October 5, 2009

Hard Planet Discovered

TECHNOLOGY - A new planet has been discovered, and its the first planet outside of our solar system to be discovered which has a hard surface we can actually walk on. The planet's name is Corot-7B.

So far over 300 planets have been discovered, but most of them are gaseous giants like Jupiter and Uranus. The only planets in our solar system mankind could potentially walk on are: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, although it should be noted Mercury and Venus would be awfully toasty and not very safe to walk on.

Corot-7B is so close to its star the surface temperature is approx. 2000 Celsius so you'd be fried in a hurry, but at least Corot-7B actually has a surface unlike the 300+ other planets we've discovered which are mostly gaseous.

Many scientists believe finding life on a planet requires several things:

  1. Land to walk on.
  2. Ample supply of water, a building block of life.
  3. A surface temperature comparable to Earth, which requires the planet be a certain distance from the star it orbits.

It might be possible to find life on a planet that is mostly water, but it would still need a hard surface beneath that water to provide nutrients to sea life.

Corot-7B was first discovered earlier this year, but scientists needed to study it and measure its density to prove it's rocky like Earth. They've determined it is approx. 500 light-years away, making it one of the closest planets discovered outside of our solar system. A light-year is a measure of distance of nearly 10 trillion km.

It would take 500 years to travel to Corot-7B at the speed of light (Warp 1).

Or fifty years traveling at Warp 2, ten years traveling at Warp 3, five years traveling at Warp 4, half a year at Warp 8... all of which is moot because we can't even go lightspeed yet.

So even if we did find a planet that might contain life on it, it would be so far away as to make it nearly impossible to travel to it in a single lifetime.

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