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TRAPPIST-1 now has seven planets. (Possible life?)

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Shpaget    725
8 minutes ago, razark said:

 

Question came up with a co-worker.  Based on how close these three planets are, at what technology level would they be able to determine:

A) The existence of life on one or both of the others;

and

B) The presence of an intelligent civilization on the others?

Well, Gallileo made a telescope that could resolve moons around Jupiter.

Take for example this photo I took of the bunch, you can see Ganymede and Io (from center of Jupiter toward lower left corner), Callisto was just outside the frame on the opposite side.

 XdS83Lf.jpg

So, if we assume that Gallileo had access to this sort of image quality, I would hazard a guess that such a telescope would be capable of resolving cities of a few hundred thousand inhabitants and their and crop fields on planets as close to each other as in the Trappist system.

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Gaarst    2643
31 minutes ago, Shpaget said:

Well, Gallileo made a telescope that could resolve moons around Jupiter.

Take for example this photo I took of the bunch, you can see Ganymede and Io (from center of Jupiter toward lower left corner), Callisto was just outside the frame on the opposite side.

 XdS83Lf.jpg

So, if we assume that Gallileo had access to this sort of image quality, I would hazard a guess that such a telescope would be capable of resolving cities of a few hundred thousand inhabitants and their and crop fields on planets as close to each other as in the Trappist system.

 

48 minutes ago, razark said:

 

Question came up with a co-worker.  Based on how close these three planets are, at what technology level would they be able to determine:

A) The existence of life on one or both of the others;

and

B) The presence of an intelligent civilization on the others?

There is a limit to the power of telescopes, and it's called physics.

Because of diffraction of light through the telescope aperture, a finite telescope size has a finite resolution limit that can't be overcome regardless of technology: the larger a telescope and the smaller the wavelength, the greater the resolution. And we're already hitting this limit today. This is why radio telescopes are gigantic (and yet still have terrible resolution when compared to optical telescopes) and why we're building ever larger telescopes on the ground. Unless you find a way to beat Quantum Mechanics, you can't overcome this limit using a single telescope, regardless of your technological advancement.

Since you simply need a larger telescopes you can either build a larger telescope or put several telescopes together. We're already building pretty much the largest mirrors possible for our telescopes, so the first option isn't really a thing. Interferometers are the easiest choice for better resolution, and we're already doing this.

But even then, there is a limit to how big you can make it: an interferometer the size of the Earth (so a few telescopes all over the globe) would have a resolution of 18km at 40ly. We could theoretically resolve a big city on a TRAPPIST-1 planet but not much more, and there's our atmosphere in the way. We can account for the atmosphere by various means in today's telescopes, but for this kind of accuracy new technologies need to be invented. A space interferometer could do better, but this means sending stuff in space. JWST cost a few billions so an interferometer this size isn't for tomorrow, and that's not even starting to talk about technological challenges (I'm not an expert in telescope manufacturing so I don't really know how hard it'd be to build these things, I just know it'd be hard).

 

The best chances to detect life there is not to try and see it directly but to detect signs of it. Radio signals or atmosphere alteration are the easiest to see. And that's what the folks there are planning on to do, by analysing the composition of these exoplanets' atmospheres and search for any anomaly in the abundance of some gasses that could be produced by organic life or even industrialisation. Depending on the impact of life on the planet we could detect it with today's means.

Edited by Gaarst

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razark    2830
10 minutes ago, Gaarst said:

We could theoretically resolve a big city on a TRAPPIST-1 planet but not much more, and there's our atmosphere in the way.

The question was not for us to detect them.  It was "what would it take for beings on TRAPPIST-1 e to detect life/civilization of TRAPPIST-1 f and g?".

 

Edit:

But that was a very informative post.

Edited by razark

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Gaarst    2643

Oh sorry. I was so focused with sounding smart that I somehow didn't even read your question properly.

As Shpaget said, any Renaissance era telescope would be enough to see a similarly advanced large city or changes in the landscape due to deforestation/agriculture. I remember the guys at conference mentioning that the planets appeared as big in their sky as the Moon in ours.

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DDE    612
2 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

red dwarf.... most output is in the IR... limited potential for photosynthesis, low luminosity for its mass: high chance of tidal locking....

A very interesting system, but I don't think there will be any alien civilization there.

Alien microbes? perhaps

Don't forget the superflares eroding the atmospheres.

