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Life among the stars
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, April 25, 2007

OK, this is cool:
For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for "life in the universe."

The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away. But the star it closely orbits, known as a "red dwarf," is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun.

There's still a lot that is unknown about the new planet, which could be deemed inhospitable to life once more is known about it. And it's worth noting that scientists' requirements for habitability count Mars in that category: a size relatively similar to Earth's with temperatures that would permit liquid water. However, this is the first outside our solar system that meets those standards.

"It's a significant step on the way to finding possible life in the universe," said University of Geneva astronomer Michel Mayor, one of 11 European scientists on the team that found the planet. "It's a nice discovery. We still have a lot of questions."
I don't think anyone doubts we are destined, at some time in our future, to inhabit other planets and worlds. But then I also can't imagine something the size of the universe having only one tiny spot as the only place which has some sort of life.

Anyway, for those of us who've dreamed of such adventures since they were little kids, what's a 120 trillion miles or so?

Time for a road trip.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Thumbs up to that. It was my ambition for a long time to be an exobiologist, though (as ever in life) I seem to have been sidetracked.

Written By: Mithras
We should be careful about any men on that planet. The could come to earth’s yellow sun and become super.
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
I wish they’d used some *useful* unit of distance such as light years. I don’t have a mental short-hand for many trillions of miles. It doesn’t help me put this discovery even remotely into context of how far away it is.
Written By: Synova
"The new planet’s star system is a mere 20.5 light years away, making Gliese 581 one of the 100 closest stars to Earth."

There we go. Much better. :-)
Written By: Synova
We should be careful about any men on that planet. The could come to earth’s yellow sun and become super.

I’m worried that the men will come here and take our women...Gliese 581 Needs Women. Though Amazon Women From Gliese 581 might not be so bad...
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I can’t believe none of you have said it yet...

Written By: Scott
URL: http://
I can’t believe none of you have said it yet...

Actually, I was thinking of getting the concession on the rest stops between here and there.

You know, maybe 45 flavors of ice cream, sell some macaroni and cheese, hamburgers & fries, trinkets for the kids.

Have an attached cheap hotel chain, possibly name em something like...Looker’s Landings. Lo-La’s for short...(the long haul intersteller truckers will probably change the Looker’s to Hooker’s once ’that’ line of business moves in....hmmmmm.....maybe I should just pre-empt that and plan on running it on a corporate basis and cut out the chinzty product distributors that will sour the reputation of an otherwise fine series of establishments...).

Refueling, rest-stops, clean rest-rooms....spaceship wash....yeah. Maybe one on each side of the intersellar freeway...

What’s between here and there anyway?
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"Last restrooms for 10 light years"
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
When I pulled old 307 out of Marsport
The weather station said storms all the way
They stuck me with a cargo of live chickens
A dozen drunken miners,
And five hung over Shriners
The brake jet lining’s overworn and pitted
The gasket on the cargo hatch was gone
I figured we could get as far as Phobos
But I didn’t think we’d get much further on.

And I’m looking for an asteroid named Rest Stop
Relief driver d*mn well better be waiting for me there
Cuz after fifteen hours of bussin’
Third class cargo and riders cussin’
I just might drive to blazes and not care.

Leslie Fish / Julia Ecklar, "Asteroid Named Rest Stop"
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
Other people see opportunities for glamour, adventure...

Me, I see an opportunity for some schlub to keep the sh*tters clean and smelling fresh, the mirrors free from smears and fingerprints and the floors unencumbered by the detritus of interstellar travel.

Bear in mind, while reading the mythical epic Lord of the Rings years ago, I wondered which glamorous elves were in charge of cleaning Elrond’s crapper and mucking out the stable where Shadowfax stayed when Gandalf was in town.

So here’s to the ’little guys’ that run the bars, cook the food, pump the rocket fuel and clean the joint up after the adventurers have gone home for the night, eventually, they’ll be out there too.

"it makes it all so ordinary, just like you and me...
To know your greatest heroes, they had to sh*t and pee".

Donvoan - The Intergalactic Laxative.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I love the logical leeps that people make about this.
"Well, it’s the right temperature, so I bet it has liquid water. And since it has liquid water, I bet it has life." Maybe we should stop wasting our time and money looking for crap like this and use it to research a way to get there.

Also, I’ve been wondering why all life must be based on water. It seems to me that if it comes from a different planet, it might not need the same things as we do. It seems arrogant to assume our way is the only way. If there is a reason that our way must be the only way, please, enlighten me.
Written By: Mundian
URL: http://

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