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Tau Ceti may be home to Earth-like world

Posted on Wednesday, 26 December, 2012 | Comment icon 35 comments | News tip by: Waspie Dwarf

Image credit: NASA

Our nearest single-star neighbour could be a promising place to look for a habitable planet like Earth.

The Tau Ceti system is only 12 light years away, a veritable small step in the vast scale of the cosmos. In 1960, astronomer Frank Drake was so convinced that Tau Ceti was the best place to look for signs of an extraterrestrial civilization that he made it his first target. Now thanks to new planet-hunting methods astronomers believe that the Tau Ceti system could be home to at least five planets, including one that would be within the star's "Goldilocks zone" in which liquid water could exist.

The discovery was made through the examination of more than 6,000 observations of Tau Ceti which revealed that the star's motion indicated the presence of multiple planetary bodies. "It's certainly very tantalising evidence for potentially a very exciting planetary system," said astronomer Professor Chris Tinney.

"Astronomers have discovered what may be five planets orbiting Tau Ceti, the closest single star beyond our solar system, the temperature and luminosity of which nearly match the sun's."

  View: Full article

 Source: Sydney Morning Herald

  Discuss: View comments (35)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #26 Posted by Paranomali on 27 December, 2012, 16:03
I just wanna fast forward in time to see where any of these discoveries of new 'goldilocks' planets leads too...
Comment icon #27 Posted by coolguy on 28 December, 2012, 4:54
Great find i bet there is some kind of life on planet and other planets with a sun.
Comment icon #28 Posted by ad hoc on 28 December, 2012, 8:15
Finding a very close parallel to earth will allow for the types of comparisons that could provide a profound understanding of how evolution is affected by probabilistic events, such as significant asteroid collisions that alter lifeforms, leading possibly to higher functioning sentient entities. To find even remotely similar societies would, I imagine, pose profound reexamination of ideas such as random evolution vs engineered evolution. I'm not sure what would be more eerie... to find an empty, Earth like planet... or the remains of a long dead civilization. In relation to the matter of radio... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 28 December, 2012, 19:45
A civilization might have a quiet hiss for a long time before all it's radio producing technology is phased out. That is of course possible. However I think there are some safe assumptions that can be made, if we assume that a similar mind set to our own. A civilisation even a few hundred years more advanced than us is likely to have colonised planets within its own solar system, and possibly even begun interstellar travel. Unless they have discovered some form of communication totally unknown to us then there is likely to be considerable communications between the planets/space-ships/star-shi... [More]
Comment icon #30 Posted by ad hoc on 28 December, 2012, 22:27
This will require high powered radio and or laser communications. I think it highly possible that our radio "quietening" is a temporary thing. Yeah. Although I'd read somewhere that there's a good chance advanced civilizations might use the lasers and other technologies and drop radio altogether, but I can't remember the details of what else they're supposed to use. Assumptions are all we currently have at the moment when it comes to alien life. For example the assumption that life arises easily when the conditions are right is based on the fact that life started very quickly on Earth, appeari... [More]
Comment icon #31 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 28 December, 2012, 22:38
This is an interesting thing. I actually kinda lean in the direction that intelligence developing might be the more likely bit, once you've gotten over the hurdle of life starting. The idea being that once you have a situation of complex biological life where there is evolution, then the strategies for survival are gonna be pretty similar anywhere. So, evolution will always give rise to social creatures that work together, which leads to social intelligence- and those that are resourceful with the environment, which leads to abstract intelligence. And its just a matter of time before one speci... [More]
Comment icon #32 Posted by ad hoc on 28 December, 2012, 23:13
You assume that intelligence like ours is inevitable, but I would suggest that the facts are contrary to this. The thing is that life has had many chances to develop intelligent, technological, species, but it only happened once. No reptile, bird, fish amphibian, invertebrate did it and nor did any other family of mammals. In terms of species capable of interstellar communication the fact that only one species developed that capability in 3 billion years of evolution does not really support you premise. If we again assume that Earth is a typical planet, then the fact that intelligent life is r... [More]
Comment icon #33 Posted by bison on 29 December, 2012, 1:57
The Voyager space probes, now at or near the edge of the solar system, have radio transmitters of about 23 watts. This is a very modest level of power. They still manage to hear from them because their positions are well known, and very high gain, very narrow beam antennas can be aimed at them. They also know just when to listen, as Voyager is prompted to transmit, when they wish to hear from it. If we wanted to hear similar space communications signals from another solar system, we would very probably be out of luck, given our current technology.
Comment icon #34 Posted by King Cobra 1408 on 29 December, 2012, 3:13
there's life in almost any planet just because we cant see it don't mean it dont exist!!!it could be advanced life,primitive life and etc its still life.i find it really hard that planet earth is the only planet with life or luck enough ti have life.one has to be really ignorant or dumb to believe otherwise.that is cool though.the universe has no limits and size.
Comment icon #35 Posted by Finity on 1 January, 2013, 1:15
I bet if you wrote a program to randomly generate just a few million stars and planets (not many considering the size of the average galaxy) based on what we already know, you would get a few quite similar to Earth. Up the number to a few billion and I bet you find some that look like complete clones. With numbers that high, averages don't lie

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