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KerikBalm    1524

ah... and once its eroded enough... the atmosphere is in danger of freezing out on the dark side since the planets are tidally locked.

But if life exists on on of those planets, and if more than one is inhabitable, then they probably share life with a common origin due to lithopanspermia.

These sort of things are interesting... but we need to up our game on detecting components of planetary atmospheres if we'll ever hope to confirm one of these worlds we detect is actually habitable

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razark    2830
22 minutes ago, Gaarst said:

As Shpaget said, any Renaissance era telescope would be enough to see a similarly advanced large city or changes in the landscape due to deforestation/agriculture. I remember the guys at conference mentioning that the planets appeared as big in their sky as the Moon in ours.

Yeah, in our in-office discussion, we completely overlooked the telescope.  I haven't seen the conference, so I didn't get that detail.

Now the question is, with Renaissance era tech, how could they signal each other and would any sort of meaningful communication be possible?

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Gaarst    2643
13 minutes ago, razark said:

Yeah, in our in-office discussion, we completely overlooked the telescope.  I haven't seen the conference, so I didn't get that detail.

Now the question is, with Renaissance era tech, how could they signal each other and would any sort of meaningful communication be possible?

Giant fire signals in fields at night would be the most visible with limited technology. Big mirrors reflecting sunlight to communicate could also be a thing. Either way you'd have to make sure they are watching you with their own telescopes to see your signals.

Getting actual communication would be quite hard though. A simple mathematical code would have the most chances of being deciphered without prior contact, enabling more efficient communications later on.

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razark    2830
Just now, Gaarst said:

Giant fire signals in fields at night would be the most visible with limited technology.

We had thought of that, but how do you tell the difference between an intentional signal fire and a large wildfire?  Using mirrors would be a more reliable method of showing intention, but would it be viable?

 

1 minute ago, Gaarst said:

Getting actual communication would be quite hard though.

True, meaningful communication would not be likely.

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Gaarst    2643
Just now, razark said:

We had thought of that, but how do you tell the difference between an intentional signal fire and a large wildfire?  Using mirrors would be a more reliable method of showing intention, but would it be viable?

Shape? If your wildfire has a head, a body and several limbs and you see the same pattern in several places on the planet, you'll probably start to suspect something. I'd probably start by drawing the shape of their continents before drawing my species.

Mirrors can be used to encode simple binary information (like morse), but yeah, communicating with another form of life that may be totally different from you might as well be impossible. Saying "hello" regularly would probably be enough to motivate people to push exploration further, and if no mass extinction occurs in a few centuries, sending a ship there would probably be the top priority of the guys in charge of your planet (whether or not your ship will contain nukes or an army is another debate).

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Finox    31

This is the kind of solar system I thought was more Sci-Fi then Sci-fact, looks like they'll have to re-write the proverbial book on solar system formation again. :)

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razark    2830
27 minutes ago, Gaarst said:

Mirrors can be used to encode simple binary information (like morse)

It was time to leave the office, so I was rushed to get my thoughts out.  My question on mirrors being viable was more to do with the capability of that level of technology being able to create a large enough mirror and manipulate it in a way to encode information.

 

29 minutes ago, Gaarst said:

Saying "hello" regularly would probably be enough to motivate people to push exploration further...

Indeed.  Such a system, with known neighbors so close, would be a great driver for exploration.

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ProtoJeb21    2579
4 hours ago, Spaceception said:

Could the planets rotate from resonance effects? @ProtoJeb21 You might be the best person to answer this question.

Well, if you want to know about orbital resonances, planets e through g are in a 4-6-9-12 resonance. But for spin-orbit resonances, I would say TRAPPIST-1h has the best chance of that.

It's amazing how 7 unique and individual worlds are found around one single star. 

  • TRAPPIST-1b appears to be a coreless planet. While having a low density, its atmosphere is too thin for it to be a gas planet and it's too hot for oceans. The lack of an iron core is the next best explanation.
  • TRAPPIST-1c is 1b's opposite twin. It is about 45-50% core, making it an Iron Planet or Super-Mercury.
  • TRAPPIST-1d may resemble a tidally locked, pre-hell Venus. It is also the planet with the smallest CONFIRMED mass. While Draugr has 0.02 Earth masses, that value is an estimate based on pulsar timing variations.
  • TRAPPIST-1e could be covered in blue plant life! Any photosynthetic autotrophs on a planet orbiting such a dim star would be a deep, dark blue in color.
  • TRAPPIST-1f is the first confirmed example of a potentially habitable ocean world, with a density less than that of Mars. All other oceans worlds are either too hot or only thought to be ocean worlds.
  • TRAPPIST-1g may be an icy ocean planet, based on its density and temperature. However, its oceans will be much less deep than those of 1f.
  • TRAPPIST-1h is the smallest example of an ice planet. It may be like Hoth!

