Planet Declared As 100% Likely To Have Life... Now Can't Even Be Found

from the oops dept

You may recall a few weeks ago, we wrote about the discovery of the first "potentially life-sustaining planet" outside of our solar system, which got some astronomers so excited that one declared the chance of life on the planet to be 100%. Of course, he may want to adjust his optimism a bit downwards as Slashdot points us to the news that another group of astronomers are saying they can't find any trace of the planet:
But at this week's Astrophysics of Planetary Systems meeting, astronomer Francesco Pepe of the Geneva Observatory and the Swiss group reported that he and his colleagues could find no reliable sign of a fifth planet in Gliese 581's habitable zone. They used only their own observations, but they expanded their published data set from what the U.S. group included in its analysis to a length of 6.5 years and 180 measurements. "We do not see any evidence for a fifth planet ... as announced by Vogt et al.," Pepe wrote Science in an e-mail from the meeting. On the other hand, "we can't prove there is no fifth planet." No one yet has the required precision in their observations to prove the absence of such a small exoplanet, he notes.

Astronomer Paul Butler, a member of the U.S. team who is at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., says he can't comment on the Swiss work because he wasn't at the meeting and the data are unpublished. He notes, however, that more observations will likely be needed to solidify the existence of Gliese 581g. "I would expect that on the time scale of a year or two this should be settled."
So, perhaps before we declare it 100% likely to have life, we should make sure it actually exists.

Filed Under: astronomy, habitable, planets


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    Will Sizemore (profile), 13 Oct 2010 @ 4:05pm

    Jesus Christ, Himself, explained to His apostles that he spoke in parables, which can be interpreted as figuratively.

    Do we, as humans, remember plain, vanilla facts as easily as something that is cleverly worded? To literals translate as easily as figuratives?

    That being said, it is completely ignorant to assume that in all this vast universe, whether God created it or not, we alone were created in His image to serve Him. Its certainly plausible that more than one 'world' was created.

    What about, "...and there were giants in those days..." and any evidence of them? Some interpret this to be really big people who got flooded out. Some interpret this as proof that the dinosaurs, or at least fossils of the dinosaurs, were recorded in that time. What if this was really a reference to extra terrestrials on Earth at the time? What if it was the Titans?

    That particular passage about flesh and spirit was Jesus' way of showing that he HAS flesh and is not a ghost, as His disciples feared. He did not say that spirits have no genitalia or gender; only that they do not have flesh and bones as humans do.

    The Bible does insinuate that we who will enter into heaven will have no gender, but I don't recall any portion which says that outright. What I do recall is that we are referred to as the Bride of Christ and He is the Bridegroom. I guess that could be literally interpreted to say that not only is Christ, and therefore His Father male, but that He is bisexual and we are all his 'bitches.'

    As for creation or evolution, does it really matter? Really? We're here already. Or are we not?

    My big concern is with the end. There's some scary stuff coming, according to John in the Book of Revelation. Part of the reason I left the church was because of the doctrine of the Rapture. Baptists will teach that because John was called up in chapter 4 that we will all be caught up in the sky. But if you cross reference as I did in my study bible, the references will refer to those whom are already dead being called up, and at no point does the bible say that it will happen BEFORE the Time of Tribulation.

    Timelines in the bible are all very contradictory. We are certain that Man's history predates the biblical calendar and we also know that when information is passed via litany and further translated to all tongues, that units of measurement (including time) can get goofed up.

    As for a possible figurative interpretation, Jesus Christ could have been an alien from a race that planted us here and He was telling our ancestors that He and His Father will return for us when Earth dies, and he'll take all our remains from Earth so that when later races settle here, that there won't be any trace of us left.

    I don't mean to say that I believe that. My last paragraph was a work of complete fiction. I'm just pointing out that there are so many ways to interpret the same facts, and the fact is that the bible does contain words that can be interpreted any number of ways to make my next point.

    It is never pointless to re-examine old data and observations of such, because as we learn new facts about our existence, we can see how those previous observations COULD have been slightly colored by opinions and limited data at the time.

    Oh, and how can a flat world flood, anyway?

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.