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Will we ever be able to visit 'Earth 2.0' ?


Posted on Monday, 3 August, 2015 | Comment icon 32 comments

What future technologies could enable us to travel to the stars ? Image Credit: NASA / Mark Rademaker
Kepler-452b, the most Earth-like world ever found outside our solar system, is 1400 light years away.
Last month astronomers rejoiced at the discovery of an extrasolar planet that has been unofficially dubbed 'Earth 2.0' - a rocky terrestrial world that orbits the same distance from its parent star as the Earth does from the sun - the habitable zone within which liquid water can exist on a planet's surface.

The only problem however is that Kepler-452b is a very long way away indeed.

Today's chemical rocket and ion-based propulsion systems enable us to send spacecraft to practically anywhere within our own solar system, but even NASA's New Horizons probe, which was traveling at an impressive 31,000mph when it streaked through the Pluto system last month, would take somewhere in the region of 20,000 years to travel just one light year.

At that speed it would take the probe a ridiculous 28 million years to reach Kepler-452b.

The upcoming 'NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster' (NEXT), which will be able to propel a probe through the solar system at up to 90,000 miles per hour, would still only reduce the travel time to 10.5 million years - still an incomprehendible amount of time for a trip through space.

Another possibility lies in harnessing the vast amounts of energy produced when matter meets anti-matter, an idea that has been explored in science fiction shows such as Star Trek.

Despite the fact that producing even one milligram of antimatter would cost $100 billion, in theory a propulsion system based on this principle could accelerate a craft up to 70% of the speed of light.

At this speed it would take the spacecraft 2,000 years to reach Kepler-452b.

Still a ridiculously long time - but perhaps in the future such a thing might just be possible.

Source: NBC News | Comments (32)

Tags: Kepler-452b, Extrasolar, Earth

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #23 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 3 August, 2015, 23:53
I thought the quote was "... down the road to the chemist..."? British don't use the word "drugstore" AFAIK, they call it the "Chemist". And "Pharmacy" is used in both the US and UK, I think. I copied it from another site, but after a little digging you are absolutely correct that the original quote is chemist. Must have been from a US edition ? How can I possibly atone misquoting Douglas Adams ?
Comment icon #24 Posted by Sundew on 4 August, 2015, 0:03
I would say, no, we will never visit, unless there actually is the development of a space warping technology. Even sending probes at 70% the speed of light, how will their fuel supply last 2000 years to make course adjustments? Will our civilization still be here then, or will it be destroyed, replaced by an A.I. civilization, or perhaps sent back to the stone age type lifestyle? This is the frustrating thing about the exoplanets, they are so far away we may never visit any of them, although 200 years ago who thought we would walk on the moon or visit Jupiter or Saturn, so it's possible we wil... [More]
Comment icon #25 Posted by Hammerclaw on 4 August, 2015, 0:38
It would take the Starship Enterprise over a year and a half to get there at warp 8---so don't hold your breath.
Comment icon #26 Posted by DieChecker on 4 August, 2015, 0:46
I copied it from another site, but after a little digging you are absolutely correct that the original quote is chemist. Must have been from a US edition ? How can I possibly atone misquoting Douglas Adams ? Your towel privileges will be revoked for one full day....
Comment icon #27 Posted by DieChecker on 4 August, 2015, 0:47
It would take the Starship Enterprise over a year and a half to get there at warp 8---so don't hold your breath. Which version of the Enterprise? The later ones were several factors of 10 faster then Kirk's Enterprise. Edit: Though I guess after thinking about it a second, that the ship's max speed has little to do with the warp factor speed.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Hammerclaw on 4 August, 2015, 2:27
Which version of the Enterprise? The later ones were several factors of 10 faster then Kirk's Enterprise. Edit: Though I guess after thinking about it a second, that the ship's max speed has little to do with the warp factor speed. It can do the kessel run in half a parsec.
Comment icon #29 Posted by DieChecker on 4 August, 2015, 5:16
Which version of the Enterprise? The later ones were several factors of 10 faster then Kirk's Enterprise. Edit: Though I guess after thinking about it a second, that the ship's max speed has little to do with the warp factor speed. Way, way off topic, but apparently Warp 8 in the Kirk Star Trek, and Warp 8 in the Next Gen are the same speed, but in Kirk's time they kept adding to the Warp factor, so they ended up with Warp 16, Warp 22 and such. Which means some ships (usually highly advanced aliens) had very fast ships. While in the Next Generation Warp only went to 10. Everything after 9 in t... [More]
Comment icon #30 Posted by TonopahRick on 4 August, 2015, 5:35
So if Kirk were to go Picard could hang around here for awhile and still be waiting for Kirk when he got there and throw a big party for him and his crew. That'd be fun.
Comment icon #31 Posted by MJNYC on 4 August, 2015, 13:59
It's probably a good thing that we cant' get there. They will either annihilate us or we would annihilate them.
Comment icon #32 Posted by TheGreatBeliever on 5 August, 2015, 16:10
We dont really know what high speed space travel will do to the body, just 6 mths on the space station shows bone loss and deep space travel provides exposure to harmful galactic cosmic rays, so personally I dont think man will travel beyond our own S/S. But for sure, faster probes will, but thats about it... but it will all take a lot of time Hmmm... The greys seem to fit the symptoms..


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