Archive for the ‘aliens’ Tag

What if There was Life on Other Worlds?   19 comments

The UN Outer Space Treaty and Planetary Protection

What is Planetary Protection?

Planetary protection refers to ‘interplanetary contamination’ – protecting solar system bodies (i.e., planets, moons, comets, and asteroids) from ‘biological contamination’ by Earth organisms, (Forward contamination – the transfer ofviable organisms’ from Earth to another interplanetary body), and protecting Earth from the transmission of alien organisms, to Earth’s biosphere e.g. as a result of ‘extra-terrestrial sample-return missions.’ (Back contamination)

 

The Outer Space Treaty

Why is Planetary Protection Important?

Planetary protection is a directive code in the blueprint of an interplanetary assignment, and is critical for several important reasons:  

  • mirrors the unknown nature of the space environment 
  • to safeguard our ability to study other worlds in detail, in their natural conditions 
  • to prevent contamination that would make it difficult/impossible to find potential life on another world  
  • to ensure that we take judicious safety measures to shield Earth’s biosphere in case it does.  

The UN Outer Space Treaty and Planetary Protection

The legal basis for planetary protection is located in Article IX of the United Nations Outer Space Treaty ratified in 1967 by the US, USSR, and UK.

“Article IX: … States Parties to the Treaty shall pursue studies of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, and conduct exploration of them so as to avoid their harmful contamination and also adverse changes in the environment of the Earth resulting from the introduction of extra-terrestrial matter and, where necessary, shall adopt appropriate measures for this purpose.”

Requirements for Protecting Life on Other Bodies

heres-why-scientists-think-a-tiny-moon-of-jupiter-is-the-most-likely-place-to-find-alien-life

Planetary protection prerequisites for each mission and interplanetary body in focus are ascertained based on the scientific advice of the Space Studies Board, NASA or international policy guidelines.

Each mission is categorized according to:

  • Type of mission (e.g. flyby, orbiter, or lander)
  • Nature of its destination (e.g. a planet, moon, comet, or asteroid)
  • And the planetary bodies that may be discovered over the course of the mission (e.g. Mars and Europa).

Proposal to Increase Time-Scale for Planetary Protection

In the case of  Europa, the majority opinion was, that not only should Europa be kept it is not contamination-free during current times of exploration, but that it could well be scientifically important enough to warrant being kept in an un-touched and un-contaminated condition for future generations to benefit from studying too. 

“One consequence of this view is that Europa must be protected from contamination for an open-ended period, until it can be demonstrated that no ocean exists or that no organisms are present. Thus, we need to be concerned that over a time scale on the order of 10 million to 100 million years (an approximate age for the surface of Europa), any contaminating material is likely to be carried into the deep ice crust or into the underlying ocean.” 

(The minority opinion was that these protection measures are unnecessarily strong.)

But What About the Natives??!!

Europa and Alien Life

It is natural that we should want to explore worlds with the potential for life, and even to exploit them, but what if these worlds, such as Europa, do prove to have natives? There are different views on this subject. For example:

  • If the life is only microbial then there is no cause to worry about it. We should not let microbes interfere with potential colonisation.
  • It has its own ecosystem, and this should be left alone. However, if the long-term aim was to terraform Europa it would change the climate of the moon along with the rest of Europa.

Will we as egotistical humans decide, that despite knowing that this is a world that we have had no hand in creating, none-the-less that we should take measures to change it anyway? Or will we recognise our boundaries and appreciate that we have a unique standing in the cosmos, and therefore put aside our arrogance and leave untouched, a world, and possibly an eco-system, that we have had no hand in creating?

Europa’s Icewolf’s Personal Howl!

