Posts Tagged ‘Exoplanets’

Most Habitable Exoplanets Found By NASA’s Kepler Aren’t So, Hints Gaia

October 30, 2018

Yes, before science becomes straightforward, it’s made of crooked timber: something we held as sure, and a great discovery of the last few years, is often revealed, on second examination, as in need of serious tweaking: the initial breakthrough survives, but transmogrified. As an interlude between aspects of the civilization bandwagon, with more lofty essays, let’s look at the future… space. Yes, the future is space: it is to us what the savannah, was to the genus Homo. The savanna, in combination with necessity, will, and the Élan vital of colonization, evolved us. The same Élan vital spurs space colonization. Élan vital, popularized by Nobel laureate philosopher Henri Bergson,was central to Lucretius-Epicurus philosophy of 23 centuries ago (philosophy which Christianism eradicated by burning its books, and killing its practitioners and defenders).  

It’s pretty clear that humanity, barring a deplorable accident, will be able to spawn across the galaxy: there are plenty of habitable planets out there, and, thanks to NASA, Elon Musk and his ilk, cheap access to space will come very soon.

However, the complementary technology we need for mass space colonization, compact controlled thermonuclear technology, has not yet arrived… Indeed, “habitable planet” doesn’t mean life appeared there, let alone advanced life, or civilization. So planets will be found, ripe for colonization, yet life-less. Colonizing Europa, for example, is feasible: there is plenty of water. Yet it will necessitate to harness fusion power (except if battery tech leaps ahead, and photovoltaics could be used after all…).

Nearly 4,000 exoplanets have been found by 2018.

Artist’s illustration of how rocky, potentially habitable worlds elsewhere in our galaxy might appear (from data found so far). Data gathered by telescopes in space and on the ground suggest that small, rocky planets are common (some system as Trappist, have many, close together… although not as close as here, ha ha ha.)
Credit: R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)/NASA/JPL-Caltech

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/contemplating-philosophically-trappist-habitable-planets/

Supposedly, NASA’s prolific Kepler space telescope has discovered about 30 roughly Earth-size exoplanets in their host stars’ “habitable zone” — the range of orbital distances at which liquid water can likely exist on a world’s surface.

One doesn’t want planets to be too large: they would crush life as we know it, and retain light gases, making them “mini-Neptunes”.

However observations by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia spacecraft suggest that the actual number of habitable planets among them is probably only between two and 12, NASA officials said today. Ooops.

Before the scoffing starts, let me observe that this means, mostly, that the habitable zones have to be computed again: so planets in systems viewed as inhabitable, maybe, actually habitable, after all. And vice versa. So may be only a couple of habitable Kepler planets are habitable, but others may be.

Gaia launched in December of 2013 to create an ultraprecise 3D map of our giant galaxy, the Milky Way. So far, this map includes position information for about 1.7 billion stars and distance data for about 1.3 billion stars.

Gaia’s observations suggest that some of the Kepler host stars are brighter and bigger than previously believed. Planets orbiting such stars are therefore likely larger and hotter than previously thought. questions complete

A larger, brighter star releases more light, hence more heat. The “larger” correlation is a consequence of that. Kepler uses the “transit method.”

Kepler records the brightness dips caused when a planet crosses its parent star’s face from the Kepler telescope’s perspective. Estimates of such planets’ sizes are derived from the percentage of the stellar disk they block during these “transits.” So, if the stars’ diameter is revised upward, because it’s brighter, so is the size of the planet.

Astronomers, astrobiologists and planetary scientists still have a lot to learn about exoplanet habitability. So philosophers can strike: I pointed out that life may be common in the galaxy, but not so advanced life.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/40-billion-earths-yes-no/

I pointed out too that the Earth nuclear reactor enables plate tectonic, and that the latter, hence the former, may be necessary for life. So may have to consider a radioactive belt, not just a water belt…

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/life-giving-nuclear-earth-reactor/

And in more details:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/is-this-why-we-are-alone/

“We’re still trying to figure out how big a planet can be and still be rocky,” declared Jessie Dotson, astrophysicist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. Dotson is the project scientist for Kepler’s current, extended mission, known as K2. That will depend in part upon the nature of the planet’s rock, especially its density.

As I have pointed out, The concept of the habitable zone can’t be based solely on water and orbital size relative to the star’s output. That would ignore important planetary characteristics, such as mass, which influences a world’s ability to hold onto an atmosphere, and which sort of atmosphere it holds. Then, there’s atmospheric composition, which greatly affects a planet’s temperature, and depends upon the planet’s gravity.

