March 29, 2012
“This is amazingly awesome news. Just think about it – TENS OF BILLIONS of planets may have life – and this just in our galaxy alone. The chances of there being intelligent life in the universe (other than humans, if we can even call ourselves intelligent theses days) are astronomical. There probably isn’t just one or two intelligent species out there, there are probably thousands! These are the types of things the human race should be concerned about – not fighting with each other over religion, or who is going to win this season’s Dancing With the Stars.” –KTRN
Scientists have long assumed that the best chance of finding alien life in the universe is on planets similar to ours. The latest scientific discoveries show that there might be tens of billions of such planets in our galaxy alone.
Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory in Chile came to these findings after studying more than a hundred red dwarves, the most common stars in the universe.
The French-led team found out that 40 per cent of red dwarves are orbited by super-Earths – planets up to ten times bigger than our own – which are the correct distance away from their star for liquid water to be found on them. Liquid water is considered a major precondition of life.
From then on, figuring out the amount of potentially habitable planets was only a matter of math.
“Because red dwarfs are so common – there are about 160 billion of them in the Milky Way – this leads us to the astonishing result that there are tens of billions of these planets in our galaxy alone,” lead researcher Xavier Bonfils from the Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers in Grenoble, France, said in a statement.
Despite the mind-boggling possibilities of billions of other civilizations, astronomers say it’s not time to record our interplanetary greetings just yet.
February 10, 2012
“More evidence that Mars might have been the original Earth.” –KTRN
ESA’s Mars Express has returned strong evidence for an ocean once covering part of Mars. Using radar, it has detected sediments reminiscent of an ocean floor within the boundaries of previously identified, ancient shorelines on Mars.
The MARSIS radar was deployed in 2005 and has been collecting data ever since. Jérémie Mouginot, Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) and the University of California, Irvine, and colleagues have analyzed more than two years of data and found that the northern plains are covered in low-density material.
“We interpret these as sedimentary deposits, maybe ice-rich,” says Dr Mouginot. “It is a strong new indication that there was once an ocean here.”
The existence of oceans on ancient Mars has been suspected before and features reminiscent of shorelines have been tentatively identified in images from various spacecraft. But it remains a controversial issue.
Two oceans have been proposed: 4 billion years ago, when warmer conditions prevailed, and also 3 billion years ago when subsurface ice melted, possibly as a result of enhanced geothermal activity, creating outflow channels that drained the water into areas of low elevation.
January 12, 2012
“This is awesome – and mind boggling. Imagine billions of Earth sized planets orbiting starts in our galaxy. Let’s not forget there are billions of galaxies in the Universe. Scientists now say every star has at least one planet orbiting it. Do the math – the chances that we are alone in space is virtually none. In fact, with these numbers, there is a good probability that the Universe is beaming with life – not just microscopic life, but intelligent existence. Don’t you think man’s number one goal as the species of Earth would be to find this other life? To colonize space? To discover where we come from? Nope – let’s just keep fighting and killing each other other over an invisible God in the sky we can’t see. Perhaps the discovery of life in the Universe could bring us closer together. It’s disturbing that all the nations on planet Earth are not coming together to venture into space.” –KTRN
An international team, including three astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO), has used the technique of gravitational microlensing to measure how common planets are in the Milky Way. After a six-year search that surveyed millions of stars, the team concludes that planets around stars are the rule rather than the exception. The results will appear in the journal Nature on 12 January 2012.
Over the past 16 years, astronomers have detected more than 700 confirmed exoplanets  and have started to probe the spectra (eso1002) and atmospheres (eso1047) of these worlds. While studying the properties of individual exoplanets is undeniably valuable, a much more basic question remains: how commonplace are planets in the Milky Way?
Most currently known exoplanets were found either by detecting the effect of the gravitational pull of the planet on its host star or by catching the planet as it passes in front of its star and slightly dims it. Both of these techniques are much more sensitive to planets that are either massive or close to their stars, or both, and many planets will be missed.
An international team of astronomers has searched for exoplanets using a totally different method — gravitational microlensing — that can detect planets over a wide range of mass and those that lie much further from their stars.
Arnaud Cassan (Institut dʼAstrophysique de Paris), lead author of the Nature paper, explains: “We have searched for evidence for exoplanets in six years of microlensing observations. Remarkably, these data show that planets are more common than stars in our galaxy. We also found that lighter planets, such as super-Earths or cool Neptunes, must be more common than heavier ones.”
The astronomers used observations, supplied by the PLANET  and OGLE  teams, in which exoplanets are detected by the way that the gravitational field of their host stars, combined with that of possible planets, acts like a lens, magnifying the light of a background star. If the star that acts as a lens has a planet in orbit around it, the planet can make a detectable contribution to the brightening effect on the background star.
Jean-Philippe Beaulieu (Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris), leader of the PLANET collaboration adds: “The PLANET collaboration was established to follow up promising microlensing events with a round-the-world network of telescopes located in the southern hemisphere, from Australia and South Africa to Chile. ESO telescopes contributed greatly to these surveys.”
Microlensing is a very powerful tool, with the potential to detect exoplanets that could never be found any other way. But a very rare chance alignment of a background and lensing star is required for a microlensing event to be seen at all. And, to spot a planet during an event, an additional chance alignment of the planet’s orbit is also needed.