Red_Wolf_Creek_Inverted

My personal howl on this subject is that absolutely Europa needs to be protected from Earth contamination! We do not know the consequences of any potential contamination. And precautions should be taken so that accurate observations can be made regarding any life found on Europa. If we find life there, it will have its own ecosystem and we should leave it alone and allow it to be a nature reserve moon. We may even be able to find ways to improve its habitat to help its life to thrive in ways not yet possible for it on icy Europa. It may be possible to ring fence the inhabited areas to reduce human contact, but it seems to me that such action would serve only to damage Europa, and ultimately this moon needs to be left alone! 

As mentioned earlier, backward contamination by micro-organisms (e.g. bacteria, certain algae and fungi) from other worlds are also a risk, when carried back to Earth on probes. which could have catastrophic upshots for Earth dwellers. Our immune systems will not have any resistance to extra-terrestrial micro-organisms. Not only would our bodies be totally unable to fight them it is pretty much guaranteed that we would have no time and no opportunity to research the creation of the necessary vaccine. Therefore, it will be essential to have high-level, cutting-edge systems for filtering and highly advanced procedures in place.

What do YOU think?!!

europ_wolf (2) copy1B

Discovering beyond all doubt that alien life does exist would have big impacts on Earth.

  • Inevitably there would be changes to terrestrial science, technology, religion, politics and ecosystems as a result of contact with extra-terrestrial life, whether it be microbial or a technologically advanced civilisation.

Consequences for Society and Cultural Back-Lashes

Nobody will avoid the impact from the culture shock that would occur if we were to discover extra-terrestrial life, whatever form it might take. We would be forced to face the sudden reality that we were not a unique exception in the universe, which could cause a very serious back-lash in society as we know it. A culture shock of this nature could last for decades, possibly centuries. It would not only be ourselves affected in the deepest and most profound of ways but also our children and our children’s children. As we reach out to new, unexplored worlds with no real knowledge of what we might find there, exactly how the potential revelation of extra-terrestrial life and the impact on future generations is an issue that requires our consideration…

…NOW!!  

Sources: 

https://planetaryprotection.nasa.gov/overview 

https://www.state.gov/t/isn/5181.htm 

http://www.unoosa.org/pdf/publications/STSPACE11E.pdf   (SpaceTreaty PDF) 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_protection 

www.space.com  (What Finding Alien Life Could Mean for Earth) 

www.wikipedia.com  (Potential Cultural Impact) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the Moon Meets the Sun   70 comments

 

 

“A New Moon is a brand new doorway to walk through…

Wherever you are in the world, if you will look to the sky, the only light you will see up there, are softly twinkling stars.

moondoor

The night before New Moon, is known as the night of the balsamic moon.  It is a time that focuses on confidence, creativity and generosity, a time that may bring about a desire for contemplation and preparation. We are here on Earth at this time in history to be agents of change and growth.  Discard what no longer serves your life.  Re-balance yourself.  Know yourself.

Most importantly, remember that we all need our “dark time”— the time we are not visible, where we are softly planning and nurturing our knowledge in a quiet and private space.  The space where intuition grows.

Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey. 
~ John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

You have the chance to explore your sense of self and discover something new about who you are. Don’t be afraid to be who you are. Trying to be anyone else is a waste of your beautiful, unique spirit.

This the gift of the dark, balsamic moon. – enjoy!

newMoonThere is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. 
~ Martha Graham”

Source:

eatingwithangels.com


The Magic of the Moon song –

When the Moon meets the Sun on a late summer’s night.

Icewolf - When the Moon Meets the SunThe Star-born of Europa_cool embrace of another world

A Polaris moon spun gently in alien star- blue wolf eyes… A galaxy of possibilities swirling around a spinning polarity solarised by the dull orange-gold glow of a fiery, giant sun. Glowing embers of sun-forged fire woke, rotating slowly along the ever spinning lines of polarity. Even a small switch in the bands of polarity would change the outcome for the viewer in a Nano-second, transforming their perception of the universe in the blink of an ice wolf’s eye, exchanging ember-red-giant sun for its exact solar opposite; defined by the red shifts, and the rainbow of possibilities that mirrored the visions of the future, and the “Labyrinth of the Night” (Labyrinthis Noctis) where the black wolves of Mars were born.

