc...
///Terry Fox would be alive today. But we don't live longer than before, because it's magic
////When's the last time you knew someone who died of polio, scarlet fever, whooping cough, measles... Nope, magic. Space is where it's at.
 
2012-12-27 10:54:29 PM
- near same gravity
- magnetic field to protect from solar particles and otherwise
- enough water to have similar weather cycle
- moon to generate tidal process
- temperature range similar to earth

and so on...

anything else, we die on "earth-like" planet...or at least die without serious tools/outfits to compensate.
 
2012-12-27 10:56:24 PM
img204.imageshack.us
 
2012-12-27 10:57:13 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Dingleberry Dickwad: Oh no, life extension is not possible. You see, we don't live longer than before, we aren't born in hospitals, we don't vaccinate our young or use antibiotics, or have indoor plumbing, sanitation, clean tap water and hygiene.

Living longer than before? Ridiculous! All that stuff is magic!

/Do you seriously not realize how inane you sound?
//germ theory, cancer cures, etc...
///Terry Fox would be alive today. But we don't live longer than before, because it's magic
////When's the last time you knew someone who died of polio, scarlet fever, whooping cough, measles... Nope, magic. Space is where it's at.


You're right, we don't live longer than before. Sure we've gotten to where people who would have died from disease or illness get to survive longer, but we still don't really live longer than the extremely few who got to old age back in the day would have. So no, no magic immortality tech for you. The only difference between then and now is that more people make it to old age and that's it.
 
2012-12-27 10:57:17 PM
Wait, is a Gawker website trying to pass itself off as real science?
 
2012-12-27 10:58:09 PM
Ok, here's the Ten Million Dollar Question:

Let's assume the following:

- an Earth like planet IS discovered
- it IS in the HABITABLE ZONE
- it HAS Liquid Water
- it HAS Human Breathable Atmosphere
- Surface gravity is +/- 10% of Earth
- it HAS rudimentary plant/animal life
- it is 15 Light Years Away

Question:

So What? This isn't Star Trek. You aren't just going to 'pop by' and check out the neighbors. You couldn't even get a science probe there in a human lifetime let alone any sort of expedition. So what would be the practical use of any such find?

/N = RfpneflfifcL
 
2012-12-27 10:59:58 PM

DigitalCoffee: So what would be the practical use of any such find?


Well aren't you just a negative nancy
 
2012-12-27 11:05:28 PM
every time i hear 'earth like' i think:

i grew up on earth. i wanna see something different.

/figure out a way to make it happen, science!
 
2012-12-27 11:08:42 PM
So, if they are "Earth-like" does that mean Class "M".  And does that mean Roddenberries?  Cause those are delicious.
 
2012-12-27 11:08:58 PM

DigitalCoffee: So what would be the practical use of any such find?


Once we've identified an inhabited planet with an intelligent civilization, we can beam them all of our infomercials. No reason we should suffer alone.
 
2012-12-27 11:11:19 PM
This is news to people who only read the subject line of astronomy news articles but not what was actually in the articles.
 
2012-12-27 11:14:30 PM

Dingleberry Dickwad: Quantum Apostrophe: Dingleberry Dickwad: Oh no, life extension is not possible. You see, we don't live longer than before, we aren't born in hospitals, we don't vaccinate our young or use antibiotics, or have indoor plumbing, sanitation, clean tap water and hygiene.

Living longer than before? Ridiculous! All that stuff is magic!

/Do you seriously not realize how inane you sound?
//germ theory, cancer cures, etc...
///Terry Fox would be alive today. But we don't live longer than before, because it's magic
////When's the last time you knew someone who died of polio, scarlet fever, whooping cough, measles... Nope, magic. Space is where it's at.

You're right, we don't live longer than before. Sure we've gotten to where people who would have died from disease or illness get to survive longer, but we still don't really live longer than the extremely few who got to old age back in the day would have. So no, no magic immortality tech for you. The only difference between then and now is that more people make it to old age and that's it.


Not to mention in many of those diseases were are staring to see a rise in cases as both anti-science naysayers go Jenny McCartney and some see increased resistance to current drug treatments. Hooray for drug resistant TB!
 
2012-12-27 11:14:38 PM

T-Boy: Why don't we just send some people to some of these planets and they can report back whether they are habitable


That's an excellent idea. Similar to sending chimps into space to test survivability. Start with Quantum Apostrophe, he's already packed.
 
2012-12-27 11:15:54 PM
Then there's a big difference between earthlike and H-congruous.

SpikeStrip: 300B galaxies and this is the only planet that supports life. what more proof of god do you need?


That's more an argument that we're a fluke. If this universe was designed for life there'd be all sorts of useful noise on the SETI antennas. I'd refer to you to a specific YouTube argument but why bother finding that.
 
2012-12-27 11:17:27 PM
So, is the obvious tag, lost in intergalactic space?
 
2012-12-27 11:17:49 PM

teto85: So, if they are "Earth-like" does that mean Class "M".  And does that mean Roddenberries?  Cause those are delicious.


Star Trek actually expanded the planet classifications to cover a pretty broad range.

/Mars would be Class K
 
2012-12-27 11:28:05 PM

DigitalCoffee: Ok, here's the Ten Million Dollar Question:

Let's assume the following:

- an Earth like planet IS discovered
- it IS in the HABITABLE ZONE
- it HAS Liquid Water
- it HAS Human Breathable Atmosphere
- Surface gravity is +/- 10% of Earth
- it HAS rudimentary plant/animal life
- it is 15 Light Years Away

Question:

So What? This isn't Star Trek. You aren't just going to 'pop by' and check out the neighbors. You couldn't even get a science probe there in a human lifetime let alone any sort of expedition. So what would be the practical use of any such find?

/N = RfpneflfifcL


You could send a science probe there in 150-500 years transit time with ~1970s technology. Sure it would be expensive as hell and definitely contravene local arms limitation treaties, but it's not as unreachable as you imagine.
 
2012-12-27 11:30:10 PM

Makh: Well, we found one so far.  So we know it's possible.


the whole thing?
 
2012-12-27 11:32:27 PM
We have two types of planets in our solar system, Jovian for gaseous planets and Terrestrial for rocky ones, or in layman's terms Jupiter-like and Earth-like. So it stands to reason that any rocky exo-planet would be called Earth-like since that what we call our rocky planets.

But in all honesty anybody who is actually paying attention to all these discoveries is intelligent enough to know that Earth-like doesn't mean "just-like" Earth, those who would be confused by the term are too busy wonder when the new season of Honey BooBoo is starting or doesn't believe in exo-planets because they're not in the Bible.
 
2012-12-27 11:36:12 PM

DigitalCoffee: So What?


So it seems like it's not important to you for us to know more about our Universe, and whether intelligent life exists in other places, for the sake of knowing and for the sake of furthering our understanding.

Noted.
 
2012-12-27 11:39:32 PM
the maximum speed of my buick century is only 102 mph so it would take at least 200 years to reach the nearest aliens so what the shiat do i care about outer space
 
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