The current thinking, mostly due to budget limitation is to only send space probes to certain targets. Like Jupiter, Venus, Mars and so on. The main reason for this is limited budget and the thinking to only explore what we currently see. That needs to change. In my view it needs to change because while we are just targeting special object in space we might be missing objects that are just outside our view.
What the human race needs to send out in space are general purpose space probes that are able to due the most basic of studies and measurements and that are able to take the necessary images if something of interest is found. What also needs to be done is to figure out a way to make space probes faster and to allow them to go longer on less fuel. This needs to happen and the science of exploring space has to change and move forward from its current status. The human race needs to start exploring space for real and reach to objects that are outside our own solar system so that we know what is there before we send humans out to explore deep space.
Yesterday (24-August-2016) there has been a lot of news about the newly discovered planet. I don’t have all the information yet, so I’m going to keep this article short.
Far as I can gather, this newly discovered planet is earth size and up to 1,3 earth size in orbit around Alpha Century Proxmia. This planet is tidal locked and it is my view that rules out life on the planet as one side of the planet gets always warmed up. This planet is also in a orbit around red dwarf, that means (as I see it) that the energy the planet gets on the surface is too little energy overall to keep water floating, or as water vapour. Radiation might also be a problem, given that Jupiter in our own solar system emits deadly ration and some of its moons cross that radiation barrier. That might also be the case in Alpha Century Proxima b. Destroying the possibly of life, even if it did not exist on the surface. This does not rule out atmosphere on the planet, what type of atmosphere it might hold is impossible to know.
There is a lot of question unanswered about the Alpha Century systems, both Alpha Century Ab and Proxima. There is a good chance there are more planets around Proxmia, even if they have not yet been discovered (due to distance from the central star). There might also be planets orbiting Ab stars in the Alpha Century system, even if they have not been discovered so far. I hope that new planets get discovered around Alpha Century star system once the James Webb Space telescope (Wikipedia) gets on-line in 2019, after being lunched in October 2018.
This has been in the news all week. Scientists have found exoplanet around Alpha Centauri-B. This planet is in highly close orbit around Alpha Centauri-B. While this planet it self does not support life in any form. It opens up the possiblity that Alpha Centauri-A and B might have planets with life on them. Earth has life and is not so unique in my view.
This also makes Alpha Centauri A and B prime targets for searching alien civilizations close to our own solar system. But Alpha Centauri is just 4.37 light years away from Earth. But that means any radio signals are just 4.37 months reaching Earth (give or take). This also makes for a better signal detection at this short distance. If there is any civilization on Alpha Centauri A or B we have no way of knowing it state of technical levels. They might be more advanced then us, or they might be less advanced then us. Or they might still be in caves and really primitive. There is no way to know for sure. There is also a possibility that just life might exist in Alpha Centauri A-B system. But without any civilization at all. There is also chance if there was a civilization in the Alpha Centauri A-B solar system that it is long gone for one reason or other. Whatever the case actually is. This planet is a good hope that more planets might exist just 4.37 light years away from Earth.
But one thing is clear. We are never going to know without science studies in that direction. It is also my view that we need to study our closest star better then we already do. This applies mostly to the stars that are close to our own sun in size and brightness. Since the chance of finding planets like our Earth is highest around such stars. Rather then larger and heavier stars. Like blue giants and such. In that case. I think there might be planets around Sirius (8.6 light years away). But I do not think any such planet is likely to have any life on them. But I might be totally wrong in this estimate. But the only way to find out for sure is to study space, as it is human race most important step into the future.
News about this discovery
Next Door Neighbors? Earth-Sized Planet Discovered in Nearest Star System to Us (Universe Today)
Exoplanet around Alpha Centauri is nearest-ever (BBC News)
Alpha Centauri 3 (Solstation)
Sirius 2 (Solstation)
Alpha Centauri (Wikipedia)
While the human race has been busy studying with problems it’s solar system for several decades now. We have not yet started to explore with problems our distant star neighborhood. The reasons for lack of such exploration are two mostly.