Behind her lay the roiling Jovian storm clouds bruised and darkly brooding, driven on by screaming winds and the occasional howl. Ahead, glowing embers of the red-giant sun, its remnants burning red-gold against the skeletal silhouettes of shadowy black tree trunks.

The stars called softly. There was a thrill in the night sky. The Star born of Europa shivered elatedly in glittering, timeless shards of planetary-light pillows in the new moon mist gliding across the regolith. A magical qualitative excited her senses twinkling in darkness and light and the cool embrace of another world, on the rim of the galaxy, cooling the contours of the high-modern architecture.

Soft New moon winds shimmered with elfin light through moon darkened whiskers, tickling her senses with a New moon night’s perception. It created in her an eagerness to step up into the drifting alienness of the night’s cool New moon, mysterious and gothic in the magic of the last nights of late summer’s golden glow and the first hints of early autumn’s onset; the sounds of the night a haunting interstellar music that stirred distant memories; and she gazed into the past and the future, a thousand worlds away.

©Europa’s Icewolf 2013

Alien Sunsets   33 comments

Watching the sunset on another world 150 light years from Earth….

What would it look like?

Osiris

HD 209458 b (Osiris) is a large exoplanet or extrasolar planet that orbits the Sun-like star HD 209458 in the constellation Pegasus, some 150 light-years from Earth’s solar system. First discovered on November 5, 1999 during “Spectroscopic studies.”

Osiris_HD 209458bOsiris

Osiris is a 7th magnitude world, visible from Earth with good binoculars or a decent telescope. Osiris (HD209458b), 150 Ly from Earth orbits very closely to its sun. Measured by the Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope on March 23. 2005 it had an atmospheric temperature of around 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) it’s year lasts just 3.5 Earth days long. Very bad for the aging process!

Osiris Firsts:

First PrizeHD 209458 b was the first transiting extrasolar planet discovered:

  • Known to have an atmosphere
  • Observed to have an evaporating hydrogen atmosphere
  • Found to have an atmosphere containing oxygen and carbon
  • One of the first two extrasolar planets to be directly spectroscopically observed
  • The first extrasolar planet found to have water vapour in its atmosphere. (April 2007)

(Sunset On HD 189733 – Osiris)

Sunset on HD209458b (reconstructed from the HST/STIS transmission spectrum): Image: Frederic Pont of the University of Exeter: based on data form a camera on-board the Hubble Space Telescope)

Osiris doesn’t actually have as surface on which to sit peacefully watching an alien sunset but for the purposes of this post we will pretend it does. What it does have however is an atmosphere, which when passed through by the light from its star (sun) – it does this every so often when Osiris passes between Earth and its own sun (transits)– allows the scientific types here on sunny Earth to figure out in a scientific way mostly beyond the understanding of the average Earthling, exactly which colours its sun would set in, should Osiris have a surface – as already stated it doesn’t but… and we were spending a happily romantic evening sitting on the (make-believe) surface.

I said it HASN’T got one!!! So don’t try it!! It won’t be any good for you!!

In the image to the right Osiris’s sunset can be seen as it would appear if having travelled at light speed to reach it, you were floating 6,200 miles/10,000 km above the planetary surface – preferably not in a deckchair unless you’re wearing a heavy duty space suit 😉 a space station would do nicely.

Floating 6,200 miles above the planetary surface...The Osirisian sun- HD 209458– it’s star, is, much like Earth’s Sun, white – yes I know…The Sun is yellow…but if there was no atmosphere it would look white – not that we would see it because without an atmosphere life on Earth would have survived for approx. 20 seconds before exploding into instant extinction.

