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Ricardo

Posts: 12998
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

Proxima Centauri b 

Well, I hope this thread doesn't get de-railed and locked .

So I remember watching Avatar with the kids and thinking "Alpha Centauri has an earth like world that supports life orbiting it's gas giant Jupiter size planet? Well how unrealistically convenient....". Convenient because Alpha Centauri is part of the closest star system to our own, so a conceivable real life space mission could reach it within a human life time (of ship occupants).

Well it turns out there actually IS an earth like planet around Proxima Centauri (part of the Alpha Centauri system and even closer to earth at this time). It could be coincidental and convenient after all, or perhaps all stars have similar planets in orbits that happen to be the "goldilocks" zone. While it is very exciting, we should know long before we send any probes or people there whether life actually exists or is possible to sustain. (For example, free O2 in the atmosphere would certainly be something).

About sending people, I remember seeing Carl Sagan say that an Orion space craft (nuclear bomb driven) could reach speeds, accelerating at 1 G, that arrive at Alpha Centauri within the lifetime of the ship occupants. Though for earthlings info about the project would come far in the future. In Avatar the the people did the hyper sleep thing. Not sure which is more realistic.

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2016/08/26/how-could-visit-possibly-earth-like-planet-proxima-b.html

_____________________________

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2016 16:39:24
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1732
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Though for earthlings info about the project would come far in the future.


Very interesting. But they couldn’t just send a radio signal back? Or is 4-and-a bit years “far in the future”?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2016 17:04:04
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3247
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to Ricardo

There are so many interesting discoveries being made, and yet to be made, regarding the Cosmos. The W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, put out a news release on the findings of some astronomers who have discovered a massive galaxy that consists almost entirely of dark matter. They named it Dragonfly 44, and it has so few "stars" and other "normal matter" that it would fly apart were it not for the dark matter providing the mass.

To quote from the Keck Observatory news release:

"The mass of the galaxy is estimated to be a trillion times the mass of the Sun – very similar to the mass of our own Milky Way galaxy. However, only one hundredth of one percent of that is in the form of stars and "normal" matter; the other 99.99 percent is in the form of dark matter. The Milky Way has more than a hundred times more stars than Dragonfly 44."

The concept of "dark matter" is intriguing. It surely has mass, but it is interesting to speculate what it consists of? Does it have form and shape? Does it have a consistency that can be felt in a tactile fashion? Does it consist of subatomic particles of some sort?

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2016 17:18:37
 
Piwin

Posts: 3298
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to Ricardo

Of what I've read, it seems they're not even sure whether it's a rocky planet or not (haven't determined a maximum mass yet). Would be a shame to get there and find a big ball of gaz.
It is exciting though, probably because its proximity makes it so much easier to imagine one day going there.

This Breakthrough Starshot project sounds really interesting. Sending a stamp-sized object on an interstellar trip...Crazy! Hopefully for them it'll work, or it will go down in history by its initials, the BS project. It seems much more likely that machines will get out there before any humans, as long as payload is an issue.
That being said, I'd be curious to know how (un)likely it is to develop some sort of cryogenic system, this "hyper sleep" thing you mentioned. As far as I know, if you freeze an adult human being, he'll just die. But then it gets weird when you consider the fact that some assisted fertilization techniques do in fact use cryogenics. They can freeze an early-stage embryo and it can develop just fine when you unfreeze it. I wonder if they even know at how many weeks/months that stops working and whether it's theoretically possible to make this work for adults.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2016 17:20:56
 
timoteo

 

Posts: 219
Joined: Jun. 22 2012
From: Seattle, USA

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to Ricardo

Alpha Centauri has long been a choice for a habitable planet in science fiction. Partly because it's so close, partly because Alpha Centauri A is a G-class sun much like ours. For example, 50 years ago Larry Niven in his Known Space series chose Alpha Centauri as the first human extra-solar colony ('Wunderland'). There are probably earlier examples, that just the one I remember best. So it's not surprising that Avatar made the 'safe' choice of Alpha Centauri. Postulating an earth-like world there is pretty much a no-brainer, since we think that planets are plentiful in the universe, and it's not a great stretch to guess there might be a planet in the goldilocks zone of almost every star. We just don't have the ability to detect them yet.

Proxima Centauri in contrast is a super dim red dwarf (0.2% the brightness of our sun, and all in the red spectrum not in the yellow/green like ours). It would be like having an electric space heater in the sky - warmth but very little light. And red light at that. People would go crazy there. Even here in Seattle people have problems with seasonal affective disorder because we have very short days in the winter. Further north it's a much bigger problem. Imagine living on a planet where daylight is dimmer than the full moon, and the light is always a dark red so you wouldn't see any colors!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2016 4:39:24
 
Piwin

Posts: 3298
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to timoteo

It reminds me of that Proxima Centauri children's poem:

Roses are red
Violets are red
Sugar is red
and so are you



_____________________________

"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2016 10:49:33
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12998
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

There are so many interesting discoveries being made, and yet to be made, regarding the Cosmos. The W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, put out a news release on the findings of some astronomers who have discovered a massive galaxy that consists almost entirely of dark matter. They named it Dragonfly 44, and it has so few "stars" and other "normal matter" that it would fly apart were it not for the dark matter providing the mass.

To quote from the Keck Observatory news release:

"The mass of the galaxy is estimated to be a trillion times the mass of the Sun – very similar to the mass of our own Milky Way galaxy. However, only one hundredth of one percent of that is in the form of stars and "normal" matter; the other 99.99 percent is in the form of dark matter. The Milky Way has more than a hundred times more stars than Dragonfly 44."

The concept of "dark matter" is intriguing. It surely has mass, but it is interesting to speculate what it consists of? Does it have form and shape? Does it have a consistency that can be felt in a tactile fashion? Does it consist of subatomic particles of some sort?

Bill


A bit off topic but here is something cool about mapping dark matter. The moon is about 30 thousand miles away and another 570 thousand miles out we can find the first concentrations of dark matter that pertains to earth. While we can't detect it on earth sending a sensitive probe out to that distance might turn up results as to whether the stuff is particles or what. https://www.rt.com/usa/323364-dark-matter-earth-hair/

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2016 15:07:58
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12998
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to timoteo

quote:

ORIGINAL: timoteo

Alpha Centauri has long been a choice for a habitable planet in science fiction. Partly because it's so close, partly because Alpha Centauri A is a G-class sun much like ours. For example, 50 years ago Larry Niven in his Known Space series chose Alpha Centauri as the first human extra-solar colony ('Wunderland'). There are probably earlier examples, that just the one I remember best. So it's not surprising that Avatar made the 'safe' choice of Alpha Centauri. Postulating an earth-like world there is pretty much a no-brainer, since we think that planets are plentiful in the universe, and it's not a great stretch to guess there might be a planet in the goldilocks zone of almost every star. We just don't have the ability to detect them yet.

Proxima Centauri in contrast is a super dim red dwarf (0.2% the brightness of our sun, and all in the red spectrum not in the yellow/green like ours). It would be like having an electric space heater in the sky - warmth but very little light. And red light at that. People would go crazy there. Even here in Seattle people have problems with seasonal affective disorder because we have very short days in the winter. Further north it's a much bigger problem. Imagine living on a planet where daylight is dimmer than the full moon, and the light is always a dark red so you wouldn't see any colors!


Great points. I had thought about the dimness and not so much about people experiencing lunar eclipse type situation (which would still be pretty cool), but more about the doubt it casts on something like photosynthesis being achieved. Anyway, I for one have no problem with shorter days and longer nights.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2016 15:14:57
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3131
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

A bit off topic but here is something cool about mapping dark matter. The moon is about 30 thousand miles away and another 570 thousand miles out we can find the first concentrations of dark matter that pertains to earth. While we can't detect it on earth sending a sensitive probe out to that distance might turn up results as to whether the stuff is particles or what. https://www.rt.com/usa/323364-dark-matter-earth-hair/


Sorry, I still haven't gotten over a 43-year career as mathematician, physicist and engineer, but

http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/moon-distance/en/

says the moon ranges between 252,088 and 225,623 miles away in its elliptical orbit around the earth.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2016 19:07:27
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Its a long way ... even with a fusion rocket using deuterium and helium-3 pellets its still gonna take 36 years ..one way ...
and dont be surprised at what you find when you get there , if they have a population that is in any way like us ...which is what were looking for , then you will find ..



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2016 19:26:28
 
Piwin

Posts: 3298
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to El Kiko

Oh God you're right, we just might be Proxima Centauri's Mexicans. Probably going to have to pay for that wall over there...

_____________________________

"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2016 19:33:31
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to Piwin

PAY FOR thE wall .,..
.
.
.
Were gonna build a Laser dimensional , time continuum wall ...keep those Humans out ...and guess what ....the Earth is gonna pay for it ....its real easy ...



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2016 20:15:41
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3247
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to Piwin

quote:

Oh God you're right, we just might be Proxima Centauri's Mexicans. Probably going to have to pay for that wall over there...


To borrow from another thread, do you suppose that the inhabitants of the earth-like planet in Proxima Centauri's system who are building the wall are "real men"? Have they got cojones gigantes?

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2016 20:30:23
 
Piwin

Posts: 3298
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to BarkellWH

My guess: three cojones gigantes, each with their own Trump comb-over.
Or alternately, they could just be a walking cojone with a Trump comb-over. It's the comb-over that matters.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2016 20:38:30
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12998
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

ORIGINAL: Richard Jernigan

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

A bit off topic but here is something cool about mapping dark matter. The moon is about 30 thousand miles away and another 570 thousand miles out we can find the first concentrations of dark matter that pertains to earth. While we can't detect it on earth sending a sensitive probe out to that distance might turn up results as to whether the stuff is particles or what. https://www.rt.com/usa/323364-dark-matter-earth-hair/


Sorry, I still haven't gotten over a 43-year career as mathematician, physicist and engineer, but

http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/moon-distance/en/

says he moon ranges between 252,088 and 225,623 miles away in its elliptical orbit around the earth.

RNJ


Ha ha! My bad, I was writing the differential range it takes in it's own orbit. (from wiki).

So basically, they need to send the probe out to a little more than twice the moon distance from earth to possibly detect the concentrated dark matter.

Back on topic I watched a talk from a planet hunter that studied Alpha Centauri system from last year. While he didn't focus on Proxima the question came up about it and he admitted that because the habitable zone around Proxima was so close, the flare ups of the star would certainly sterilize the surface of the planet, in addition to the reality that the planet would most likely be tidally locked face on (like our moon is to earth, and Mercury to the sun). All bad news for it being a 'habitable" planet.

Ricardo

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2016 16:23:56
 
Piwin

Posts: 3298
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to Ricardo

I guess it depends on what we're looking for: a place where there is life or a place that is habitable for us.
The discovery of entire ecosystems around deep-sea hydrothermal vents has shown that life is possible even in the most extreme conditions. Many of these organisms live in complete independence of both solar energy and oxygen. I read recently that they had discovered one particular organism that could produce oxygen using only the glow from the hydrothermal vents. Apparently it is the only known case of photosynthesis using a source other than the Sun. This means that theoretically, other aerobic organisms could develop without the Sun, since oxygen is being produced from a process that doesn't require it. It makes you wonder what could be lurking beneath the ice sheets of Europa, much closer to home than proxima centauri and also completely outside of the so-called habitable zone.

_____________________________

"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 29 2016 9:44:36
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

Sorry, I still haven't gotten over a 43-year career as mathematician, physicist and engineer, but

http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/moon-distance/en/
says he moon ranges between 252,088 and 225,623 miles away in its elliptical orbit around the earth.

RNJ


Oh there you go again, introducing facts into the talk. I suppose next you will say 'Chemtrails' are not real.

============

I said this before, but it's still ashame the the JAXA mission to maintain an satellite with xray telescopy was lost. Dark Matter is still such an unknown. The Japanese project had the potential to investigate the event horizon of a black hole, so was sad it was lost to malfunction.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 29 2016 11:41:59
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Proxima Centauri b (in reply to Piwin

quote:

any of these organisms live in complete independence of both solar energy and oxygen. I read recently that they had discovered one particular organism that could produce oxygen using only the glow from the hydrothermal vents. Apparently it is the only known case of photosynthesis using a source other than the Sun. This means that theoretically, other aerobic organisms could develop without the Sun, since oxygen is being produced from a process that doesn't require it. It makes you wonder what could be lurking beneath the ice sheets of Europa, much closer to home than proxima centauri and also completely outside of the so-called habitable zone.


Even more unusual, some of the organisms around deep sea vents do not use photosynthesis, they exist because microbial critters live inside them which transform minerals into foods. And all that happens in boiling hot waters. So if there is a hot water sea on a distant planeti t could have similar deep sea vent worms and organisms as our planet . There is deep vent microbia that lives in 200 degree water. Crazy.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 29 2016 11:54:50
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