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Science in Washington, D.C., says he can't comment on the Swiss work because he wasn't at the meeting and the data are unpublished.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
    TheOldFart (profile), 13 Oct 2010 @ 12:56pm

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

    You claim you know how the universe came into being.

    You "know" that Thor created it and why. In your own words:

    "The universe was not made for us, we and it were made to glorify God."

    Who told you that? Where did you get this "knowledge"? You claim specifically that "we and it were made to glorify god". How do you know that it wasn't made for us to laugh at god? How do you know it wasn't made for Thor to take his frustrations out on? How do you know it wasn't made as a prototype, a proof-of-concept to show to the other gods what he was thinking about doing for real?

    How do you know? How can you say for sure that none of those other gods or other stories are correct and only your god story is?

    Religion *is* for feeble minds. It's the 21st century, did you know that? Every single "god did it" has fallen by the wayside as science and technology have come up with explanations of how the world and the universe actually work. Religion has been in retreat for more than 5,000 years. We know where lightning comes from now. We know how earthquakes happen. We know how tiny seeds become trees. We're learning in excruciating detail the role of DNA in living things. All of the "oooh, it's scary, a god must have done it" crap has been retired. Now we know that the universe is flat and that random quantum fluctuations provide all the required conditions for the universe to exist.

    We know all that, we can prove those ideas, there is evidence to support them, in some cases we can demonstrate through experiment that they are correct.

    Meanwhile, where is the evidence for a god? Any god will do, evidence of Thor, of Odin, of Mars, of Baal, of Brahma, or the god of Abraham.

    Your "evidence" is contained in a book known for two things: extreme violence and absurd tales for which there is no evidence for and an entire universe full of evidence against.

    Only a feeble mind would cling to that last straw all the while injecting "santa claus...er... the easter bunny... er... thor... er... god did it and I *KNOW* that he did because this old book says so" into every conversation about science.

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