An alien sunset on Osiris really does look alien – unlike Earth’s. Osiris’s atmosphere consists of sodium which when starlight (sunlight) zips through it, absorbs the red light. (think prisms and colours of rainbows when white light is split) This results in the remaining starlight appearing blue. It makes perfectly good sense if you were paying attention in your school science lessons. If you weren’t then it’s your own fault and you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself!!

As back home on Earth the blue light from the star is scattered (“Rayleigh scattering,” a mechanism also responsible for the Earth’s sky being blue) creating a progressive change through the blue end of the spectrum through to a pretty green and later a deep, dark shade of green as its star dips further beneath the horizon.

The more sensible approach to watching the Osirian sunset...In such colours you should be able to get a good view of Osiris’s sun without going instantly blind in which case you will notice it looks oddly flat around the southern half. The same effect occurs when we watch the sun setting from Earth. This is the consequence of diffraction (light bending) and nothing to worry about..

Osiris, Eygptian god of the Underworld_Credit Jeff DahlWhilst you are relaxing in the Osirisian sunset you can reflect on the little snippet of mythology attached to it’s title… Osiris was an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He was classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh’s beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and holding a symbolic crook and flail. His green skin is symbolic of new birth. This image is based on New Kingdom tomb paintings.

    

      AND FOR COMPARISION PURPOSES, THE SUNSET ON HD 189733 b

    Sunset on HD 189733 bSunset on HD 189733 b looks like an especially awesome Earth sunset when the sky is very clear and there is only a small amount of dust in the atmosphere. HD 189733 b is much closer to its star (sun) than Earth is to our Sun so its star looks considerably bigger 25 times larger than Earth’s sun when viewed at sunset compared.

Soaking up the atmosphere on HD 189733b

HD 189733 b’s sun is orange and nowhere near as hot as Earth’s Sun and consequently is coloured orange as oppose to the white of our Sun. Instead of undergoing a gradual change of colour as it sets, this alien sun transforms straight from its original orange colour to deepest red in the thick layers of the lower atmosphere.

Jupiter and HD 189733 b size comparison

HD 189733b discovered in 2005 is an extrasolar planet of similar size to Jupiter. It orbits a star (it’s sun) in a binary system called HD 189733 in the constellation of Vulpecula in two Earth days. The aging process on this world would be terribly fast in our terms and those wrinkles would appear in a frighteningly super-smart short time!! The star system itself one of the closest planet-star systems known making it extremely hot. It is located near the Dumbell Nebula, approximately 62 light years from Earth and is known as a “Hot Jupiter.”

HD 189733 and M27, the Dumbbell Nebula. Credit: Daniel Jaroschik

HD 189733b shares many similar characteristics as HD 209458b (a.k.a. “Osiris) Although HD 189733b’s atmosphere isn’t thought to be evaporating like Osiris’, atmospheric gases extend far beyond it and out into space. This is significant in that starlight can also pass through meaning that scientists have been able to figure out that the atmosphere contains water and methane resulting in the probability that HD 189733b may have a blue hue, reminiscent of Uranus.

The atmosphere also contains iron, silicate and aluminium oxide particles. These would seem to collect in HD 189733b’s upper atmosphere, forming a thin, hazy, reflective cloud in the exosphere. This leads to the natural conclusion that the weather on HD 189733b is hot and cloudy.

Thanks to the Spitzer telescope it was discovered in February 2007 for the first time that the atmosphere of exoplanet HD 209458b (Osiris) is relatively dry, thick and dusty. Osiris even contains grains of sand (silicates).

Exoplanet

Although it is not suitable for the existence of alien life it is an exciting step on the road to discovery of such worlds.

