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September 29, 2010 2:46 PM   Subscribe

Astronomers have found the first exoplanet within the "habitable" band around a star, or within the distance band around a start that would allow for liquid water. The planet is roughly 3 times the size of the Earth and orbits red dwarf Gliese 581 every 36.6 days at a distance of about 13 million miles.
posted by Punkey (85 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Grr, three times the mass. It bugs the crap out of me when people mix up size and mass, and there I go. Oh well.
posted by Punkey at 2:52 PM on September 29, 2010


*tentacle covers telescope camera* *static*
posted by Ironmouth at 2:52 PM on September 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


DIBS! I call dibs.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:53 PM on September 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Tidally locked as well, which would be a bummer for people expecting such petty conveniences as "night" and "day".
posted by Artw at 2:54 PM on September 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ah well, we were born too soon. Have fun, future babies. Sorry about ... everything.
posted by penduluum at 2:54 PM on September 29, 2010 [21 favorites]


If we ever move there, we might have the technology to build rotating cities, moving castles, etc.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:56 PM on September 29, 2010


Tidally locked as well, which would be a bummer for people expecting such petty conveniences as "night" and "day".

Yeah, but 3 times the size of Earth! Think of all the landfill space!
posted by Joe Beese at 2:57 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another interesting aspect:

Another advantage for potential life on Gliese 581g is that its star is “effectively immortal,” Butler said. “Our sun will go 10 billion years before it goes nova, and life here ceases to exist. But M dwarfs live for tens, hundreds of billions of years, many times the current age of the universe. So life has a long time to get a toehold.”
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on September 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


So this means The Chronicles of Riddick was a documentary?
posted by localroger at 3:05 PM on September 29, 2010


Yeah, the tidal lock is an issue. No, we probably won't be able to see if the planet is currently tidal locked (it took until 1965 to show that Mercury wasn't tidally locked to the Sun and instead had an orbital resonance, a fact that did not make it into the textbooks for a while), but that close, it might well be. The sun is smaller and the planet is larger, so that gives it a better chance of not being tidally locked, but it's also much closer, and the distance from planet to star has a hefty exponent that dominates the equation determining time to tidal lock.

The good news is that, if 581g has a moon, that might not tidally locked, and so it would not necessarily suffer the "equatorial band of habitability" issue. If it were massive enough, it could retain an atmosphere and, attached to 581g, it would be in the Goldilocks Zone, too.
posted by adipocere at 3:07 PM on September 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


DIBS! I call dibs.

Do you have a flag?
posted by Errant at 3:11 PM on September 29, 2010 [18 favorites]


Tidally locked as well, which would be a bummer for people expecting such petty conveniences as "night" and "day".

Yeah but any 'people' moving there would've spent how many generations in space prior? I think they could handle it.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 3:12 PM on September 29, 2010


Pff. Those guys would probably just want to hang out witha bunch of Transhumanist weirdos in the Oort cloud anyway.
posted by Artw at 3:14 PM on September 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


The big question is whether we send the hairdressers and telephone sanitizers there, or leave them here.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:16 PM on September 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


So I would be three times the weight and ten times as many years old. Include me out.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:17 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hear they need a lot of social media marketing expertise out there...
posted by Artw at 3:17 PM on September 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well that's good because Bebo sent a message there!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:22 PM on September 29, 2010


The message was sent to 581c, alas, not 581g.
posted by brina at 3:29 PM on September 29, 2010


Just what I need. A planet where I can be 10 times older and 3 times as heavy.
posted by srboisvert at 3:30 PM on September 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


They will still receive it at 581g, though, right?

Or do they have incompatible broadcast systems there?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:36 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is one of the most exciting astronomical discoveries this decade for me. I know that more will probably be discovered soon, but there's a part of me that wants to launch a spaceship out there now, accelerating it as fast as we can, so that we can get a closer look before I die. It's 20 lightyears away. If we spent 5 years building it, how fast could we get a space probe there? I think I can hang on another 50 years.