Life may not require liquid water on the surface. A number of frozen-over moons outside our own solar system’s habitable zone, such as Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus, have giant buried oceans that may be capable of having evolved life as we know it: at first sight, they seem to have had warm, liquid water, for even longer than Earth. Indeed their heat is gravitationally generated, from massaging the moon with the giant planet’s gravity.

(An old consideration has also been life as we don’t know it, which would depend on something other than water as a solvent; however, the combination water-carbon seems impossible to beat in the wealth of possibilities…)

The $600 million Kepler mission launched in March 2009, following a successful pioneering French satellite, named after another astronomer, Corot. The first confirmed exoplanet was discovered at the French Observatoire de Haute Provence.  As of 1 October 2018, there are 3,851 confirmed exoplanets in 2,871 stellar systems, with 636 systems having more than one planet.

Further philosophy out of all this?

Of course!

Next: the related, and philosophically as deep as it gets Big Silence From Necessary Malevolence?

Patrice Ayme

 

 

Contemplating Philosophically Trappist Habitable Planets

February 24, 2017

From TRAPPIST Monachal Studies in the Middle Ages, To Seven Planets found around one star, the arc of intelligence pursues its ascent! Colonizing the giant Milky Way four armed barred spiral galaxy, with our greedy electronic eyes to start with! The enemies of Progress shall regress!

Surviving is what we do. Contemplating exoplanets, as our ancestors did the Savannah (before colonizing it):

New potentially habitable planets have been found, a mere 39 light years away. They may harbor life. This has everything to do with philosophy. The fascist Catholic church tortured Giordano Bruno, a travelling astronomy professor, for seven years in the Vatican, then pierced his palate, and burned him alive, just for having entertained the possibility of other solar systems, complete with little green men and exobiology. Exobiology meant that the Vatican would not control the universe, as it was supposed to.

The despicable anti-intellectual madness of the Catholic theofascism is not quite dead: this is the present of Islam. And this is what the pseudo-left wants to impose on us (because that pseudo-left in truth works for plutocracy, the enemy of reason).

Another theme of the pseudo-left is that colonialism is bad (whereas most of the world, including Japan and South Africa, full of Bantus who did not use to be there a little while back, is the product of colonialism). The presence of habitable exoplanets reminds us that now colonialism, colonialism of other worlds, is a necessity. Yesterday toi fight cannibalism and slavery, amen, today to ensure the survival of intelligence.

Indeed, colonialism is a necessity for the same reason as it was for our distant ancestors and those of baboons, all of whom left the safety of the trees: colonizing the savannah was better than the alternative, which was death among the trees, in the Dark Forest (I just provided perniciously a link to an excellent Chinese Sci-Fi book; I advise NOT to read the Wikipedia article, which tells the whole tale, all too well, but go buy the book and read it first instead!).

Solar Systems Around Red Dwarves Were Found In Science Fiction So Far, Now They Are Science Fact. Impression of the view from a water bearing Trappist 1 Planet.

Solar Systems Around Red Dwarves Were Found In Science Fiction So Far, Now They Are Science Fact. Impression of the view from a water-bearing Trappist 1 Planet. Spending a bit more money on telescopes would give us real pictures within a decade.

All of morality, and more generally, philosophy, flow from the opportunity of survival, granted by the understanding that a bit more imagination provides with.

The Politically Correct movement (which is anything but) has completely forgotten the deep nature of humanity, or, more generally, intelligence. There is no correctness in the city (polis) if there is no correctness in the physical sense. “PC” is a lie, a manipulation. What they call Political Correctness is the Perfect Con. The Perfect Conspiracy of vicious greed against intelligence.

Interestingly, the astronomers who invented the acronym “TRAPPIST” to designate this Solar System clearly had a feeling for the grander perspective of history I just alluded to.

***  

Why The Name Trappist For Planets?

The Franks brought monasteries under their mighty secular wings in the Fifth century. The Franks had set up their confederation two centuries earlier, under a law written in Latin (the Franks themselves talked a form of Dutch, but they eagerly learned from and then interfere with, Rome)).

During those two centuries the Franks helped Constantine acquire control of the empire, yet, while their comrade in arms Constantine was busy taking himself for the self-described “13th Apostle”, the Franks stayed anti-Christian, while their employer invented, and imposed what he christened “Orthodox Catholicism”.

Said Catholics collapsed the empire with their Political Correctness gone completely mad. Soon enough the Founders of the Church (bishop Ambrose of Milan and Al.) had to submit to their own contradictions. To their sorrow, they put the Franks, whom they had just fought to death, in charge of defense of the empire by 400 CE.