Sources:

PhysOrg.com

Prof. Frédéric Pont

ExoClimes.com

Aliens may be hostile, particularly aliens invading the planet.   86 comments

Stay alert, stay safe, stay alive! Part 2 of a previous post “The Aliens Are Coming To Get Us! ~ When Aliens Attack”
*Aliens may be hostile, particularly aliens invading the planet.

alien_invasion1Tips (*WikiHowls)

* Hang out with the type of people you think could survive an alien invasion: U.S. Marines, Israeli Police, Pakistani weapon smiths, etc.
* Be prepared. Have a plan. How are you going to find cover? Where’s the best place to get supplies when chaos and panic descend?
* Dress down, think functional. Avoid really bright colours. You just went through an apocalypse, people will think you’re a jerk if you dress too cheery.
* Get a dog—something smart and loyal, like a German Shepherd or a Rhodesian Ridgeback.aliens_spaceships

 Things You’ll Need:

* A hostile alien force.
* Human ingenuity

So the planet’s under imminent threat of an Alien Invasion. How would the World react?

In the event of an alien attack a state of international emergency to be declared. Civilians to be rushed to safe areas. Find their (aliens)weaknesses. Discover what they invaded Earth for. Mobilize troops and launch counter-attacks when the time is right.

                                            World: “We can haz peace?”

Aliens: “lol…no”

Apocalyptic TimesUS: “Nuke ’em”

Russia: “Nuke ’em”

China: “Nuke ’em”

UK: “Nuke ’em”Apocalyptic Times2

France: “Nuke ’em”

India: “Nuke ’em”

Pakistan: Nuke ’em”

Israel: “Nuke ’em”

                                                                          North Korea: “Nuke ’em”

                                     

                                                                       World: *nukes*

        Aliens: “kthnxbai”

At this point it could be quite useful if if Iran DOES have nukes… no one is likely to mind too much

When the World Ends...alien_attack

So >

Iran: Nuke ‘em

                                                             Resistance!

As a newly recruited member of the resistance movement YOU may think being armed to the teeth with the toughest human weaponry you have been smart enough to loot will make an awesome defence. The aliens won’t. They won’t have any effect on the average alien whatsoever other than to make them REALLY uptight and irritable, ensuring that when they do get hold of you, you will suffer a seriously NASTY fate. So save your firepower for the next crazed human* (there will be plenty around for target practice – this is an apocalypse)

     alien-ground-spire-destroyed-buildingAlien_Attack

  • Do hide the Lempsip

Any self-respecting invading alien race will be decimated by the common Earth cold. So sneeze, cough and splutter a lot and don’t tell them about the Lemsip and the Beecham’s Flu Plus etc. Hide it. On the downside, "Alien life forms wouldn’t come here only to be done in by our bacteria, unless they were related biochemically to humans. Bacteria would have to be able to interact with their biochemistry to be dangerous, and their ability to do that is far from a sure thing." ~Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif.

  • Do leave a glass of water lying around at all times Skywatch

Water is not good for aliens…in fact it is terminally bad for their well-being… so always be sure to leave plentiful supplies of half-drunk glasses of water lying around. Should this cause complaints a gusty yell of “LEAVE ME ALONE. I AM TRYING TO AVOID AN ALIEN ATTACK” will generally be very effective at silencing the inconvenient complainant.

  • Do get drunk

Alcoholic pilot syndrome is an excellent way to save the human race from deadly alien attacks as you will lose any inhibitions you may otherwise have had about nobly plunging your plane straight into the epicentre of an invading, alien spacecraft. Well nobody ever said alcohol was good for you did they. But the human race will forgive your discrepancy on this occasion and hold you in very high esteem.

  •  Don’t pick the flowers

Don’t pick them and take them home. (You really shouldn’t do this anyway… it is very naughty besides that you probably found them in someone else’s garden and they’re not yours.) It could also lead to the obliteration of the human race. Whilst you are sleeping happily in the land of nod, there could well be zombies could be growing in plant pods preparing to replace the human they’ve cloned. So, don’t go to sleep –ever. You won’t have a good time.