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Snark    6698

So, let me see if I've got this straight:

They've just discovered,

  • a compact little solar system,
  • consisting of a tiny star
  • with seven planets
  • orbiting really close in at a fraction of the scale of our solar system
  • in whose sky the sun would appear much larger than in our own.

Am I the only person whose immediate first thought was, "Goodness gracious, they've discovered the kerbal home system"?  :)

(Yes, I know there are differences.  Pick me no nits.)

 

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munlander1    477

NASA just needs to uninstall research bodies and install opm:confused:.

I wonder if that planet contains life though. Would be really cool if they were did not want to kill us or put us into slavery. 

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ProtoJeb21    2579
8 minutes ago, Snark said:

So, let me see if I've got this straight:

They've just discovered,

  • a compact little solar system,
  • consisting of a tiny star
  • with seven planets
  • orbiting really close in at a fraction of the scale of our solar system
  • in whose sky the sun would appear much larger than in our own.

Am I the only person whose immediate first thought was, "Goodness gracious, they've discovered the kerbal home system"?  :)

(Yes, I know there are differences.  Pick me no nits.)

 

Wait a minute, you may be on to something!

TRAPPIST-1g has been rendered green, like Jool (designated Kerbol g).

In both systems the final planet is an icy world.

The first planet in each system has visual inspiration from volcanoes.

The third planet in each system has oceans.

Does this mean...

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Snark    6698
1 minute ago, ProtoJeb21 said:

Does this mean...

Well, I certainly know what my vote will be, if-and-when they start assigning actual names to these planets.  :)  (Not that I get a vote.)

 

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ProtoJeb21    2579
7 minutes ago, Snark said:

Well, I certainly know what my vote will be, if-and-when they start assigning actual names to these planets.  :)  (Not that I get a vote.)

 

....I already gave each planet proper names myself :P. The original 3 were named after the Horae goddesses Theros (b), Eiar (c), and Cheimon (d). I continued that trend. The planets are named Theros (b), Auxo (c), Eiar (d), Thallo (e), Irene (f), Carphos (g), and Cheimon (h). 

Also, what really sucked was that the announcement came after I finished the (original) three TRAPPIST-1 planets for Interstellar Adventure Revived. Now I have to re-make them from scratch :(

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KroShan    54

Now the launch of James Webb Space Telescope will be even more exciting. I recently watched a video showing its deployment https://youtu.be/bTxLAGchWnA . Our Ariane5 launcher should be man rated for this mission...

I just wondered if the planets would also need a magnetic field like earth (provided by a rotating iron core) to hold on their atmosphere OR if the stars radiation push is so much smaller that it is not necessary to hold on H2. (thats the reason Mars is pretty much dried out - because gravity and magetic fields are so much weaker the solar wind carried away nearly all the H2)

 

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ProtoJeb21    2579

I'm predicting this now: the discovery team wants to do more follow-up observations with Spitzer to pin down the orbital period of planet h, and in the process they find MORE planets farther out around the star.

I'm guessing that there are probably more planets, maybe a few dwarf planets. The largest may be gas dwarfs or ice giants.

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Oliverm001x    102

New Exoplanets Discovered!

On the 22nd of February NASA, hosted a webcast disclosing a series of new exoplanets found orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star. The mass of this star is approximately 0.08 times that of our own sun. However, the most intriguing part of this discovery is the potential for there to be life in this system, as three earth like planets, with similar radii were found to be orbiting in the habitable region (Goldilocks Zone), which can sustain liquid water. With the advent of this discovery, the potential for life as we know it, may exists on any one of these three planets, furthermore, extremophile microorganisms on earth can not only survive, but thrive in inhospitable conditions, such as the Mariana Trench and even the vacuum of space (Tardigrades). This biodiversity, casts light on life as we now it, surviving on different celestial bodies. So, what do you think of the discovery, and on the potential of life on these planets?

Edited by Oliverm001x

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Oliverm001x    102
2 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

Already posted in another thread

Haven't seen it.

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TheEpicSquared    1887
1 minute ago, Oliverm001x said:

Haven't seen it.

:) 

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