It's been decades since Voyager, it's high time we sent another ship out of our system.
posted by brenton at 3:41 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Gravity dictates that such a close-in planet would keep the same side facing the star at all times, the same way the moon always shows the same face to Earth. That means the planet has a blazing hot daytime side, a frigid nighttime side, and a band of eternal sunrise or sunset where water — and perhaps life — could subsist comfortably. Any life on this exotic world would be confined to this perpetual twilight zone." (emphasis added)

There's something awfully romantic about this idea - it's practically begging to be fictionalized (if it hasn't already - I'm no sci fi buff). Also, cool discovery, thanks for sharing.
posted by Zephyrial at 3:49 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


If we spent 5 years building it, how fast could we get a space probe there?

It's not just the problem of accelerating a probe to relativistic velocities. You've also got to slow the thing down once it gets there.

This will be... challenging.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:52 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


You have to admit that accelerating anything larger than a proton to relativistic velocities is a little beyond us right now.

Unless you want to build Orion, and break the Space Treaty.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:55 PM on September 29, 2010


Actually the equatorial band thing might make it easier for life to evolve. You've got massive heat on one side, and ice on the other. That's going to create a lot of interesting energy gradients, I would imagine. There must be some part of the planet at the right spot.
posted by delmoi at 4:01 PM on September 29, 2010


So I guess the UN's "Alien Ambassador" idea wasn't all that stupid.
posted by Dumsnill at 4:03 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The problem with the equatorial band is that the whole atmosphere freezes out on the night side, so the balmy equatorial band is in vacuum. If the planet is in resonance instead of locked (which is really, really unlikely for a world at this distance) then you get freezing and searing winds that make hurricanes look like a gentle summer breeze by comparison.
posted by localroger at 4:06 PM on September 29, 2010


Heavier than earth with a red sun? I eagerly await the discovery of thought-beasts.
posted by benzenedream at 4:08 PM on September 29, 2010


If we spent 5 years building it, how fast could we get a space probe there? I think I can hang on another 50 years.

Assuming you are serious, we would have to build something that travels faster than Voyager 1, which currently is the fastest travelling man-made object outside the solar system. And when I say "faster", I mean many, many thousand times as fast. And then, as Joe points out, you have to find a way to slow it down again. And then wait twenty years for the first signals to come back.

Voyager 1 has been travelling for just over 33 years now, and is about seventeen million km from earth. A light year is just under ten trillion km. Put another way, if the distance from here to Gliese 581 were the distance from New York to Los Angeles, Voyager 1 has travelled about one foot so far.

In short, don't hold your breath.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:17 PM on September 29, 2010 [16 favorites]


then you get freezing and searing winds that make hurricanes look like a gentle summer breeze by comparison.

Doesn't seem to have stopped Vin Diesel from kicking ass.
posted by GuyZero at 4:21 PM on September 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, for those who know stuff, do we know that there's not civilizations there already with radio capabilities? They think of pointing the SETI in its direction?
posted by angrycat at 4:26 PM on September 29, 2010


If we spent 5 years building it, how fast could we get a space probe there?

Well the fastest object yet made by man was the Helios probe in the 70s which went about 150,000 mph, and that was using the gravity of the sun to slingshot it around.

Let's very (very very) optimistically assume we can make something that escapes the gravity of the Solar System at 10x that speed. Gliese 581 is 20.3 light years away. At 1,500,000 miles per hour that would take...

...calculates...

9311 Years. To put that in perspective, if the first Pharaoh of ancient Egypt had had access to technology far in advance of what we now have, his astronauts would still only be a little over half way there.

Interstellar travel is difficult in ways that strain the imagination. If we achieve it in the next 1000 years, I'd be impressed with our species.
posted by keratacon at 4:29 PM on September 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


It's only 20 light years away from what I read.

If we found one this close, such planets could be very common.
posted by philipy at 4:29 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's 20 lightyears away. If we spent 5 years building it, how fast could we get a space probe there? I think I can hang on another 50 years.

