Tuesday, June 20, 2017

NASA and the Galactic Catalog of Extrasolar Planets #Science


NASA's Kepler space telescope team have identified 219 new planet candidates, ten of which could prove to be humanity’s next great hopes of life among the stars.

The exoplanets, planets which occupy space outside of our solar system, are all near-Earth size and occupy the habitable zones of their star systems where liquid water, the precursor for life, would pool on the surface rather than freeze.

The identified planets occupy the 'goldilocks' zone in orbit around their neighboring stars.

The Kepler team's findings were presented at a news conference Monday at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California and later published online.

The catalog is the cumulation of Kepler's first four years of operations and details a patch of sky in the Cygnus constellation. So far, Kepler has identified a total of 4,034 candidates, 2,335 of which have been officially verified as exoplanets.

Of those, a total of 50 near-Earth, habitable zone contenders have been identified, 30 of which have been verified.

RT:  NASA unveils 10 new worlds humans could one day call home (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

The image represents the type of cataloging the researchers are doing since it reviews planets for potential and sorts them much like peppercorns which are also a personal interest.  (Ithaka: Telicherry Peppercorns Because Po' Still Needs Pepper)

The extraordinary passion behind the research in combination with explosive improvements in technique has resulted in the ability to produce this type of catalog since it's really not that long since any extrasolar planet was detected and now maybe thirty years later they have found thousands of them.

The Rockhouse in no way wants to shoot at any of this research since it's part of the greatest childhood dream of going to the stars and this started long before "Star Trek" or other TV sci fi, etc.  Robert Heinlein was most likely to be the first sci fi for kids to read and that was this kid in the 50s / 60s.

There's the same fundamental problem now as they existed when Heinlein was writing in the 40s forward since the only way to get to those stars is still either magic or a Star Wars warp drive which, coincidentally, is also magic.

We will assume, since you're a scholarly lot, you're aware of the time dilation effect but, for the brief of it, traveling at the speed of light means subjective time on the ship may pass twenty years while objective time on Earth passes one hundred.

The positive Rockhouse spin is people will go to the stars anyway since exploratory missions of that nature have often been one-way trips in history.  Since maybe it would be two hundred objective years on Earth before word could be received back from such a colony, it means all the more the explorers must use gigantic vessels which will be capable of carrying whatever is needed for self-sufficiency on the new home world.

The strategy and tactics of provisioning that vessel have been the subject of many sci fi novels but that goes far beyond the scope here.

The Rockhouse has no doubt people will go to the stars and we know it because there are already many, many volunteers for Elon Musk's plan to colonize Mars for which all know there's no way to bring them back.

We don't hear much research toward high-end space travel although there are rumblings sometimes but so far nothing so substantive it leads to any belief a starship will happen soon.  Nevertheless, the Rockhouse absolutely believes one will come in time and (sob) I will likely miss it but really I have been watching starships since I was a kid and knew about a spindizzy before I could drive a car.

Ref:  "Cities in Flight" by James Blish

That book is a compilation of his novels about entire cities of the world flying into space through the use of spindizzy units which did tricks with gravity to lift the cities from Earth and propel them through space.  That translated into interstellar feudal relationships between them and it made for a remarkable study in a great many things.


Anonymous said...

Falcon launch Friday
yes I will be able to watch it
been a long time

Peas InOurThyme said...

Most envious as I've only seen one major launch and it was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. I love the rumbling of such immense power over all that distance from one little rocket in the center of it. Astounding. He may still be planning for a two-fer launch weekend as well.

Anonymous said...

I can only see Friday launch.
Our ship pulls out just after the launch.
I hope to be sitting in a lounge chair up 8 stories on the top deck.

Peas InOurThyme said...

That sounds absolutely sensational since I assume also that position of repose will be accompanied by a tall and refreshing beverage. That sounds a bit like watching the WEBN Fireworks from a houseboat one year.

I'm definitely envious of this one (larfs).