Signs in the Sun, Moon, and Stars

Not too hot, not too cold: could the ‘Goldilocks’ planet support life?

The Independent.co.uk reports: “The search for a faraway planet that could support life has found the most promising candidate to date, in the form of a distant world some 120,000 billion miles away from Earth.

Scientists believe that the planet is made of rock, like the Earth, and sits in the ‘Goldilocks zone’ of its sun, where it is neither too hot nor too cold for water to exist in liquid form – widely believed to be an essential precondition for life to evolve.

It is unlikely that anyone would be able to visit planet Gliese 581g in the near future as it would take 20 years travelling at the speed of light to reach it, and many thousands of years in a spacecraft built using the best-available rocket technology.

The planet is named after its star, Gliese 581, a red dwarf found in the constellation Libra, and is the sixth planet in its solar system. Scientists said last night that it is the most habitable planet yet found beyond our own Solar System, and a prime spot for the possible existence of extraterrestrial life.

Two previous claims for the existence of earth-like planets in the same solar system were subsequently found to be overstated in that they were either too far away or too near to Gliese 581, making it too cold or too hot for liquid water and life to exist.

However, the latest discovery, made by American astronomers, put the orbit of planet Gliese 581g between the orbits of the two previous contenders for earth-like worlds, said Professor Steve Vogt of the University of California at Santa Cruz, who led the study.

‘We had planets on both sides of the habitable zone – one too hot and one too cold – and now we have one in the middle that’s just right. This planet sits right between the two of them. It is right smack in the middle and it couldn’t be more in the habitable zone where liquid water and life could exist,’ Professor Vogt said. ‘We estimate it has a mass of between three and four times that of Earth, which means it is small enough to be made of rock. It means it has a surface you could stand on and a gravity similar to Earth’s that could hold a nice atmosphere in place,’ he added…” (We are informed by the astronomers and scientists that there probably are millions or even billions of galaxies like ours. I have no doubt that life will be discovered in space; especially demonic beings. Hebrews 1:2 [worlds] – demons – Ephesians 2:2; 6:12. See also the next report.)

First Habitable Exoplanet Could Be Discovered by May 2011

Wired.com reports: “A new mathematical analysis predicts the first truly habitable exoplanet will show itself by early May 2011.

Well, more or less. ‘There is some wiggle room,’ said Samuel Arbesman of the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science, lead author of a new paper posted online and to be published in PLoS ONE October 4. His calculations predict a 50 percent probability that the first habitable exoplanet will be discovered in May 2011, a 66 percent chance by the end of 2013 and 75 percent chance by 2020.

‘This is, as far as we can tell, right around the corner,’ said exoplanet expert Greg Laughlin of the University of California, Santa Cruz, coauthor of the paper.

Astronomers have found 490 planets outside our solar system to date, and those planets have been getting steadily smaller and more Earth-like. But none so far actually resemble Earth in its most important property: the ability to support life.

So Arbesman and Laughlin devised a mathematical way to define habitability using the techniques of scientometrics, the scientific study of science itself.

The pair considered a planet’s mass and its surface temperature at the points in its orbits when it is closest and furthest away from its star, and calculated which of these properties would be friendliest to liquid water (and therefore, presumably, life). Then they plotted their habitability function on a scale of 0 to 1, where 0 is uninhabitable and 1 is a clone of Earth…” (Fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven – Luke 21:11, 25.)

China launches Moon mission

BBC News reports: “A Chinese rocket carrying a probe destined for the Moon has blasted into space.

A Long March 3C rocket with the Chang’e-2 probe took off from Xichang launch centre at about 1100 GMT.

The rocket will shoot the craft into the trans-lunar orbit, after which the satellite is expected to reach the Moon in about five days.

Chang’e-2 will be used to test key technologies and collect data for future landings.

China says it will send a rover on its next mission, and it also has ambitions to put humans on the surface of the lunar body at some future date.

The Xinhua News Agency said Chang’e-2 would circle just 15km (nine miles) above the rocky terrain in order to take photographs of possible landing locations.

It is China’s second lunar probe – the first was launched in 2007. The craft stayed in space for 16 months before being intentionally crashed on to the Moon’s surface.

China launched its first manned flight into low-Earth orbit in 2003; and two more followed, with the most recent one in 2008.

So far, only three countries have managed to independently send humans into space: China, Russia and the US…” (And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring – Luke 21:25.)