  • alien_attackDo avoid getting abducted (US Viewers)

If you a good, upstanding, arms bearing citizen of the USA it will naturally be a foregone conclusion and assumed by all that you have already been abducted by a variety of aliens on a number of occasions. Likely as not you were on a hunting expedition or two at the time of your abductions and whilst obviously no-one will believe a word of your abduction report this is perfectly normal and only to be expected. The safest bet is find yourself a really big city and go live in it. Right at the very heart of it. Be sure to have people around you at all times and never be alone again. And never ever go to sleep ever again. Just in case…

  • Do be wary of children

If all the women you know suddenly become inexplicably pregnant all at the same time it is perfectly acceptable to become very, very scared. This will not be without reason.

  • Don’t lose your cool

Aliens will have egos too. Probably even bigger ones than the average human’s. (Yes it is possible) Best not to have a screaming heeby jeebMaking friends!y panic attack should one jump out at you whilst you’re in the shower. This is not to be recommended at all and will only feed its alien ego. It is probably safe for you to assume that it intends to kill you and that it has no plans for making your demise a quick and clean one. So, pick up your jaw off the floor, go very quiet, (wide eyes are optional) and most importantly maintain a stiff upper lip (If you’re British you will already be very good at this) if not, now is the time to learn. Just for good measure present a look of totally unimpressed, unadulterated boredom and you should be absolutely fine. Hopefully.

Alternatively, assuming that it hasn’t already tried to kill you, you could give making friends with an alien a go — think fast – you must have something in common. Under no circumstances introduce it to anything remotely related to alien invasions, nuclear bomb blasts, wars…they might get the wrong impression.

(–Post Sources Via IEEE and *WikiHowls)

NASA Discover Alien Planet Earth Twin –Kelper-22b   46 comments

 

Alien Earth-Twin: Planet Kelper-22b

NASA Kelper: Planet Hunting Spacecraft

Kepler 22b, the new alien planet discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which NASA scientists say embraces the most hopeful possibility to date for potential future human habitation. Scientists also believe there is a tantalising option for the presence of continents, oceans and even alien life forms living on its surface. Kepler-22b is the first of many such planets that it is hoped will be discovered by the Kepler space telescope.

The Kepler Mission is a NASA Discovery Program for detecting potentially life-supporting planets-. those where liquid water might exist on the surface of those around other stars in the habitable zone. Terrestrial planets. (i.e. those one half to twice the size of the Earth)

Kelper Telescope

NASA’s Kelper planet-hunting spacecraft, a Space Observatory, that has been orbiting Earth since it was launched in March 2009 is the most powerful telescope in space. It needs a large field in order to observe the necessary large number of stars.

Beginning in the Star Fields

Kelper will be searching constantly in the Cygnus star field, staring unblinkingly at around 155,000 stars every half hour, looking for tiny drops in brightness that betray the presence of planets, for the duration of it’s 3.5 years+ mission. Cygnus is ideal as it lacks in bright stars that would hamper the instruments and it contains many stars similar to our Sun

image

Kepler’s targetd star field in nearby region of the Milky Way. Credit: NASA

The star around which Kepler 22b orbits in the region of the constellations of Lyra and Cygnus, is slightly smaller than our Sun and about 25% less bright. The alien planet was discovered after making a "transit" across the front of its parent star – when a planet crosses in front of its star (Sun) it blocks a small fraction of the light from that star.

                               Cygnus Star field                                       Kelper's Transit Method

Image 1. Kepler’s targeted star field. Credit: Carter Roberts of the Eastbay Astronomical Society   \mage 2. Artist’s rendering of Kepler’s Transit Method of Detecting Extrasolar Planets. Credit: SETI Institute

It is these microscopic variations in the star’s brightness that Kelper can detect. These tell the planet size. The time between ‘transits’ indicates the size of the planet’s orbit and estimates the planet’s temperature. These factors determine possibilities for life on the planet.

Alien Planet Kelper-22b

kepler22b-artwork

This artist’s conception illustrates Kepler-22b, a planet known to comfortably circle in the habitable zone of a sun-like star.
CREDIT: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

2.4 times the size of earth Kelper 22b orbits a star similar to, but smaller and cooler than, our own sun. Scientists say it is 15% closer to its own star than Earth is to our Sun and is located at the somewhat daunting distance of 600 light years away from our own Solar System. At 290 days, the duration of a year on Kepler-22b is not far off our own and the planet’s surface temperature is an agreeable 22deg C. (72deg F) (Sign up here if you wish to join Wolfie on a summer holiday) 😉

Its atmosphere is of a nature that could potentially support life and Kepler-22b is the first “Earth twin” known that is situated in the ‘habitable zone’ of another Sun-like star. This allows for temperatures fitting to the existence of liquid surface water throughout its orbit. I.e. Kelper- 22b could have Earth-like continents and oceans…and where there is liquid water there is also a strong possibility of life. It is even possible, according to scientists that Kelper-22b is in fact already inhabited!

However scientists have yet to figure out whether Kepler-22b is of a primarily rock, liquid or gas composition. A rocky surface would be the best ideal for life. However, a certain Professor Abel Mendez of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory has pessimistically suggested that the chances are that the new and alien planet is likely to be too big to be a habitable world… well there’s always one!

To date the Kepler space telescope has discovered a grand total of 48 planets in the habitable zone of their own solar systems. (The “Goldilocks zone”) Kepler-22b is just the first alien world within such a zone to have been confirmed by other telescopes observations.

NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-22b on Dec. 5 2011.

 Planets and orbits to scale

Comparison chart of our own solar system and  Kepler-22, a star system containing the first "habitable zone" planet discovered.

"This discovery supports the growing belief that we live in a universe crowded with life," ~ Dr Alan Boss, from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC, helped identify the planet from data collected by the Kepler space telescope.

"This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth’s twin," ~ Douglas Hudgins, a member of the Kepler telescope team.

“Fortune smiled upon us with the detection of this planet," ~ William Borucki, who led the team that discovered Kepler-22b.

The SKA Telescope   34 comments

The Square Kilometre Array

Out of the Darkness, Into the Light

clip_image001

Astronomy allows us to see back in time because the light waves from distant stars and galaxies that reach our current telescopes take a long time to do so and what we see is from a very distant past. SKA (the Square Kilometre Array) will be the most powerful radio telescope we have built, and will see back to when the first galaxies and stars formed, and will make pictures from radio waves rather than seeing light waves. This will allow objects to be discovered that would otherwise remain invisible and impossible to know of.

Expected to collect more data in one week clip_image003than previous attempts have done in the whole of history it will have the means to survey the sky 100,000 times+ faster than ever before. By the time construction of the array is completed it will include 4,400 dish antennae and flat arrays, 2,200 of which will be situated in the central 5km-wide core area. Thousands of remaining arrays will be grouped together in “stations” spanning 3,000 km (size of a continent) from the core.

 clip_image005clip_image007

The SKA Array will likely be based in South Africa or Australia; a decision will be made in 2012. If Australia was to be chosen SKA would spread right across the mainland, into Tasmania and New Zealand.

International project, also including several European countries, which will revolutionise our understanding in several areas of physics, including general relativity, (how gravity bends spacetime) planet formation, understanding magnetic fields, and cosmology. One of the most important projects will involve measuring the nature of dark energy which it is thought makes up 73% of the universe, because of the vast expanses SKA will be able to survey.clip_image009

May provide answers to fundamental questions about nature, origin and evolution of universe.

The SKA will be able to detect extremely weak extra-terrestrial signals and may even spot other planets capable of supporting life. Astrobiologists will use SKA to search for amino acids, the building blocks of life by identifying spectral lines at specific frequencies. The SKA array is sensitive enough to be able to detect similar types of radiation to that emitted from our TV broadcasts, radar, and mobile phones. If there proved to be an advanced alien race existing somewhere out in the universe contact could occur by such means. By 2024 the construction will be complete and the fun will begin!