Earth-Like Planets

Running head: Earth-Like Planets Earth-Like Planets T. Nailor Miller-Motte College Online Critical Thinking – GS235 Dr. Marshall Lloyd Earth-Like Planets Introduction Do you believe that there is life on other planets? Better yet, do you believe that there is another planet that looks like earth? As far as I can remember, there has always been the question of “is there life in outer space? I remember being in grade school wondering if there were humans or aliens on other planets and if they were trying to communicate with us. Around January 1986 the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded during takeoff in front of the entire world.
As a teenager, this event was tragic and amazing at the same time because I felt that we were on our way to discovering new planets, solar systems, and other life forms. This tragic event was the start of my interest in outer space. Fast forward to 2012, the science community has greatly advanced our technology since the mid-eighties. Today, we have computers in everything, all types of space probes orbiting the universe, and unbelievable amounts of knowledge about outer space and other planets, but yet, and still, no proof of life in outer space. Will we ever know?
Will we ever meet aliens? Only time will tell and personally I think we will, soon! After searching for an interesting subject to cover for this paper, I have discovered a very interesting article on the U. S. News website titled “Earth-Like Planet Found in Nearest Star System”. According to the article scientist say they have discovered a planet that looks like earth orbiting a star that bears a resemblance to our sun. The planet is said to be about 25 trillion miles away, making it very difficult for a space probe to reach the planet using current technology.