Although for these reasons finding a planet by microlensing is far from an easy task, in the six year’s worth of microlensing data used in the analysis, three exoplanets were actually detected in the PLANET and OGLE searches: a super-Earth , and planets with masses comparable to Neptune and Jupiter. By microlensing standards, this is an impressive haul. In detecting three planets, either the astronomers were incredibly lucky and had hit the jackpot despite huge odds against them, or planets are so abundant in the Milky Way that it was almost inevitable .
July 6th, 2011
Russian scientists expect humanity to encounter alien civilisations within the next two decades, a top Russian astronomer said on Monday.
“The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms … Life exists on other planets and we will find it within 20 years,” said Andrei Finkelstein, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Applied Astronomy Institute, according to the Interfax news agency.
Speaking at an international forum dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life, Finkelstein said 10% of the known planets circling suns in the galaxy resemble Earth.
If water can be found there, then so can life, he said, adding that aliens would most likely resemble humans with two arms, two legs and a head.
“They may have different colour skin, but even we have that,” he said.
Finkelstein’s institute runs a programme launched in the 1960s at the height of the cold war space race to watch for and beam out radio signals to outer space.
“The whole time we have been searching for extraterrestrial civilisations, we have mainly been waiting for messages from space and not the other way,” he said.
In March a Nasa scientist caused controversy after claiming to have found tiny fossils of alien bugs inside meteorites that landed on Earth.
Richard Hoover, an astrobiologist at the US space agency’s Marshall space flight centre in Alabama, said filaments and other structures in rare meteorites appear to be microscopic fossils of extraterrestrial beings that resemble algae known as cyanobacteria.
Writing in the Journal of Cosmology, Hoover claimed that the lack of nitrogen in the samples, which is essential for life on Earth, indicated they are “the remains of extraterrestrial life forms that grew on the parent bodies of the meteorites when liquid water was present, long before the meteorites entered the Earth’s atmosphere.”
February 2nd, 2011
By: Traci Watson
Scientists have found a new solar system so unlike our own that at first glance it seems almost impossible it could exist.
The planets in the new system are packed together as densely as fans in a mosh pit. Five planets sit practically on top of each other as they circle their star, called Kepler-11; a sixth circles farther out. Two of the planets lie closer together than any other known pair of planets outside our solar system.
“There’s only word” to describe the new solar system, NASA’s Jack Lissauer said at a news conference today, and it’s “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
Other astronomers tossed around words like “amazing” and “remarkable” to describe the new system, which lies about 2,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The Kepler-11 cluster is one of only a handful of solar systems known to include so many planets, and none of the others are understood as well.
The six planets of Kepler-11 may be among the latest entries on the list of “extrasolar” planets — those outside our own solar system — but they won’t be the last.
Scientists today revealed that NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which found Kepler-11′s planets, has to date spotted more than 1,200 potential planets. Astronomers need to confirm the existence of each of the new candidate planets, some of which will turn out to be false leads. But many others are likely to be verified as actual worlds orbiting other stars — the first step, scientifically, toward figuring out where to look for life elsewhere in the universe.
Five of those candidate planets are roughly the size of Earth and could contain liquid water, but it will take “patience … and lots of money” to find out whether those five harbor life, NASA’s William Borucki said.
Even in the growing collection of new planets, the Kepler-11 system, which was described in a study published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature, stands out. For starters there’s its size. Kepler-11 boasts at least six planets, many more than most systems, and it may have even more planets that scientists have yet to detect.
It was “shocking” to find six planets orbiting one star, the University of Florida’s Eric Ford, an author of the Nature study, told AOL News. He described his team’s reaction as the planet count went higher and higher: “There’s a second. Oh, there’s a third. Oh, there’s a fourth! When does it stop?”
Then there’s the dense concentration of the planets. Five of Kepler-11′s planets circle it more tightly than our sun is circled by its nearest planet, Mercury.
The planets of Kepler-11 are squashed together so compactly that “at first glance, you think, ‘Oh, my God, how is this possible?’” says astronomer Christophe Lovis of the University of Geneva, who was not associated with the new study.
Then there’s the planets’ size. Five are larger than Earth but smaller than Uranus, the next-biggest planet orbiting the sun.
In our solar system, “the largest terra incognita occurs between Earth and Uranus,” and these new planets fill that gap, says astronomer Gregory Laughlin of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not an author of the new study. “You’re seeing what planets look like in this strange regime between [Earth-like] planets and what we call the ice giants.”
The Kepler-11 grouping is so unusual that it can’t be explained by the old theories of how solar systems are born, says NASA’s Lissauer, leader of the new study and a specialist in planetary formation.
“Something a little different has to be going on here,” he says. “This is sending me back to the drawing board.”
Today, Kevin explains how government corruption goes beyond your comprehension! Plus, David Icke reveals the real man in the moon and calls for humanity to rise from its knees and take back the world from the sinister network of non-human entities that covertly control us! AND Fred Van Liew stops by to dispute The World Health Organization’s claims that cell phones do not cause cancer!
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Today, Kevin celebrates his latest victory! Plus, David Icke reveals the real man in the moon and calls for humanity to rise from its knees and take back the world from the sinister network of non-human entities that covertly control us! AND Fred Van Liew stops by to dispute The World Health Organization’s claims that cell phones do not cause cancer!
Take Trudeau on the Go! Click here to download this show to your iPod, mp3 player, or PC through iTunes!