Verily, that was shortly after the Frank Arbogast took control of the Occidental empire in 392-394 CE. By the late fifth Century the Franks understood finally that the optimal course consisted in taking control of Catholicism (“Universalism”), by inventing their own version, just as Constantine had. But while avoiding the pitfall of superstition. (Consul Clovis famously quipped that Christ would never have been crucified if his Franks had been around: a deliberate mangling of Christian superstition!) 

Under the Franks, and opposed to the Pope’s fanaticism, in particular that of  Gregory the Great, monasteries became centers of knowledge. Saint Benedict of Nursia (in England) became the sort of Catholics the Franks tolerated and encouraged: those new style catholics only preached the kind side of Christianism, not its dark side, and were not just knowledge and progress friendly, but all about it.

Benedict’s mentality led later to the order of the Trappist monks, severely dedicated to study.

The Franks would save 94% of the Greco-Roman books which survived.

In any case, this is remembered by the European astronomers who discovered TRAPPIST 1. As Newton said, repeating 12th century’s  Bernard of Chartres, four centuries later: “We stand on the shoulders of giants”. More exactly, “nanos gigantum humeris insidentes”, we are dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants. We discover truth by building on previous discoveries. The moods within Frankish monasteries, for more than a millennium, was all about studying and preserving past wisdom. Without them, all, but ten of Greco-Roman intellectual works would have been lost.

***

The  TRAPPIST exoplanet survey is led from the University of Liege, Belgium. Using the 63 centimeters Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile. A member on the team was the initial discoverer of the first exoplanet. (Chile is a honorably performing member of Greater Europe, and is full of expensive European, and US, telescopes enjoying the clarity of the high altitude Atacama desert.)

In 1995, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the University of Geneva,  used the radial velocity method with the ELODIE spectrograph on the Observatoire de Haute-Provence telescope in France to discover the first exoplanet around a main sequence star. Both received the Wolf Prize in physics (among other prizes). (My uncle Daniel Challonge founded that observatory. Continuity of civilization here too!)

Now we have discovered 3,500 exoplanets.

Interestingly, Winston Churchill wrote a fascinating, and very correct paper on exoplanets in 1939. Although the paper was unpublished, its content had got to have been known, as its author had close friends who were first class physicists. Basically Churchill wrote that there should be plenty of exoplanets. The theory of solar system formation at the time was that such a system would form only when another star passed close by, and tore material away. Churchill was not fooled and correctly guessed that the correct theory was the nebular theory (which predict plenty of planets). That was that the system gathered from a gas. The idea was discovered by Kant (in his astronomical phase) and Laplace.

***

The TRAPPIST 1 system was so fascinating that NASA spent hundreds of hours of the Spitzer, Hubble and Kepler orbiting space telescopes to decipher its mysteries. (Follow-up studies will use NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, launching in 2018 on an Ariane rocket.)

There are seven Earth size TRAPPIST 1 planets, all rotating fast around a red dwarf. Such stars are the most frequent in the universe. They last a very long time, but they flicker, sometimes emitting enormous amounts of radiation. That means that they may sterilize water-bearing planets around them. There are three such planets around TRAPPIST 1. They may need very powerful magnetic fields to keep their atmospheres (solar storms is how Mars lost its atmosphere, recent studies showed). However that means the planets have to be endowed with even more powerful nuclear reactors than Earth (and that may well be a miracle!)

The entire TRAPPIST 1 system is tiny, in the sense that it fits within the orbit of Mercury. Thus the planets are very close to each other. Standing on one of the planet’s surface, one should see geological features or clouds of neighboring worlds, which would sometimes appear twice larger than the moon in Earth’s sky!

Even if suitably hydrated, the planets may have no indigenous life, because of the radiation storms, among other problems.

***

But those planets will certainly provide humanity with habitat, thus with hope to found a Galactic Empire.

That will sound ridiculous to the PC crowd. However, anybody else realizes that planet Earth has become too small for our increasingly divine technology.

So Trappist 1 should be viewed as a suitable target for colonization (that very non PC word again!) By the time we get there, may have so much technology that we could inhabit any system, and the space in between.

If the fuelless propulsion engine turns out to be real, we would have a means to go to distant stars at very high speeds.

Right now the fastest speeds we can achieve are of the order of 40 kilometers per second, 1/10^4 the speed of light. TRAPPIST 1 is 39 light years away. That means it would take 350,000 years to get there. From the chemical impulse propulsion we have now. However other modes of propulsion exist, or are now imaginable…

“Fuelless” propulsion has apparently been observed. If the effect is real (as it seems), its origin is deep in the foundations of Quantum Physics. (I proposed my own mechanism, Dark Matter Propulsion; researchers at NASA have proposed that the ever mysterious “vacuum energy” is tapped).