It is estimated to take about 40,000 years to reach this planet, even though it is in the next closest planetary system to ours. “The planet, dubbed Alpha Centauri Bb, orbits a star in the Alpha Centauri system, a clump of three stars that are closer to us than any others in the night sky. It’s called Alpha Centauri Bb because the planet orbits the clump’s second-closest star, Alpha Centauri B (Cline, 2012)”. The question here is does this planet really exist, being that it is so far away?
The science community and other publications believe that it does. The articles give some clues that are questionable and not all researchers agree that the planet is there. However, there are those who are absolutely convince that it actually exist. “The exquisitely high-quality data required to find an Earth-like planet doesn’t just happen by chance,” UC Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy wrote in an email (Khan, 2012). The writer seems to be very interested in this subject, but he only presented a few sources to start with.
The main source is the lead scientist along with ten other scientists, who first published the original paper detailing and describing the entire discovery at eso. org. The reasons to accept this is that the writer provides information in the article that quotes a well-known scientist named Xavier Dumusque, a scientist at Geneva Observatory and lead author of the paper that published the discovery. Plus, the recent findings of other earth like planets, the huge amount of evidence available and the shear advancement of our technology are all motives to continue our search.
Use of a special instrument that detects signal variations attached to the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) telescope in La Silla, Chile (Cline S. , 2012), the excitement of the science community, and a special scientific technique called radial velocity (the velocity of an object in the direction of the line of sight) suggests this discovery is a major accomplishment. The writer also quoted Dumusque saying “It’s an extraordinary discovery and it has pushed our technique to the limit! ” (Cline S. , 2012). What technique or techniques is the scientist referring to?
What are our technical and technological limits at this point in time? Although we are able to send man to the moon, build an international space station, and send space probes deep into outer space, does not necessarily explain our technological abilities in detail. However, this information does suggest to the public that we are getting closer and closer to discovering other earth like planets. “We can’t be alone” The science community is getting very close to discovering earth-like planets and extraterrestrial life in outer space. This is considered a alued assumption among many researchers and astronomers. To date, they have actually discovered more than 800 of these exoplanets amongst the billions and billions of stars in our galaxy. The more planets found like HD40307g, the more they resemble earth with earth-like characteristics (the spinning on its axis, having a night and a day, and orbiting in the habitable zone). Astronomers are also finding them closer to our solar system. Another assumption of these findings are that humans are developing and advancing technology to communicate, navigate, and live in outer space in the near future.
NASA said no candidate planet discovered thus far by Kepler “is exactly like Earth,” but noted that the spacecraft “has collected enough data to begin finding true sun-Earth analogs—Earth-size planets with a one-year orbit around stars similar to the sun. ” (Poeter, 2012) According to space. com, private companies and NASA are working together to take the next step forward of launching humans into outer space. Entering the term space settlement, suggest that people can or will be living and working outside of earth, on the moon, mars, or in huge rotating orbital space settlements.
The total energy resources of this solar system are about 2. 3 billion times the energy available on Earth. This is simply the Sun’s energy output — and the Sun is an enormous nuclear fusion reactor that works perfectly right now, today, and is perfectly safe — or at least isn’t going away (Globus, 2007). The claim regarding the existence of earth-like planets, do not contain any fallacies or reasoning tricks. The researchers, scientists, and astronomers are providing honest, verifiable, and creditable evidence regarding this subject.
Their approach to discover earth-like planets may be from the heart and they may be very diligent in the exploration of the universe. Most of those involved including journalists who report these findings are well educated, intelligent, and experienced in the science of space study. “The interesting thing is that if they threw out some of their data, they got more precise measurements,” Eric Ford, an astronomer at the University of Florida at Gainesville, said in an interview (Khan, 2012). The use of misconceptions or myths would damage and be detrimental to their careers, reputation, and progress.
Delusional reporting will only distort previous evidence of other exoplanets in outer space and therefore would challenge all findings. The clear and obvious evidence is the universal agreement among the science community in regards to the technological advancements, development of new techniques, quality of data and the cooperation and collaborative efforts of them all. The productivity of 21st century devices used to explore space produce unimaginable audio, visual, and tangible information that was never before possible.
For example, the International Space Station is near completion, the Hubble Telescope orbits at the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy, and the recent landing of a space probe on Mars, are great accomplishments towards this effort in discovering life outside of earth. This supports the progression in science and is clear evidence that supports information reported by researchers, journalists, and scientists. The finding (of HD40307g) has yet to be confirmed by other analysis or observations. Not everyone is convinced this particular planet exists (Khan, 2012).
There are those who are critical of the discovery of exoplanets. Eventually this will lead to more studies, research, and input on behalf of the critics. Either way this will also add to the efforts of space science as a whole. The conclusion is the science community and research scientists have found earth-like planets and we humans are closer to finding extraterrestrial life in outer space. According to several websites in the astronomer’s community, an extra-solar planet, or exoplanet, is a planet outside our Solar System but still within our Milky Way galaxy.
A total of 846 such planets (665 planetary systems, including 126 multiple planetary systems) have been identified as of November 8, 2012, all of them within the Milky Way galaxy (“The extrasolar encyclopaedia,” 2012). Scientists around the world are very excited about the discovery of these exoplanets, especially Alpha Centauri Bb. According to The Independent and the L. A. Times, a new earth like planet that could have a climate that supports life and water adds to the excitement.
The new planet, HD40307g is said to be in a multi-world solar system about 42 light years from our sun and sits at the right distance from its sun to allow liquid water on its surface. “It orbits well within in the stars habitable or Goldilocks zone – the region where temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold to sustain life (Hall, 2012). ” With the discoveries of these planets and the rapid advancement of technology, discovering life in outer space appears to be believable and achievable. References 1. Cline, S. (2012, October 17).
Earth-like planet found in nearest star system. Retrieved from http://www. usnews. com/news/articles/2012/10/17/earth-like-planet-found-in-nearest-star-system_print. html 2. The extrasolar encyclopaedia . (2012, November 8). Retrieved from http://exoplanet. eu/ 3. Khan, A. (2012, November 7). Possible earth-like planet could hold water; scientists cautious. Retrieved from http://articles. latimes. com/2012/nov/07/science/la-sci-sn-earthlike-planet-water-atmosphere-red-light-20121107 4. Hall, J. (2012, November 8).
Revealed: New earth-like planet that could have a life-supporting climate and water. Retrieved from http://www. independent. co. uk/news/science/revealed-new-earthlike-planet-that-could-have-a-lifesupporting-climate-and-water-8297750. html – (Hall, 2012) 5. Globus, A. (2007, August 2). Space settlement and war. Retrieved from http://www. space. com/4140-space-settlement-war. html – (Globus, 2007) 6. Poeter, D. (2012, November 17). NASA’s Kepler renews hunt for earth-like planets. Retrieved from http://www. pcmag. com/article2/0,2817,2412264,00. asp – (Poeter, 2012)

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