Is there life on Venus? You wouldn’t think so…
Well… it’s probably not life. I haven’t read the article yet, but I’ve read the author’s tweet storm where he talks it through. It’s probably just something that on Earth is biological, but elsewhere is just some goofy chemistry that we haven’t seen in these parts yet.
Still… even though this isn’t even close to evidence that there is life on another planet, I am going to choose to error on the side of massive overreaction and say, WOOOHOOO! Life on Venus, babie!
Finally, we can say that we know what the Dwarf Planet Ceres looks like! No longer are we only able to view blurry images from Hubble. Now we can see a clear enough image to actually make out surface features!
Click on the image to read the article from which I stole the pic (sorry about that). This is cool. The Dawn probe will be orbiting Ceres in March, and doing actual research in April How fricken cool is that!?
Did you read this? They found what is probably a rocky planet inside a star’s habitable zone!
What do they know about it? It orbits a red dwarf, so I would guess the year would be much shorter than Earth’s. They know it’s size is comparable to Earth. They don’t know jack else except that it’s something like 500 light years away, so don’t be planning your vacation quite yet. Even the Millennium Falcon would need hundreds of years to get there (as she only makes 0.5 past light speed).
What they do know, is that if the atmosphere (assuming [hoping] there is an atmosphere) and the pressure play nicely water could exist as a liquid on the surface. They’ve found planets in the habitable zone before, but none of them had a size similar to Earth. Some of the others might be rocky, but they were all big enough that there was a good chance they’d be gas.
So what does this mean? Honestly? For your every day life it means squat. For the potential of finding a second planet to live on if we somehow manage to create a propulsion system that wouldn’t require 1000 years of travel? It’s pretty freakin’ huge news.
Now they need to try and figure out what it’s made of, what it has for an atmosphere, and if maybe it might have some water on the surface, and if there might be some algae living in the water.
Not to make light of the hundreds of people who were hurt by the meteor that hit Russia, but this has been quite the interesting day for astronomy, don’t you think?