Thursday, 23 February 2017
So, the Trappist-1 System IS Habitable And We KNOW What The Planets Look Like?
So let's talk some sense because it seems that after NASA gave its ground-breaking news last night/morning people were fantasizing.
NASA discovered seven (7) planets orbiting Trappist-1. Three (3) were in what we would call the Habitable Zone of the planetary system. NASA have checked the orbits and gauged sizes based on calculations except for the largest one. SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) have checked but detected no signals from the system.
That is it. Trappist-1 is 40 light years away so not even the nearest sun outside of our system which you might think they would concentrate on but let's not downplay this: this is a full planetary system and a major discovery.
So, sorry, fantasy conspiracy theorists it was NOT the announcement of the arrival of 'Nibiru'!
Of course, the "Disclosure" fans jumped on to this. "Intelligent life is just around the corner!" and "habitable planets found!" they scream. But, surely, hasn't their "Disclosure" project revealed everything about intelligent life visiting this planet? And, hey, what kind of lousy NASA cover-up was this?
Although the NASA folk explained it was obvious from questions after (particularly the Press) that not everyone understood. In a way NASA, itself, has to accept some blame for this.
(1) There are seven planets.
(2) We know the estimated sizes of six of them so far.
(3) We know three are in the Habitable Zone
(4) We know the system is 40 light years away and not the closest just has the most planets so far found.
(5) SETI have not detected any signals from the system.
It is unknown whether any of these three planets can allow any life to exist and survive. It will take years before deep space observations will tell us whether there is oxygen and water or even what the planets are made of.
If there were intelligent life (speculation) it might be that they use completely unknown forms of inter-communication or might be able to prevent detection of its technology from beyond its system. Maybe they do not want to encourage outside contact?
Remember how approx 95% of native peoples in the Amazon were wiped out by diseases spread by the Spanish and Portuguese -it is why there is minimal contact with "hidden" tribes these days because Western diseases could wipe them out -they have no defences against these diseases. Some notable scientists have said that we (Earth) should not advertise our presence to other life beyond the planet which might be hostile or even see Earth and its life, Human and animal, as one big food selection. Which is a pretty dumb thing to say since our first radio signals (1920s on -some to deliberately attract intelligent life) are now light years out and I think nuclear tests and all the technology we are using must be akin to a huge interplanetary neon sign! In other words: too late.
I emphasise again that this was big news because those involved in finding exo-planets or even supporting those doing this work, have been seen as time wasters -as emphasised ("in your face!") at the press conference. You have to remember that the first scientific detection of an exoplanet was as far back as 1988, but the first confirmed detection was in 1992. From 1992 up to the 22nd February 2017, there have been 3,583 exoplanets in 2,688 planetary systems confirmed and some 603 multiple planetary systems confirmed. This is the first time a full planetary system of this size has been found, but I'm guessing it will not be the last.
People with no idea jump to conclusions and "Habitable Zone" becomes "has life or very likely has life". It does not. The planets are merely in the right place.
As before, NASA has had artists create these wonderful images of what the planets look like from space as well as from the surface. People latch on to that. These images are pure fantasy. We do NOT know what the planets are made of or if they have atmospheres let alone whether they have seas and ice. People seeing these NASA images assume that this is what NASA has seen. That bloody Trappist 1e tourist poster is pure and utter fantasy.
NASA has to take 100% responsibility for all the misperceptions based on these images because we are, sadly, many, many decades (if that) from having equipment that could get fuzzy images of the Trappist-1 system.
It is an important discovery but take a deep breath and check out the reality.
NASA page on the discovery: