Friday, 1 October 2010

Goldilocks planet

The news that astronomical techniques have become so refined that planets only a little bigger than Earth can be detected orbiting distant stars is very exciting. I look forward to the day when the first unambiguous signs of life outside our solar system are proved.

However, I cannot understand the speculation about sending a "space ark" to Zarmina's World (discoverer Steve Vogt named it after his wife).The star Gliese 581 is a red dwarf, which, if my limited knowledge of astronomy is correct, is much further advanced in stellar age than our sun. By the time any spaceship from here reached it, Gliese 581 may well be no warmer than a cinder.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting that you are discussing Space Arks, our place is out there in the Universe, and before we can manage to undertake such activity we, as a species need to be able to travel relatively modest interstella distances within a few centuries.

I understand that the star concerned is a mere 20 light years away; we as a species stopped any serious space travel in the early 1970s with the end of the Apollo programme. While we have had probes sent out into our solar system, we have yet to have a manned mission to Mars

Frank Little said...

Part of the log-jam in the US may have been removed with the passage of a Bill just this week, permitting NASA to continue with long-term space research while giving seed money to commercial enterprises to exploit near space.

Obama had campaigned against huge sums of money being voted for NASA, but his 21 months in the White House have seen him relent.

Frank Little said...

- and, of course, China has some grandiose plans.