Fuelless propulsion achieves at least 100 times the energy efficiency of solar sails and laser push propulsion. The latter has been proposed to send a smartphone sized probe through the Trisolaris Centaurus system, which, it was suggested, it could reach in 20 years (a 100 meter telescope would be way cheaper and is certainly feasible).

So, weirdly enough, there is hope to conquer the entire galaxy pretty soon. The North Korean dictator’s vicious ways may help: Kim just poisoned to death his half-brother in the Kuala Lumpur airport, using VX nerve agent. Taking out Kim, a necessary task, while not allowing him to nuke Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing or LA, should bolster research in more advanced tech.

Spending more on powerful telescopes with existing technology should make us capable of seeing directly the surfaces of such planets (because the Red Dwarves don’t shine brightly, one can look at their planets directly; for stars like the sun, Sol, Alpha and Beta Centauri, one needs to put a screen in front, to mask the star’s blinding light, something which can be done in space, floating hundreds of kilometers away; the technology exists, it’s just a matter of spending half a billion dollars to launch the contraption…) The funding for a system of mighty telescopes is less than one would get by taxing just one of the world’s mightiest plutocrats. Yes, just one, fairly.

The ways of the Lord, namely within ourselves, the possibilities our deepest minds conceive, and bring forth, can only be mysterious. Imagination of the better parts of our best minds, is beyond the comprehension of the public discourse constituting the minds of most of us.

Yet we all have to progress in intelligence, emotional or rational, if we want to improve the probability of survival of terrestrial intelligence. Pretty pictures of imagined surfaces of exoplanets should help.

Patrice Ayme’    

Subtle Is The World, And Vicious Sometimes

April 2, 2015

Abstract: Pluto is the worst side of man, and a human creation, given by our lord, biological evolution. Naturally enough, the worst metal created by man is called Plutonium. This man-made radionuclide has a half-time of 25,000 years, and a microscopic quantity kills. Assembled fast enough, a few pounds can destroy a city, and trigger arbitrarily large thermonuclear fusion.

However, Plutonium can be indispensable in the furthering of goodness.

So can Pluto.

Yet, managing one, and the other, requires superior wisdom. Just as wisdom requires the Dark Side. Subtlety is no luxury, but a moral command.

***

TO EXPLORE MOST EXO-PLANETS, WE REQUIRE PLUTONIUM:

Aeolis Mons, Mars, Photo Courtesy Of Plutonium Inside Curiosity

Aeolis Mons, Mars, Photo Courtesy Of Plutonium Inside Curiosity

There is a global anti-nuclear paranoia, at least among so-called, self-declared “progressives”. In truth civil nuclear energy, properly done is not just rather safe, but much safer than the alternative (burning fossil fuels, or cutting on food quality and quantity to make fuel).

One should not put nuclear reactors in the way of tsunamis (as Japan did systematically), or by building dangerous reactor types, because the safe ones cost a bit more. Also one should systematically recycle nuclear fuel (to increase yields, augment efficiency, and reduce waste pollution).

Another obvious strategy to pursue is Thorium-U 233 reactors, which cannot be used militarily, and where the bad waste lasts a maximum of three centuries (by contrast of a half period of 25,000 years for Plutonium).

The anti-civilian nuclear energy paranoia is cheap indignation. It has diverted attention from the real problems: the confiscation of the economy by banks, the addition of a total of 50 gigatons of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the lack of democracy, the pernicious corruption in the West, thanks to the political-corporations-plutocrats complex.

Another problem is the potential growth of nuclear weapons (developing the Thorium cycle would allow to short-circuit this, paradoxically). Confusing civilian nuclear power and military nuclear power is grave moral mistake.

The result of the anti-nuclear paranoia has been that NASA ran out of energy source for a successor of the Curiosity rover. There is a strong need for such a machine, as Curiosity found a lot of tantalizing hints for water and life on Mars. However, it has proven difficult to make one powered only by solar energy.

At this point, refusing Plutonium has meant to refuse to explore exo-planets. The “New Horizons” probe rushing to… Pluto is, appropriately enough, propelled with Plutonium. The lack of missions is directly related to the lack of Plutonium. Many of these missions will feed not just science, but philosophy (Ceres was just found to have water; Europa and Enceladus seem to have active oceans. If life does not happen there, we could certainly install it, something that is evident with Mars.)

So it is a good sign that a tipping point has been reached, and that RTG are going to be made again in the future. It may be the beginning of deciding that silliness will not stand in the way of science anymore.

We have no future without much better technology: there are way too many people for it to be sustainable with existing technology.

