Kepler 22b

Here we go again. The Kepler spacecraft found a planet in the Goldilock zone of a sunlike star. The Goldilocks zone is of course where it not too hot, not too cold. The newspapers are going to run with this and call it a 'second earth". I won’t be surprised if they announce alien life.
The planet Kepler 22b orbits the star Kepler 22 and is about 600 light years away. It was discovered by the transit method - the light from the star gets blocked as the planet moves in front of the star. They could work out the size of the planet but not the mass. We do not know if the planet has got an atmosphere / water / continents or not. It might be just a rocky lump or a Venus like hell. But they will call it a second Earth.

So kepler found kepler22b orbiting kepler 22.

copper clapper caper springs to mind…

Who are “they”? The media?

ETA: re-read and got my answer for above. :-[ I’m not sure they will myself. here is a link for anyone interested. NASA ain’t claiming life so the media better behave or we’ll sick tweefo on em!

They should really think about giving the interesting finds better names. Kepler 22B just doesn’t cut it. The triple-breasted whore of Kepler 22B? Nah. I’m sure the folk who live there call it something else.

How about LV-426…? :slight_smile:

I don’t wish to know anyone who calls his planet LV-426

Not to worry. LV-426 is a rock - no indigenous life. Could perhaps be terraformed, mind you…,-aliens-t-dsh-shirts,/Detail

The T shirt will read: “I’m from LV-426” Naah…Better to call it “Third rock from Kepler”

Pandora is an obvious choice.

more importantly; who cares? unless the residents of this planet is grilling my cats for dinner, i really dont give a shit. scientifically interresting, but unless i get live to actually travel there, it has zero impact on my life.

Hehehe, no more than half an hour after reading this, I watched a bit of news on TV. Lo and behold: “Second earth found, possible alien life, etc etc.”

And I notice that much sensation is being generated about it in the popular media as well.

You are remarkably incurious for a skeptic…

As for the impact on your life, well, the point of science is to satisfy our curiosity, not to impact our lives. I find that this sort of discovery has an absolutely profound impact on my mental life though, and considering that almost all of physics was directly or indirectly discovered as a result of astronomical research, I wouldn’t bet that this sort of discovery will NOT sooner or later have practical ramifications.

The most immediate — and beneficial — effect of discovering extraterrestrial life would be to topple several theologies with a single deft stroke, and imperil quite a few others. Culturally, it would offer rich fodder to those pursuing existential questions. Scientifically, it would significantly raise the probability of there being more ET life because we would have doubled the number of samples we have of it, samples that are, galactically speaking, jostling for elbow room on the same flagstone.

It is no overstatement to say that it would be the discovery of the millennium.


the fact that there is a possible planet out there that may support life, is no big hoo-hah to me. That penny dropped for me ages ago. I denounce the theory that all life has to be carbon-based, thus planets with a non-oxygen atmosphere wont support life, is bollocks. our minds cannot fathom the ingenius ways life has figured a way out, and just because we want to put ‘life’ into a little carbon-based box, doesnt mean there isnt bigger, more mindblowing things out there.
it’s because of my curiousity, that finding planets in the big beyond, does not blow my hair back anymore. gotten over the wow-factor yonks ago. show me actual alien life, or communication from said planet, and i will be pretty much sliding off my chair in anticipation.

I seriously doubt that any self-respecting exobiologist would dare claim that ET life must be carbon-based. Nonetheless, there are compelling chemical and physical reasons that strongly suggest that ET life would also be carbon-based to a very high degree of probability. These reasons have chiefly to do with carbon’s valence and electron shell structure (which determine the range of compounds and molecules it can form), and its relative abundance universally compared to many other elements.


No, it won’t cause many theologies to die if life were found. All that would happen would be that creationists would just modify their theory a bit, maybe at last accepting evolution, and then what you will see are TBN sponsored spaceships and Jehovah’s witness missionary crafts who’ll go there to try convert the aliens. Or an even better theory? The devil transported some ancient life from earth to this planet to try deceive people.
By the way, I always feel quite depressed that we probably won’t make contact with any et life in my lifetime. I so desparetly with the aliens to be like those little space men in the NES Track and Field video game, the part where you used to tie in the long jump.

After a bit of thought I think it is a spectacular discovery. And if we finally say there is life out there, what a magnificent next step to take. With or without media hype or panic.

Just one thing, we are seeing this planet as it existed 600 million years ago, right? So it could have exploded by now, or fallen into their sun or whatever. It is somehow very freaky.

Nonetheless, there are compelling chemical and physical reasons that strongly suggest that ET life would also be carbon-based to a very high degree of probability.
Is there any indication of what we may predict to expect with what we know of life on earth? Will their DNA, for instance, have the same 4 nucleotides or is that expecting to much? Will they HAVE DNA? Think of the answers we may finally have and just think of the questions it will generate.

Screw the religious with their fucked up preconceived “answers”, there is real science to be done here :smiley:

All that would happen would be that creationists would just modify their theory a bit
They wouldn't have to. The way some of them ignore and deny observable reality currently, they'd just continue to wallow in their absolute ignorance. Moderates, however, may camels piss on them, will scramble to find obscure passages in their holy books to confirm new findings. One can almost admire the first lot, at least they stick to their guns, the second bunch's intellectual dishonesty sickens me.

No, it’s 600 light years away, not 600 million. It still could have blown up, though.

Exobiologists reckon alien life is so different to anything we have here on Earth that it will be almost unrecognisable to us. I’m not so sure. The same features have evolved independently on Earth many times in response to evolutionary pressure, so if the environment is ‘Earthlike’ I would expect the life there to have Earthlike features, i.e. eyes, other sensory organs, etc. If there is a technological civilisation I would expect it not to be too different from ourselves, because the things (like opposable thumb, pipedalism &c) that make a technological civilisation possible for us would also make it possible for them.

Still, I doubt that they speak English or play cricket. We’ll just have to teach them.

The planet is about 600 light-years from Earth, so we’re seeing it as it was just 600 years ago, a mere eye-blink in planetary terms. As for the chemical details of ET life, without examining it, it’s impossible to say whether it would resemble that on Earth. We don’t even know yet whether a different mode of life chemistry is possible. Moreover, I doubt that we can discern actual life at the distance in question. All we can say at present is that the planet appears to be in the right zone for complex life to emerge on it. To test whether it does have life, we’d need to get a much closer look — not an easy task when you consider the mountains of effort we put into examining our closest neighbour, Mars, for life.

I’m well aware of the fluidity of theologies and how easily they get patched up to evade new evidence. However, there are a few to which the notion is absolutely central that man is some god’s supreme creation, and others which depend heavily on such an assumption. There is no conceivable way short of redefining “man” in which they can be mended should complex intelligent life at a roughly equal or greater stage of advancement to humans be discovered, so perhaps I wasn’t clear and specific enough.


Indications of the existence of life would not be undetectable. Detecting oxygen or methane in the atmosphere of an exoplanet would be a strong reason to take a closer look. Theology is becoming increasingly irrelevent as knowledge pushes back the boundaries of the mysterious. This upsurge in religiosity we are witnessing is just the last paroxysm of a dying beast. The discovery of ET will hammer the last nail in its coffin.

Sure, life of various kinds can produce traces that are detectable at stellar distances but my point was only that without some direct or near-direct examination, we wouldn’t know if such life is chemically similar or identical to what we have on Earth, or indeed that it is life at all.

Another point to note is that “carbon-based life” is not synonymous with “life on Earth”. The latter is (probably) a subset of the former unless it can be shown that “life on Earth” is the only feasible life that depends on carbon chemistry.