Apr
19
2017
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Another *potential* life-bearing exoplanet at LHS 1140.

Potential. Hard to tell at this distance.  We really need them to figure out how to get the energy cost of a warp drive down to something manageable.

On Wednesday, a newly discovered and relatively nearby planet vaulted toward the top of the growing list of exoplanets worth a closer look for signs of alien creepy-crawlies or … who knows?

The planet orbits a faint red dwarf star named LHS 1140 just 40 light-years away in the constellation Cetus, named after the sea monster. Astronomers say it’s larger than Earth, but appears to be rocky and temperate and likely has an atmosphere.

It’s funny: I remember when we were still unsure whether there even were exoplanets. I mean, it was a good bet that there were, but you couldn’t actually see them, or anything.  We’re getting better at seeing stuff now.

Feb
22
2017
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Choir (TRAPPIST-1 star system) [GURPS]

Choir – Google Docs

Exoplanets! Whee!

 

Choir

It was natural for explorers from Earth to go to the TRAPPIST-1 dwarf system as part of the first wave of interstellar exploration, once humans finally cracked the code on faster-than-light travel.  The planetary system had seven confirmed exoplanets, and a remarkably tolerant habitable zone for a dwarf star; it was also extremely young by stellar standards.  So it seemed unlikely that life would have developed so quickly there… thus making it probably safe enough for a species just starting to practice exploring the Galactic Arm.

This proved to be… incorrect.  Not only were there three water worlds with functional biospheres: the other four planets all proved to have their own forms of life.  And sentient races living on all of them, although admittedly none of those species were born there.  It turns out that TRAPPIST-1 is well-named; it’s a favorite spot for monastic communities from all over this part of known space.  Fortunately, humans were welcome enough… or at least their religious communities were.

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Feb
22
2017
2

TRAPPIST-1 red dwarf system has at least three exoplanets in sweet spot.

This is not news of the existence of habitable planets there, or life-bearing ones, or even water worlds.  It is news that the TRAPPIST-1 red dwarf system has at least three exoplanets of loosely (rather loosely, mind you) Earth’s mass orbiting the star at a distance where liquid water is possible.  IF those planets have an atmosphere like Earth’s and IF there isn’t something else there to muck about with planetary conditions then MAYBE the place won’t be absolutely inimical to terrestrial life.  The system is only five hundred million years old, so I wouldn’t expect Great Old Ones or Arisians living on it, either.

TRAPPIST-1 is about 29 light years away, for those who were wondering.  Sounds like an excellent time for figuring out how to get around Einstein, once and for all? Now that we have an idea of where maybe to go, and all that.

Via Facebook.

Moe Lane

Nov
11
2016
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Tweet of the Day, We Take Another Giant Step Towards Atomic Horror Science edition.

Looking through the telescope and seeing alien planets?  Totally a thing now.  …OK, except that it’s totally not what they’re doing, but gimme this one.

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