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Science in Washington, D.C., says he can't comment on the Swiss work because he wasn't at the meeting and the data are unpublished.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. icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), 14 Oct 2010 @ 12:10pm

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

    So not everyone who calls himself a Christian is really so.
    Too true, sadly.

    By the way, if you click View In Chronology, it'll remove the Thread setup and you'll be able to read them MUCH better... had to do that about 20 [Re:]'s ago. :)

    I'm still not convinced of evil being admitted to heaven just because of having faith. Remember, there are some who murder in the name of their god. some of whom would swear that they have the same faith and salvation that you do. I was reading not long ago about a man who murdered a gay man because of Leviticus, citing that he was doing god's law. When he dies, would even this man make it into heaven for his faith? I still can't believe that a loving god would condemn those who follow a 'good christian life' as taught by him and his son to hell just because they don't believe what a book says about him. And, sorry, I'm still not convinced of that book's accuracy as being divinely guaranteed.

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