Exploring planets and their history brings great knowledge, but also great lessons. It also forces us to develop new technologies, which may be solutions to problems that are there, but we did not identify yet.

***

In The INTEREST OF PEACE, BE TOUGHER WITH IRAN THAN WITH SADDAM:

The preceding ought not to be construed as a support for Iranian “research” reactors producing Plutonium (Iran has one in the north; not to be confused with Bushwer, the energy producing reactor far away on the Persian Gulf).

BTW, the talks with Iran have sort of aborted; clearly the theocrats in Teheran are still suffering some mental block; while they got counter-attacked vigorously by the Saudis in Yemen.

To make an accord with Iran on nuclear weapons without the possibility to examine all of Iran without warning is the bare minimum. This  sort of accord Saddam Hussein had agreed to… and it was implemented.

However, even then, the Bush administration claimed the United Nations inspections were insufficient, could not be believed, and, thus, attacked. Therefore even such an accord with Iran would not guarantee that a nuclear arm race would not ignite in the Middle East. (Saudi Arabia has one of the top five largest defense budget, world-wide! So could easily go nuclear.)

Hence an accord with Iran on nuclear weapons will have to be tougher than the one that had been done with Saddam Hussein, otherwise it’s worse than none.

***

CIVILIZATION NEEDS CIVILIZING DEFENSE:

This does not mean that, each time something can be presented as a technological progress, it ought to be developed. For example, GMOs, Genetically Modified Organisms, can be good or bad, depending upon the details, and the context. So it can never be a question of being pro-GMO, or anti-GMO. It is the same with nuclear: anti-nuclear sometimes is a matter of civilization (say with the proliferation of nuclear weapons, which has absolutely to be prevented). Just as being pro-nuclear can also be a matter of civilization (to help cutting GHG emissions).

To be good does not mean to be inert, with a big smile on one’s face, and making only kind gestures.

Daesh (so-called Islamist State, or Caliphate) destroys everything in its way, especially reality, and thus history. What does the meta-good does in such a case? The same as with the Nazis: fuel and arm the bombers, attack.

(By the way, American and French planes presently bombing in Syria and Iraq have been so careful that nearly all “bombing” missions do not release their bombs. That is very good, and a far cry from the criminal, or near-criminal drone bombings conducted by Obama in the past.)

To be good at any instant, and for any gesture, and any thought, or emotion, in nearly all cases, will mean that one ends up meta-bad. This was the exact paradox of the Germans when Nazism came to rule. Germans thought, at the time, that they would be good by not intervening as the mad pilots too control of the ship of state.

Germany gave the Kurds 30 anti-tank Milan missiles. They are now exhausted, and France is going to send more Milans. And also more French Special Forces (who direct air strikes). The French presidency just received 5 Kurd generals, who first paid their respect to the site Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish hypermarket Islamist mass murders.

It is not just the devil who is in the details. Goodness, also, comes from examining the details. Goodness does not come just from the heart, it comes from attention to detail.

Socrates famously said that the unexamined life was not worth living.

When civilization is attacked, civilization should fight back. An old concept the French empire used to justify itself was “Mission civilisatrice”. The notion was frantically demolished by a whole series of French philosophers and sociologists whose business model was to play hysterical opposition to the established financial order. The result was the encroachments of vast empires instead: the USA, the USSR, now Russia, China, and of course, all over, above and around, global plutocracy.

The notion I advance is “defense civilisatrice”, the concept Obama violated, when he unleashed the drones, thickly, as if they were caviar on homemade bread. It is not that civilization has to be defended. Defense has to be a teacher.

On April 1, in Putin’s joke was to close the only Tatar TV Channel: Stalin deported the Tatars from Crimea (where they had been for more than a millennium). The always vigilant Putin prefers that they be exterminated culturally (as Crimea has been “Russian” always, like Ukraine, and probably Poland). If civilization does not push back, Pluto will wallop us.

Ultimate victory has been achieved when the enemy’s culture has been eradicated.

War has to be educative.

The European Union is preparing an assault against the monopolist, tax thief Google. (Google just employed Ms. Ruth Porat, a Wall Street manipulator, for 70 million dollars. Financial conspirators are most esteemed nowadays: this is the corrupted, rotting side, of today’s socio-economy.)

Not that the EU’s great assault against Microsoft worked that well: modifying itself like the malaria parasite it claims to be obsessed by, Bill Gates became a “friend of man”… like the malaria parasite, all over inside, perpetually mutating, but richer. And certainly a more lethal example.

Civilizing defense requires similarly to morph, swiftly and intelligently, always. Be it only to keep the parasites in check. Right now, it requires for goodness to make war in the Middle-East.

Patrice Ayme’