Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Planet Just Around the Corner

Scientists have found an Earth-sized planet not too far away, as astronomical things go.  Colonization potential?  Probably not since it is too close to its star and surface temps are a bit balmy at 2,200 degrees.   The planet circles Alpha Centari B which is about four light years away, or about 25 trillion miles.

But not all is lost because this planet might mean there are more planets circling the star and some might be capable of supporting life, even human colonists (or Kzin invaders).

Problem is getting there.  If you could send a spaceship at the speed of the Voyager probes, now the furthest away human-made things, which is around 35,800 mph according to Google, it would take . . . about 689 million hours (in round numbers).  That's about 79,000 years.  To get there.  So obviously we'd have to figure out something faster.  And forget sending humans (80,000 years of "are we there, yet?").

But it is interesting.  Let's just hope the Kzin aren't there waiting for us.

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