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(io9)   Remember all those "Earth-like" planets we keep discovering? Yea, about that   (io9.com) divider line 13
    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 10:58:09 PM
2 votes:
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 10:49:37 PM
2 votes:

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 09:51:51 PM
2 votes:

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 11:40:31 PM
1 votes:

dennysgod: 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.


Except that's not what it means. They're using "Earth-like" to mean in the habitable zone, like you could live there. Only problem is, we know jack and/or shiat about what it's like save that it has AN atmosphere and falls in a certain temperature range.
2012-12-27 11:14:38 PM
1 votes:

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 11:11:19 PM
1 votes:
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 10:49:31 PM
1 votes:

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 10:38:43 PM
1 votes:
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 09:32:52 PM
1 votes:

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 09:29:20 PM
1 votes:
Well, we found one so far.  So we know it's possible.
2012-12-27 09:11:14 PM
1 votes:

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 08:34:20 PM
1 votes:
Class M is like Risa and Earth but Classes L and K are also habital by Earthlike beings.
2012-12-27 08:21:34 PM
1 votes:
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.
 
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