What if a habitable planet is discovered?

Nov 17, 2021
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Hypothetical question: What if in the future, scientists can in fact confirm that a planet exists circling, say- Alpha Centauri, that can and does support earth-like life. Would there be efforts to send a probe there to investigate?
 

Wolfshadw

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Apr 1, 2020
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That would depend on if our space travel capabilities improved as well. Right now, it would take our fastest probe around 18,000 years to get to Alpha Centauri. I doubt anything we built today would even survive the rigors of space for that long and we, as a species, aren't likely to wait that long for anything a probe might send back.

-Wolf sends
 
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Reactions: DanIAm
Dec 29, 2019
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If we can detect such planet with life or capable of supporting it we can probably go on to detect them better and tease out more knowledge about such planets without going there. Better telescopes and astronomical instruments - probably in space - may be the principle beneficiaries of such a discovery.
 
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Jun 1, 2020
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If we can detect such planet with life or capable of supporting it we can probably go on to detect them better and tease out more knowledge about such planets without going there. Better telescopes and astronomical instruments - probably in space - may be the principle beneficiaries of such a discovery.
Yes. It’s likely advanced scopes would be responsible for the discovery, thus justifying more funding for even greater scopes, and at much less of a cost to risky probes.

Nevertheless, there’s some efforts to get there in about 20 years...

 
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Catastrophe

The devil is in the detail
"Hypothetical question: What if in the future, scientists can in fact confirm that a planet exists circling, say- Alpha Centauri, that can and does support earth-like life. Would there be efforts to send a probe there to investigate?"

Is this not a cyclic problem? Would not a probe be necessary to "confirm that a planet exists circling, say- Alpha Centauri, that can and does support earth-like life?" in the first place? Unless, of course, the indigenous population sends us a postcard?

So what is this thread actually about?

Cat :)
 
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Reactions: Lariliss
Dec 29, 2019
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Atmospheres tell a lot about a planet. We can already detect some gases in some exoplanet's atmospheres if they cross in front of the parent star. Finding a nitrogen and oxygen atmosphere around a watery planet is a very strong indicator of long term biological activity equivalent to photosynthesis. The pre-oxygen atmosphere of Earth would likely also have (different) atmospheric signatures of Life. Methane (CH4) in the atmosphere of a warm watery planet can be one indicator, especially if it shows seasonal changes, as might seasonal changes to CO2.

Not sure N2 or O2 are the most detectable gases (so far)- Greenhouse gases appear easiest, because IR is absorbed in distinct spectral patterns by different GHG's like H2O, CO2, CH4.

 
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Reactions: Helio
Jul 27, 2021
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"Hypothetical question: What if in the future, scientists can in fact confirm that a planet exists circling, say- Alpha Centauri, that can and does support earth-like life. Would there be efforts to send a probe there to investigate?"

Is this not a cyclic problem? Would not a probe be necessary to "confirm that a planet exists circling, say- Alpha Centauri, that can and does support earth-like life?" in the first place? Unless, of course, the indigenous population sends us a postcard?

So what is this thread actually about?

Cat :)
Space plays me deja vu
Like a radio tune, we've heard from CMD..

There is another thing - speed of our mutations, can we support ourselves on any other planet.
 
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