We are definitely at the point where we could get a probe there faster by waiting.

Our best technology today would probably take tens of thousands of years to get a probe there (Voyager I would take almost half a million years if we'd aimed it at Gliese). If we can get a 1% speed increase in the next a century, a probe launched in 100 years would pass a probe launched now en route.
posted by justkevin at 4:30 PM on September 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think it's a neat idea that if we send probes into deep space, they might be passed by subsequent, more advanced/faster probes. The first things we send will be the last to arrive.
posted by brundlefly at 4:35 PM on September 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


"Out of the way, old man!"
posted by brundlefly at 4:35 PM on September 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


> I think I can hang on another 50 years.

>> In short, don't hold your breath.

Heh.
posted by vidur at 4:36 PM on September 29, 2010


I've got a Bumblebee class ship, an empty cargo hold and 40 pounds of Centuari Glue-Hash. Who's in?
posted by The Whelk at 5:03 PM on September 29, 2010


Okay I have the whole tidal lock/circadian thing figured out. I am going to get in on the land rush early (obviously this will require massive bribes paid to William Swearengen-Blagojevich XVII or whoever ends up being appointed planetary governor, but that's cool because I will put $0.01 in a savings account just before I place myself into suspended animation) and buy a huge rectangular strip of land whose long axis is perpendicular to the terminator. I will then install a giant oval railroad on this strip with lots of exciting scenery all around. People will be able to lease (on terms extremely favorable to me and probably also to Gov. WSB) permanent dwellings aboard this train, which will allow them to experience "day" and "night" and thereby differentiate themselves from the dirty peons toiling in the beryllium mines! Oh and the train will be powered by the temperature differential between the light and dark sides or something.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 5:44 PM on September 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm afraid my associate, George Hearst Beeblebrox, has already laid claim to the pocket of spacetime encompassing your interesting little railroad.
posted by zota at 5:55 PM on September 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


"I think it's a neat idea that if we send probes into deep space, they might be passed by subsequent, more advanced/faster probes. The first things we send will be the last to arrive."

There is a neat sci-fi short story about interstellar safari hunting, and how it got banned. About fifty years later, humanity decides to learn more about some of the prize beasts and scientific missions started reopening the old hunting routes.
Scientists arrive, study the beasts, learn a lot about them, man and beast become quite friendly with each other. Anyway, gotta head back to earth.
The next week, some more earthlings arrive. The beasts amble up to the ship to greet the scientists, and trophy-seeking hunters hop out and kill them. Lambs to the slaughter.

(A hunting ship from 50 years ago got passed en route by the more advanced science ship)
posted by -harlequin- at 6:06 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can be Madison Avenue is already scrambling to exploit this.
posted by bwg at 6:06 PM on September 29, 2010


It is possible that the atmosphere will NOT all freeze on the dark side.
"Simulations of the Atmospheres of Synchronously Rotating Terrestrial Planets Orbiting M Dwarfs: Conditions for Atmospheric Collapse and the Implications for Habitability", Icarus V129, pp450-465, 1997

Such "twilight" worlds have appeared in science fiction, and yes, they are romantic. I recall one in George R. R. Martin's Dying of the Light, and in Isaac Asimov's Foundation And Empire.

I calculate that if the average separation between habitable planets is 20 light years, then a sphere 100 light years in diameter would contain about 125 such planets.
posted by Nyrath at 6:23 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, so it's not gonna be Gaia II. But if it's got an orbital resonance it might at least be Trenco.
posted by eritain at 6:50 PM on September 29, 2010


FUCK THE OUTER SPACE TREATY LET'S BUILD NUCLEAR ROCKET SHIPS AND DO THIS THING
posted by indubitable at 7:03 PM on September 29, 2010 [11 favorites]


I calculate that if the average separation between habitable planets is 20 light years, then a sphere 100 light years in diameter would contain about 125 such planets.