The first one is lack of technology. But before the year 1970 the chance of exploring space with something else then just telescopes was limited at best. But technology moves forward. By the year 1970 spacecrafts where first advanced enough to go into the solar system. Rather then just orbiting the Earth or being in geosynchronous orbit. The first probes to go out into the solar system where the Pioneer spacecrafts. Then Voyager spacecrafts did go out into the solar system and are now leaving it. Today the newest spacecraft to be on it’s way out of the solar system is the New Horizons spacecraft. But it is going to go by Pluto in the year 2015 and give up new information about that planet. Along with high resolution images of it and it’s moons.
The second problem is distance. But past and current technology has now allowed us to send spacecraft out of our solar system without it taking years. Long running projects also have money issue, people issue. Along with technological issues on it’s own. Today it takes the spacecraft about 15 years to reach the edge of our solar system. If no other flyby are made on the way. Communication is also problem. The more distance between spacecrafts and Earth the longer time communication takes. For instance, New Horizons round trip communication today takes around 6 hours to complete (3 hours each way). When it reaches Pluto. That times has gone up to 12 hours both ways (6 hours each way). There are also no spacecraft to handle communications between points in our solar system. So all communication has to go directly between Earth and the spacecraft in question. This makes communication often impossible or hard at best in some cases. NASA deep Space Network does good job at keeping contact with those spacecrafts that are out there today.
But for the future. It is my opinion that long term plan needs to be put into action to secure communications inside the solar system with future space mission. Regardless if they are inside the solar system or outside it. But one thing is sure. In the future, it is going to be necessary for the human race to send spacecrafts outside the solar system to make discoveries. What we might find may change the human race forever. It is simply not enough to explore space with telescopes today. Unmanned spacecrafts needs to be sent out there to explore while humans cannot do so directly. We need to know what is out there. Sooner being better then later for the human race.
I did see in the news that scientists where looking for radio signals from the star Gliese 581. While there might be habitable planet around this star. I doubt there is any civilization located there. The reason is not that any planet there might not host life. The reason is what it takes life manage to go up to sentient level. The energy output from an red dwarf star is in my opinion just too small to make it. Some of the red dwarf class are so low in energy output that it would not even melt ice at good distance from it’s star.
I also believe the question about habitable zone around star is more then it’s distance compared to how bright it is. It certainly plays it’s role. I do not doubt that. But if a planet is too close to it’s star. Gravity is too strong for life to survive. if it is too far way, the planet get’s too cold. Too close, the planet also has the risk of facing just one side towards the sun and leaving the other part of the planet in eternal darkness. Something that would make life impossible to develop to any major level.
It is my opinion that best chance of finding life is around stars that are similar or same type as our sun. The universe is big and full of surprises. So I am in no doubt that intelligent life exist where I now consider impossible.
The question can we hear aliens has an other side to it. That side is do alien hear our radio signals. This question has been asked and little bit answered also. It has been calculated how far out the radio signals go out from Earth in every direction. As the technology goes it does not look good for radio signal from Earth. Given the bandwidth that radio signal has to have to use in order to carry signals, as picture and audio to be detected.
In terms or radius on where our radio signals can be detected. I would not be surprised that common radio signals are not detected outside our own moon. The strongest one might be detected on Mars or even Jupiter. But beyond that they are not going to be detected in my option. So if aliens detect our radio signals, they are going to get rather close to Earth to do so.
This is might also be the reason why we here on Earth are not detecting any signals from other civilization. The transmission used on those worlds, if they are there to start with are not strong enough to reach our solar system. Our only chance of detecting alien signals might be to look for narrow band signals that can travel an long distance in interstellar space. But for us to find alien radio signals. We have to go out there and look for them the hard way.
There most likely is an alien civilization close to our own solar system. But we are just unaware of it due to the fact that we are unable to detect its radio signals due to distance. If they are present to start with. As not all alien civilization might be using radio signals, or be on that technical level yet.
Section – F.06 How far away could we detect radio transmissions?
For many decades now there has been a group of human been searching for signs of civilizations out there. So far there has not been any luck with it. Why I do not know. But I do think that how this search is done might be wrong. That is searching just one band of 1420Mhz, or the Hydrogen line (wiki). While this frequency might be optimal for space travel, I do not believe that is being used on a planet. The reasons being the same as here on Earth. It is impractical for communications.
I base my suggestion on the space travel and 1420Mhz on the Wow signal that was detected in the year 1977.
To search for civilization it is my opinion that the search must be done on frequencies that we human already use. But the problem here is the local noise, that is transmitters on Earth. But I do not think that problem cannot be crossed with good mapping of the local area frequencies in use. Along with frequencies that might bonce off Earth atmosphere.
The estimated range for radio signal from Earth is about 20 light year according to this study here. So mapping of yellow stars and similar types of suns in that range should not be too difficult. As the nearby stellar neighborhood is well known and has been for a long time now. But the question that remains unknown is if there is a civilization out there, does it have the technology to broadcast strong radio signals out into space. It might well be that a civilization is out there, but it might be on a stage that is equal Earth in 19th Century, or something earlier. Or they might well have passed us on the technological level and have stopped broadcasting radio signals into space.
This are all questions we might not get answer to. But if a radio signal is found from a alien civilization is found. It might give us a great idea what is out there. But I am sure that getting that type of signal is not going to be easy. In fact, I am sure that it is going to be real hard to do so. But it is not impossible, just hard. I am up for that challenge from my point of view. I hope that others are too.
I find that there are enough space blogs that cover the natural phenomena that can be found in Space. But nobody covers this aspect of space, since it has been made ridiculous for many decades now. We might not be able to communicate with a alien civilization out there. But we sure can listen to them if we find there signal.
This is what I am going to do with this blog. It took me long term to figure out what to do with this blog. The course has now been set. I welcome all my new readers to this blog. You know now what this blog means and what it stands for. I hope that you enjoy to read this blog, as I have writing it.
While I am far from being a expert on this subject. I do have interest in this. But I do not know a lot about this as current time. But I plan to make improvements to my space knowledge with time. For me space is important. Because what is out there, and it is a fact that future of the human race lies on what we are going to learn about space in the coming years and decades.
I do not yet know properly what I am going to write about here. But it is going to be about space. Weather it is close or distant from Earth or our solar system. To start with I am going to write about few interesting close starts that are less then 10 light years from our solar system.
Our closest neighbour in space is Alpha Centauri.
That star system has two sun. One yellow (G2 V type) and one orange type of star. Currently it is not known if there are any planets orbiting around this stars. There is also a third star named Proxima Centauri. But that is a red dwarf star, class M5.5Ve according to measurements. It might have planets, but is unlikely to host any life on planets around it.
What ever is in Alpha Centauri is it a interesting star system in my opinion. Worth more studying and observation.
Out next star that is only 8.6 light years away from our solar system is a star called Sirius. That is a binary star system with two stars. One white dwarf and one start with luminosity A0-1 Vm.
This star is according to measurements younger and larger then our own sun. The white dwarf is a remnant from a exploded star that once was in this star system. Recent measurements there is a lot of dust in this star system. It is assumed that it is mostly from the sun that did burn out. But it might well be that there is a dust from other original gas cloud that did form this star system. But that has not yet been confirmed today, far as I know.
There is more to be learned on what is out there. But this is just a first about our closest nearby stars. But I have interest in those starts, since I want to know if there is anything else around them. But might not have been detected yet by the human race.
Here is a map of nearby stars close to our solar system.
This picture is from here. This picture is in public domain.
List of nearest stars (Wiki)
Notable Nearby Stars (Solstation.com)