earth like planet found in another solar system

Confed

Commodore
it's located 20.5 light years away in the constellation Libra, so they could send a probe to make pictures to determine if there is life on the planet.
This is also the smallest planet they have found outside our solar system, and it's still 5x earth mass, so there could be more discoveries of more earthlike planets soon, hopefully even closer.
Does anyone know how close it would have to be to be able to take photographs of the planet?
 

Andrewas

Rear Admiral
Does anyone know how close it would have to be to be able to take photographs of the planet?

With current equipment, it'd have to be within the solar system. Look at the wikipedia article on Pluto - thats the highest resolution possible at that distance.

With a sufficiently wide baseline visual interferometer, we could image that planet, but to get any real detail it would have to be immense. Itd probably be cheaper to send a probe there.
 

Edfilho

Cry some more!
I find this new planet extremely interesting, for although it's similar to Earth in a few aspects, it is wildly different in several others... Meaning that, if there are any multicellular forms of life over there, they'd be pretty weird...

Reminds me of all the cool aliens E. E. Doc Smith made up for the Lensmen series. He had all kinds of explanations for the weirdness.
 

NinjaLA

Alex Von T.
Its rather exciting that there is now a planet worth exploring even at sub-light speeds.

I'm suddenly pretty excited.
 

ELTEE

Vice Admiral
I wonder how long it will take for us to get good images of the planet. The articles on the discovery had me quite interested! I agree, lets go live there! :D
 

Raptor_Pilot

Rear Admiral
Dosen't matter how long it takes to go there. I'd volunteer in a heartbeat.
But I want to write my name on the moon on the way by. :)
 

NinjaLA

Alex Von T.
yeah, I don't even care if we get to see it in my lifetime, the fact that we could be there in a few hundred years is exciting enough!
 

Shipgate

Rear Admiral
I would totally voyage to this planet. They could hire me as the ship's proofreader. I also like the name Gliese 581 C.
 

Death

gh0d (Administrator)
Actually, you might want to add a few zeros onto that, with current propulsion technology, Ninja. A trip out there on current technology would take, if my math isn't totally off (it may be) over 300K years to make, assuming no major advances between now and when someone gets up enough curiosity to start a trip project.
 

McGruff

Banned
So I guess if you left now, you could hope to hitch a ride when you are overtaken by a faster traveler in a couple hundred years or so.
 

eddieb

Vice Admiral
Sure, get the conversation going on space. Even, "this is too expensive" , or "go encourage private sector space flight".
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Well, just as long as we all understand that most of the stuff NASA does is an utter waste of money :p. I mean, it's one thing to send a mission to Mars - but another thing entirely to spend millions trying to work out if a suspected planet twenty light years away might have the conditions which potentially could result in an atmosphere that might eventually lead to a habitable environment.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Ouch, such sharp sarcasm :D. All right then, why don't you enlighten me - what exactly is the benefit of spending money on planets 20 light years away? And, more to the point, why is it more advantageous to spend money on planets 20 light years away as opposed to spending it on the exploration of the solar system, or indeed on national defence?
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Well, just as long as we all understand that most of the stuff NASA does is an utter waste of money . I mean, it's one thing to send a mission to Mars - but another thing entirely to spend millions trying to work out if a suspected planet twenty light years away might have the conditions which potentially could result in an atmosphere that might eventually lead to a habitable environment.

I think you're simplifying this to a dangerous level. No space expenditure is going to be "worth" the cost in the direct cause-effect world that you're suggesting exists here. Not the mission to Mars you've decided to separate out, not landing a man on the moon, not setting up a space station - no amount of lunar ge~~~ogy or microgravity science will ever lead to anything that directly justifies billions upon billions of dollars spent on these programs.

Isn't that ultimately the point of having a government-subsidized space program in the first place? Boeing and Lord British and the like aren't ever going to build an orbital Inteferometer because there's no immediate profit in discovering what other solar systems look like. The government *can*, and can do so easily without suffering. I'm surprised you have this opinion, as NASA in-the-immediate is a singularly wonderful, impossibly positive organization in a far too cynical world.

(Of course, that said there *is* a direct, real world application - politics. NASA's successes in the early 1960s had an enormous impact on relations in the Third World. The space race was about a lot more than just shocking the world by landing a man on the moon - the Johnson administration used things as simple as Ranger moon photographs and succesful lifting body tests as part of a campaign to convince South American and African countries of American technical superiority. Even beyond that, what made the US a superpower today? Its willingness to throw vast amounts of money at something physicists all over the world agreed was a nice theory. Deciding that any one aspect of science is the 'right' one is an incredibly negative thing to do.)
 
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