And just because that made me look it up, the galaxy can be approximated as a cylinder 100k light years in diameter and 100 light years tall. Of course, stars aren't distributed uniformly and I bet there's an "uninhabitable" zone towards the center of the galaxy, but still.
posted by heathkit at 7:13 PM on September 29, 2010


Ants huh?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:15 PM on September 29, 2010


I think I can hang on another 50 years.

If we used 1950's thermonuclear pulse drive technology you could theoretically get there in around 200 years. Maybe even sooner if we updated designs.

Later studies indicate that the top cruise velocity that can theoretically be achieved by a thermonuclear Orion starship is about 8% to 10% of the speed of light (0.08-0.1c).[1] An atomic (fission) Orion can achieve perhaps 3%-5% of the speed of light. A nuclear pulse drive starship powered by matter-antimatter pulse units would be theoretically capable of obtaining a velocity between 50% to 80% of the speed of light.

At 0.1c, Orion thermonuclear starships would require a flight time of at least 44 years to reach Alpha Centauri, not counting time needed to reach that speed (about 36 days at constant acceleration of 1g or 9.8 m/s2). At 0.1c, an Orion starship would require 100 years to travel 10 light years. The late astronomer Carl Sagan suggested that this would be an excellent use for current stockpiles of nuclear weapons.

posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:20 PM on September 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


It could be quite habitable, actually.

For one thing, the gravitational acceleration at the equator is only going to be about 45% more than the Earth's - because the mass is three times as big, but the radius is (the cube root of 3) times as big.

For another, just because it's tidally locked, doesn't mean that it doesn't librate... so that perhaps a pretty large portion of the surface gets to see the sun at some point.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:33 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The crucial question that I am surprised no one has asked: How long would it take to get there at Warp 9?
posted by Danf at 7:44 PM on September 29, 2010


basically I am so into this it hurts like passing a stone.
posted by The Whelk at 7:47 PM on September 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


The problem isn't so much in going fast, as it is in not colliding with stuff. You've seen what small gravel does to your windshield. At relativistic speeds it will do real damage.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:50 PM on September 29, 2010


The problem isn't so much in going fast, as it is in not colliding with stuff. You've seen what small gravel does to your windshield. At relativistic speeds it will do real damage.

Don't worry James Cameron has it all figured out.

When acceleration is completed, the ship is rotated 180 degrees so that the mirror shield faces forward. Now the shield performs another role, acting as a multi-layer interstellar debris shield. Although intense magnetic fields are used to deflect stray gas molecules, the occasional dust grain requires a physical barrier. The shield is in multiple layers, spaced one hundred meters apart. Impact of a debris grain (traveling at a relative speed of 0.7C) with the first layer of the shield causes vaporization into a plasma. The spray of plasma particles strikes the second layer, and the impacts cause spalling from the back of the second layer. These particles are stopped by the third layer. A fourth layer acts as a backup in the unlikely event that something gets past the third layer. Once cruise speed is reached, this shield is detached and moved by small thrusters thousands of miles in front of the ship, to improve survivability if a larger particle of debris is encountered.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:40 PM on September 29, 2010


"Shields! SHIELDS!"
posted by zoogleplex at 8:40 PM on September 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, with a nice temperature gradient it could sustain life at some particular latitude... But could it sustain the conditions needed for technologically advanced, intelligent life? I'm thinking "Guns, Germs, and Steel" stuff here. Would a circular strip topology be worse, or better, in those terms?
posted by otherthings_ at 9:32 PM on September 29, 2010


If we have the energy to move a ship at relativistic velocity to spare, will we have the energy to just spin the planet back up again? Wikipedia says the Earth has a rotational kinetic energy of 2.14×10^29 J Which is staggering, but only about a hundred million times more than the amount of energy needed to accelerate a thousand ton ship to .2 c and back down again, so not completely impossible.

It'd be an engineering challenge sure, and a long term project, but if you've got the ship in orbit, why not give it a go?
posted by Grimgrin at 9:44 PM on September 29, 2010


Bad Astronomer Phil Plait has a pretty good write up.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:53 PM on September 29, 2010


I imagine it would be catastrophic for the existing biosphere, if there is one.
posted by twirlip at 9:53 PM on September 29, 2010


I call top bunk!
posted by DigDugDag at 10:02 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I imagine it would be catastrophic for the existing biosphere, if there is one.

Who went and put that existing biosphere on our planet???
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:16 PM on September 29, 2010


If there's no biosphere, I'm staying home.
posted by twirlip at 10:17 PM on September 29, 2010


The happened a bit early. This was not supposed to happen until next year. Someone has been mucking with flux capacitors again.
posted by cftarnas at 11:11 PM on September 29, 2010


(I've been reading Tintin lately and when he goes to the moon they do it in a nuclear powered rocket. Just sayin'.)
posted by From Bklyn at 12:09 AM on September 30, 2010


Oh and the train will be powered by the temperature differential between the light and dark sides or something.

I've read that story! The city-on-rails was motivated/powered by the thermal expansion and contraction of the rails it rode around the planet. Was that a John Varley short set on Mercury?


otherthings_: I'm thinking "Guns, Germs, and Steel" stuff here. Would a circular strip topology be worse, or better, in those terms?

Seems like it would be the same, since we basically have a circular-strip topology here on Earth. The poles are uninhabitable, and civilization developed in the equatorial and temperate regions. On a tide-locked planet, you'd have basically the same geometry, with the subsolar and darkside areas as "poles". Of course the actual geometry would be different (how wide is the strip? we don't know), and lots of Diamond's reasoning is about the sizes and shapes of particular climate regions within the earthly habitable zone.

Hmm, if libration is significant, as l_y suggests then there would also be a pretty fundamental variation in climate depending on whether you're near the equator (where the terminator moves the most) or the pole (where it moves the least). If life on the planet favors a sweet spot (a balance between spatial and temporal uniformity, maybe?) then there could potentially be four disconnected habitable regions on the planet, separated by a mindboggling variety of different kinds of impassable wastes. This totally cries out for some sort of Hal Clement / Fritz Leiber / Rosemary Kirstein threeway mashup. I'll be in my bunk.
posted by hattifattener at 12:38 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The crucial question that I am surprised no one has asked: How long would it take to get there at Warp 9?

Warp 9 is 1000x the speed of light on the TNG scale, so about a week.
posted by heathkit at 2:57 AM on September 30, 2010


> Put another way, if the distance from here to Gliese 581 were the distance from New York to Los Angeles, Voyager 1 has travelled about one foot so far.

Very interesting replies to my initial question! Though of course there's no need to slow down when it's going to be closer than a light year for several years. At this point it seems the biggest challenge is the cost of lifting things into space. If each Voyager amount of fuel gets you one foot closer to New York, that's a fairly attainable number of Voyager-equivalent-fuel's to get us to New York. And by attainable, I mean, if we dedicated all of the planets resources to lifting fuel for the next decade. Which we obviously should do!
posted by brenton at 3:26 AM on September 30, 2010


Men, women, and children wanted for hazardous journey. No wages, bitter cold, long years of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.
posted by AugieAugustus at 4:37 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've read that story! The city-on-rails was motivated/powered by the thermal expansion and contraction of the rails it rode around the planet. Was that a John Varley short set on Mercury?

Kim Stanley Robinson's "Blue Mars" novel had this. I don't know if it was an original idea or not.
posted by papercrane at 5:07 AM on September 30, 2010


A thin band of habitable land in a hostile environment, eh? So it's like a ring... or maybe a Halo?

I GOT F-ING DIBS ON THE BANSHEE, SWORD, AND THE BR RIFLE... NOOBS.
posted by Debaser626 at 5:28 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


If each Voyager amount of fuel gets you one foot closer to New York, that's a fairly attainable number of Voyager-equivalent-fuel's to get us to New York.

Voyager will go past 20 light years, and even past hundreds of thousands of light years to the edge of the galaxy. The only problem is we'll all be dead. We need to increase speed, not distance, which is annoying because of the whole 1/2mv^2 thing and because you have to carry all the fuel that you need for both acceleration and deceleration.
posted by miyabo at 5:38 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting link, Nyrath, thanks for the pointer.
posted by localroger at 5:39 AM on September 30, 2010


What I'm confused about is now scientists are saying, this is just the tip of the iceberg, we might find planets in the Alpha Centauri system.

Why didn't they look there first? Bit closer and all.
posted by angrycat at 5:49 AM on September 30, 2010


Why didn't they look there first? Bit closer and all.

As I understand it, our current technology requires us to be observing the target system 'edge on.' Alpha Centauri isn't oriented in such a way, making it very difficult for us to observe planets passing in front of the host star.
posted by papercrane at 6:05 AM on September 30, 2010


Via a scientist friend: Laser like pulses detected on Gliese 581g.

Dibs may have already been had.
posted by sonika at 7:41 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


papercrane,

One of the planet detection techniques, transits, does require that the target system be edge-on. The Kepler spacecraft uses that technique. The discovery of Gliese 581's planets was done by measuring radial velocities, which doesn't require any special orientation.

The Alpha Centauri system has been searched for planets, but none have been found yet. Speaking of which, this blog has more on the Gliese 581 system.
posted by lukemeister at 7:49 AM on September 30, 2010


The Yahoo News comments on this news item are just amazing. No wonder NASA keeps losing funding. There wasn't even one single comment to the effect of "this is neat." This one reminds me of several arguments I've had here on MeFi:

could be...might be....if this, if that. plus we will NEVER be able to travel there. "several generations" to get there. that means peeps would have to live and die for a couple hundreds years on a craft traveling there....all for what? you get there and find it is a giant rock!?! go back and watch more stargate peeps. no wonder there are still starving peeps all over the world. look at all the energy that man wastes daydreaming, staring at the stars and wondering...."what if"....instead of doing something useful.

OK, so maybe normal human society has forever passed the brief point at which it was interested in space. Fine. I will build and fly the damn ship all by my lonesome, if I have to. One less mouth to feed on Earth. That should help with the starving peeps.

I'll send you all a postcard.
posted by Xezlec at 8:31 AM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dibs may have already been had.

/me reaches for stash of smallpox-infected blankets
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:10 AM on September 30, 2010


Xezlec,

You certainly have the name for interstellar exploration!
posted by lukemeister at 10:11 AM on September 30, 2010


Thanks, everyone, for all the pointers (here and here) to sf stories about tidally locked planets! I should have known that there is no new thing under any sun.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 12:52 PM on September 30, 2010


FUCK THE OUTER SPACE TREATY LET'S BUILD NUCLEAR ROCKET SHIPS AND DO THIS THING

IM IN.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:06 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Has this already been posted or discussed or is it even real? (been searching the blue but could be overlooking the thread)


Aliens have deactivated British and US nuclear missiles, say US military pilots
Aliens have landed, infiltrated British nuclear missile sites and deactivated the weapons, according to US military pilots.

posted by The Lady is a designer at 9:09 AM on October 1, 2010


TLiaD: Already posted (but a different link).
posted by hattifattener at 12:34 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seems that Gliese 581 g may not exist afterall.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:08 AM on October 13, 2010


Stop pooping on my dreams.
posted by The Whelk at 12:53 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


And: an astrophysicist from Australia claims that while doing a SETI search two years ago, he picked up a “suspicious signal” from the vicinity of the Gliese 581 system, and a couple of websites have connected some dots between that signal and a potentially habitable Gliese 581g.

A link from the above link: a 2009 article about the mysterious signal. Frank Drake: "I know the scientist, and when he first announced it, I asked him for the details, and he wouldn't send them to me," astronomer and SETI pioneer Frank Drake told SPACE.com. "I'm very suspicious."

Even so, I've no doubt that this civilization is on the verge of discoveries that will make even Gliese 581 g forgettable in the long run.

posted by IvoShandor at 1:08 AM on October 13, 2010


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