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Science in Washington, D.C., says he can't comment on the Swiss work because he wasn't at the meeting and the data are unpublished.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


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  1. identicon
    John Doe, 14 Oct 2010 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: To quote Peter Walker

    You say you believe in God yet you don't believe that a God that can create all this can get his word out. What kind of God can create the universe and all that is in it and he can't get a book right?

    How do we know the Christian God is "the" God? I will tell you how I know. He called me. I didn't go looking for him. Unlike a lot of salvation stories, I was not in a pit of despair, hanging on my last thread. I was just a few years out of college after getting my BS & MS degrees, had a good job and was paid decent for my age, still have a good wife and came from a Beaver Cleaver kind of family. I didn't know I needed anything else. But he convicted me of my sins. Heck, I didn't even know what salvation (born again) and conviction was yet I knew what was happening to me. That is how I know the Christian God is the God.

    Until you have been saved, you will not truly know the truth of scripture. I can't quote the verses off hand, but the new testament states that you will receive the Holy spirit and your eyes will be opened, or something to that affect.

    So there is no arrogance in my stating my beliefs, only confidence in the truth.

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