Out of this World: Earth-twin discovered

With the catchy name Kepler 22-b. Could we migrate there?

You'd think they'd have called it something more memorable, like Kirk or Darwin for example. But Kepler 22-b circumnavigates a sun much like ours, basks in a pleasant 22°C and could sustain life if researchers determine that it holds water. 

Mostly rock, it might at first be inhospitable - yet humans inhabit the Canary isle of Lanzarote and the Rock of Gibraltar, after all. Only problem appears to be its proximity to us, or lack of. At 600 light years it'd take a mere six hundred years to get to if travelling at the speed of light.  

Six centuries is like from the Teutonic knights / England's King Henry IV era until Facebook, Baidu and the iPhone4S. Even if we learn how to fly quicker, say 600 times, it would still take a year to reach. 

Migrants could venture that far if they were particularly patient, but clearly vacationers wouldn't. And it might take us a century to discover how to travel that fast, or anything approaching it. Some Italian scientists already suspect that surpassing the speed-of-light is plausible, although their findings have been questioned by a rival scientific team from the same Italian laboratory. 

Seems rather pointless being aware of this world at all, really. Except to know that if one of these planets does indeed exist, there could well be others.

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1 comment:

  1. After reading this, I am left somewhere between bemused and amused. Although I'll grant that science is the continual discovery of what would have formerly been regarded as miracles, travelling at the speed of light (let alone 600 times faster) within the foreseeable future, is rather implausible.

    For one thing, it would require the dismantling (or circumvention) of the special theory of relativity, which says that particles with mass need infinite energy just to reach c. Somewhat argues against exceeding it 600-fold!

    Sure there are some sneaky ideas about bending space-time around the ship to get it to travel faster than light but these involve small inconveniences such as manipulating the 11th dimension (we're not that good at that one yet), and needing about 10^45 joules to work -that's the energy you'd get in a perfect conversion of something as massive as Jupiter to energy (using E=mc^2). And I'd lay a wager that we'll be a bit busy just getting fuel to keep the food flowing to the supermarkets over the next few decades to bother with blowing up Jupiter. (Which would be a suicidal idea, anyway).

    I'd be surprised if we made it back to the moon, frankly.

    For scale: the best manned speed we've managed so far is 0.003% of c (one of the Apollo's, during re-entry). At that speed (not allowing for time dilation and all the funky stuff with four-velocities that I don't nearly understand), it would take 20,000,000 years to get there.

    Your faith in progress is admirable, but I'm afraid it's a bit sci-fi in this case.