Six Exoplanets, One Star


NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has discovered more than 1,200 planets beyond the solar system. This artist’s illustration shows a newly discovered planetary system — the sunlike star Kepler-11 and its six planets, the most densely packed planetary system known.

Astronomers have identified 1,235 candidate planets beyond the solar system, including 54 where life might have a chance of gaining a foothold.

Extrapolating from the findings, which are based on observations of bright stars in a tiny patch of sky monitored by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, some 20,000 planets may reside in other regions of the Milky Way where liquid water is stable, says Kepler chief scientist Bill Borucki of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. He reported the results, which are based on Kepler’s first four months of operation, at a NASA press briefing on February 2.

“I’m just exhilarated we’ve found all these things already, and I’m awed that there are so many,” said Borucki. The Kepler contenders are separate from the more than 500 confirmed extrasolar planets that astronomers have discovered since 1995.



14 thoughts on “Six Exoplanets, One Star

  1. Is there one with a dark chocolate coating and a liquid cherry center, because if there is, I got dibs.

  2. That’s my favorite, MD…Maybe I will receive some on Valentine’s Day, lol…
    I have no curiosity in where there is another planetary system with life…We have enough problems surviving our neighbors here, why would I want to tell another planetary system, here we are, come and get us? Can’t we leave well enough alone? They just might be more advanced and decide to colonize us. I’m reminded of the scene in the original War of the Worlds, when the three men approach the space ship with their white flag and get incernated. No thanks, I choose to be ignorant…..Well, at least we are not reading again about Egypt……

  3. Great and very inspiring post, mud_rake. I must disagree with what uptheflag has written. I believe first of all that we MUST explore beyond our own confines. Secondly, our first space race yielded improvements and new products in a wide variety of fields, from sound reproduction to medicine. The same will occur again. I guess I’m a lot more optimistic than some. As the old adage goes, “Two men gazed from prison bars; one saw dirt, and one saw stars.” I’m the stargazer!

  4. Me too, Jack. I’ve been fascinated by space all of my life and now that there are these incredible instruments sending back massive amounts of information, I am thrilled.

    I am especially eager to discover our origins so that, perhaps finally, that Biblical myth can be put to rest. Just imagine what pain, anguish and in fact death has been precipitated in the history of the world because of that fable about the Sky God and all of his harsh, punitive laws and regulations.

    Look today, in fact, how the Egyptian revolution is being spun by the conservative press here in the U.S. as the take-over of the Muslim religion and Shira Law! I would laugh at it all were they not so ‘serious’ about it.

    Fools of religion- that has been the real downfall of Adam and Eve!

  5. Fools of religion- that has been the real downfall of Adam and Eve!
    Unless of course the religion is Islam, then passes will be granted by you.

    On the flip side, you did manage to derail your own post…(which was interesting since I’m also curious about life on other planets)

  6. I didn’t mean to derail the post…
    At this point in the physical development of our technology and our pre adolescent specie’s dawning ability to understand the physical universe, we have limitations which let us only dream of space exploration on this magnitude.
    Perhaps for the time being we have to be content to hope other alien species just drop by for a visit to chat.

  7. MD, the idea of life on other planets interests me to no end.
    Will they be more advanced? Less advanced?
    And, would we fuck it all up for them by contacting them?
    As with the star trek series, I think we need a non-interference directive with any culture we find in the galaxy and beyond.
    We can’t get our ducks in a row on Earth, why screw up someone else’s world?

  8. Sepp writes Unless of course the religion is Islam, then passes will be granted by you.

    Apparently your computer monitor must have a speck of dirt on its screen. No, Sepp, there was no asterisk* and footnote regarding Islam. Clean your screen more often.

  9. Maybe if the aliens would log into facebook with an interplanetary friends request, we could share some videos or tweets n’ stuff….

  10. MD, facebook would be all the proof they’ll need to determine that we’re not worth “friend requesting”.

  11. I have no problem with exploring our system for knowledge on how we developed, but within reason. NASA has just added another mission that was not called for in their original requests. How many billions will this add to the cost? How man people is this employing down line for 30 to 40 years of their working life? And, it’s interesting to note that Congresswomen’s Giffords husband was picked to head the mission. Why do I smell something fishy here? Do we fund an unscheduled space flight by clothing it in sympathy for the Congresswomen? Hmmm, now who could question NASA’s use of extra money in such a manner?. It would be un-
    American, right, to object to such a flight, wouldn’t it? Pardon me, while I give another Chris Matthews signature, HAH! What does he call it, “the side show”?

    But to look for unknow life out there is beyond my support. I can have the curiosity, but it’s like the old saying, “curiosity killed the cat.” Why go looking for trouble. I tend to think that if some one can find us, they will be a lot more advanced. And, how would we know if they were friendly or hostile? Don’t we have enough problems just surviving with what we know here? Let’s get curious about that huge asteroid that might head into our path, and figure a way to intercept it before it eliminates life here on earth as apparently happened before in our development. When scientists were asked why we are not doing that, there answer was “No money”! Let’s go look for life some where else. Yep, that makes a lot of sense….

  12. I have always been curious about space. However, I am reminded of the old saying, “how curiosity killed the cat.” Why go looking for trouble; we have enough of it right here on this planet that we are not doing a very good job of solving. We know we don’t have the money to do these things, so we need to be judicious on how we spend our Chinese money.
    Kepler is supportable, but to actively look for life else where is not necessary. Sure, knowing how our planetary system was formed, and earth, and how we came into existence is science I can support. Are we so stupid to think that if some one answers our radio signals, that when they show up in our space, we will be able to ward them off? We would be intellectual pigmies compared to them. I don’t want them coming to see us, lol! INstead of funding programs to discover life, lets spend the money
    on protecting earth from some asteroid thats bearing down on us. An asteroid apparently ended much life on earth before, and it will happen again. Oh, I know, we will send a mission to the approaching asteroid, plant a couple of nuclear bombs, and blow it up just in the nick of time….Silly me, earth saved……

    Speaking of the universe, NASA has decided to send another team to the space station which had been cancelled because of funding. Now, who is to lead this mission? Why none other than the husband of Congresswoman
    Gabby Giffords. Why does this smell fishy to me? Mission cancelled, the Congresswoman shot, husband is a space mission commander, mission refunded and scheduled for April, and the person chosen is the Congresswoman’s husband. What can’t we do when we wrap the flag around it. To paraphrase Chris Matthews, “HAH!”

  13. I have sent two comments and not posting…damn computers, lol

    It’s not the damned computer but the ‘Akismet’ app of WordPress that filters the comments. For some reason it ‘held’ your two comments for approval. I just saw them this morning. Sorry.

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