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No signs of life yet

The question of whether life exists on other planets will always remain a curiosity as we continue venturing into space. Movies like "E.T." and "Alien" are just a couple examples of our fascination with such an idea. 

NASA, as our government space agency, is obviously curious as well. But we could be a step closer to answering such questions as NASA has found the first Earth-Size planet in the 'habitable zone' of another star. 

According to NASA, the Kepler Space Telescope found an Earth-sized planet orbiting a star in the habitable zone, which is the range of distance from a star where liquid water might collect on the surface of an orbiting planet -- meaning the possibility of life. 

The new planet has been dubbed Kepler-186f, and it is about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. It orbits a star -- which is classified as an M dwarf, or red dwarf -- half the size and mass of our sun.

Kepler-186f orbits its star once every 130-days and receives one-third the energy from its star that Earth gets from the sun. This puts it near the outer edge of the habitable zone. 
The brightness of its star at high noon is only as bright as Earth's sun appears about an hour before sunset. Further, NASA isn't quite sure yet, but it believes Kepler-186f's surface rocky.

A sketch of Kepler-186f [SOURCE: NASA]

Kepler-186f isn't alone over there, though. It has four companion planets, called Kepler-186b, Kepler-186c, Kepler-186d, and Kepler-186e. They make their way around their sun every four, seven, 13, and 22 days respectively, and they're too hot for any life to exist on them. 
Size is key here. While planets have been discovered in the habitable zone before, they haven't been the same size as Earth, which makes it harder for us to understand fully. The four companion planets, for example, all measure less than 1.5 times the size of Earth. Also, previously discovered planets in the habitable zone were were at least 40 percent larger in size than Earth. 

With Kepler-186f being about the same size as Earth, we can have a clearer idea of behaviors, topography, etc. But as of right now, its mass and composition are unknown. 

Unfortunately, whether it contains other life is also unknown at this time. But it's always a worthy consideration when stumbling upon new planets in what are considered "habitable" areas. 

"The discovery of Kepler-186f is a significant step toward finding worlds like our planet Earth," said Paul Hertz, NASA's Astrophysics Division director at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "Future NASA missions, like the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the James Webb Space Telescope, will discover the nearest rocky exoplanets and determine their composition and atmospheric conditions, continuing humankind's quest to find truly Earth-like worlds."

Source: NASA

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RE: Deep space is useless for now.
By vXv on 4/19/2014 1:46:25 PM , Rating: 2
For instance, since I was talking about water and how we're going to need in badly before the end of this century, there a moon around Saturn (enceladus)

There is more then enough water on this planet .. its salt water? So what? We have the technology to make drinkable water out of it (and its being done already in some places) ... and it is way more reasonable then mining water from billions of kilometers away ...

RE: Deep space is useless for now.
By shadow002 on 4/20/14, Rating: 0
RE: Deep space is useless for now.
By SPOOFE on 4/20/2014 2:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
You're really concerned that we're gonna drink up all the oceans? We'll need a bit more than ten billion people to accomplish that, even if we were specifically trying to.

RE: Deep space is useless for now.
By shadow002 on 4/20/2014 8:11:00 PM , Rating: 1
Did you see the new horizons disaster a couple of years ago, leaked oil for over 2 months before it got sealed up, and only 15~20% of the oil got recovered while the rest is god knows where, and killed a lot of local species in those waters.

The list goes on and on with accidents on the oceans, crap dumped into them from untreated sewers, and that big garbage pile in the north pacific doesn't inspire confidence:

You seriously want to drink this water?

RE: Deep space is useless for now.
By kypd275 on 4/20/2014 11:23:45 PM , Rating: 2
Cleaning up/purifying those water is about infinitely more doable/practical/cheaper than trying to haul water from Saturn's moon. What are you going to do it with, your magical unicorn space freighter?

Logic, please have some.

RE: Deep space is useless for now.
By shadow002 on 4/21/2014 1:05:33 AM , Rating: 1
True, but it would mean drinking water that was heavily polluted for decades and now being forced to drink this because we're out options and hope that the stations that clean it are good enough.

Countries are already broke enough with massive debts and I'm sure they'll love spending billions on those treatment stations....The ones in Dubai cost 4 billion to turn seawater into drinking water.

It's only the build price of an aircraft carrier and Dubai is just a small emirate....Now imagine doing project like that that covers the entire USA's needs.

Suddenly space unicorn is looking better isn't it?

RE: Deep space is useless for now.
By Schrag4 on 4/21/2014 1:13:25 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I think we could stretch our drinkable water out quite a bit if we stopped doing stuff like this:

Shadow, I hate to be the one pointing this out, but it seems clear from your posts that you think everyone is stupid/crazy except you. You don't seem to have much of a grasp on how figures scale, like population, land area, costs, etc. For instance, if it cost 4 billion to purify seawater for 2 million people, and if that cost would scale perfectly (it wouldn't), it would cost a "mere" 600 billion to cover the entire US. I think that's probably about 100 times cheaper than your space unicorn that would somehow transport enough water for the entire US all the way from Saturn's moons, year after year.

It's almost as if you've watched a few dozen videos produced by environmental activists without actually thinking any of it through for yourself.

RE: Deep space is useless for now.
By shadow002 on 4/21/2014 10:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
As I said earlier, there's 1 billion people going hungry and that also is difficult to get fresh water, So what would another 3 billion do?

Let's stretch that even further into the next century and who knows how many we may be by then, and still having one the earth as a home....At some point, the planet reaches a breaking point and gives humans the proverbial finger...

RE: Deep space is useless for now.
By Schrag4 on 4/22/2014 9:53:23 PM , Rating: 2
At some point, the planet reaches a breaking point and gives humans the proverbial finger

Yet another astonishing revelation - how can you possibly believe this? If the planet can't naturally provide enough food and fresh water for 10 billion people, how do you expect the human population to reach that number? And if by some magic (your unicorn again?) we were able to feed 3 or 4 billion more people than we had food for temporarily, would all of humanity die off once the magic wears off? Of course not.

RE: Deep space is useless for now.
By kypd275 on 4/22/2014 1:39:16 AM , Rating: 2
Wait, billions to do what's actually possible to do is too much for you, but spending what would likely be hundreds of billions or most likely tens of trillions or more to try to do something that is quite possibly centuries beyond our current technology is better?

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
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