Inside The Search For Another Habitable Planet Within 100 Light Years Of Earth

 

Article by Jamie Carter                             November 25, 2019                               (forbes.com)

• The Habitable Exoplanet Hunting Project is a global attempt to discover potentially habitable exoplanets within 100 light years, involving a network of over 25 amateur astronomy observatories around the globe. It will focus on ten stars within 100 light years of Earth, all of which have confirmed transiting exoplanets within the so-called “habitable zone”.

• The exoplanet known as Kepler 442b, which orbits a K-type star and could be even more habitable than Earth. M-type stars, or ‘red dwarfs’, are small, cool stars that are impossible to see with the naked eye, but they are by far the most common type of star in our region of the Milky Way. G, K and M-type stars are “the stars that are most likely to host exoplanets with water on their surface because they don’t flare,” says Alberto Caballero, an amateur astronomer at The Exoplanets Channel and the coordinator of the ‘Habitable Exoplanet Hunting Project’. “If a star flares, it can damage the atmosphere of the exoplanets.”

• The ideal exoplanet is a dense and rocky “super Earth” planet, almost seven times bigger than Earth, called LHS 1140 b, orbiting within the habitable zone of the red dwarf star LHS 1140 about 40 light years distant in the constellation of Cetus. Three other prime candidates would be:
Proxima Centauri b – an exoplanet orbiting an M-type red dwarf star 4.24 light years away in the constellation of Centauri;
Tau Ceti e – an exoplanet orbiting an M-type red dwarf star 11.9 light years away in the constellation of Cetus;
Teegarden b -an exoplanet orbiting an M-type red dwarf star 12 light years away in the constellation of Aries.

• Tau Ceti e is a “super Earth” exoplanet almost four times the mass of Earth. It is so massive that you can see Ceti in the constellation Cetus with the naked eye, level with Orion’s Belt in the northern hemisphere.

• The Project has been careful to ignore stars that have Jupiter-sized gas giant exoplanets in their habitable zones unless the star is so big that it may not adversely affect other exoplanets in the star’s orbit. “We’re trying to monitor the stars 24/7 for about two months,” says Caballero, “so it’s easier for us if we focus on M-type stars because any exoplanets would have really short orbital periods. But the most ideal ones are K-type stars.”

• NASA’s orbiting space telescope, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite or ‘TESS’ has already found 29 confirmed exoplanets. Caballero says, “So far (TESS has) not detected any potentially inhabited planets, but it’s only just starting on the northern hemisphere.” In the long term, Caballero thinks that studying an exoplanet’s ‘biosignature’ from its light spectrum with better instruments will yield the most potentially habitable exoplanets. Says Caballero, “[I]t’s all about having better technology.”

[Editor’s Note]  The Habitable hunting Project might need to strike Proxima b off of their list. In March 2018, the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in the Chilean Andes, report that the red dwarf star, Proxima Centauri, fired off a powerful “superflare” which could be seen from the Earth. (see Space.com article here) It briefly boosted the star’s brightness by a factor of 68. The astronomy team noted that “life would struggle to survive in the areas of Proxima b exposed to these flares.”

 

The search for extraterrestrial life is easily the most profound question in modern astronomy, but it’s hampered by a lack of both technology and time.

Is life possible beyond the solar system? If we’re ever to find out, we must study and categorise the stars to answer this one, simple question: if we had a spaceship we could send to the nearest Earth-like planet, which one would we send it to?

When astronomers find exoplanets, they put them on a list marked “potentially habitable” or else use them as clues that habitable exoplanets may lurk in their star system. Most of them are exceptionally far away. So far we’ve found three close exoplanets that orbit within a star’s so-called “habitable zone” where liquid water could exist on its surface.

        Alberto Caballero

If astronomers had to choose a planet in another star system to send a spaceship, these three would be prime candidates:

• Proxima Centauri b: an exoplanet orbiting an M-type red dwarf star 4.24 light years away in the constellation of Centauri.

• Tau Ceti e: an exoplanet orbiting an M-type red dwarf star 11.9 light years away in the constellation of Cetus.

• Teegarden b: an exoplanet orbiting an M-type red dwarf star 12 light years away in the constellation of Aries.

Where will we most likely find others? Though the vast majority of star systems remain unexplored, we know of plenty that contain planets not in the star’s habitable zone. These star systems are surely the best places to look.

Cue the Habitable Exoplanet Hunting Project, a global attempt attempt to discover potentially habitable exoplanets within 100 light years, and involving over 25 observatories.

What is the Habitable Exoplanet Hunting Project?

It’s a network of amateur astronomy observatories around the globe—from the U.S. and Uzbekistan to South Africa and Australia—that is studying 10 stars within 100 light years for signs of new, as yet unfound exoplanets. All of the stars that will be studied already have confirmed transiting exoplanets outside the so-called “habitable zone”. “We’ve chosen observatories in deserts or high regions or mountains because weather is always the main problem with projects like this,” says Alberto Caballero, an amateur astronomer at The Exoplanets Channel and the coordinator of the Habitable Exoplanet Hunting Project. “But we will need to find more observatories in the southern hemisphere.”

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NASA Alien Sighting: Astronaut Confirms UFO In Surprise Recording

Article by Lorraine Lorenzo                             November 25, 2019                             (ibtimes.com)

• Scott Waring at the ET Database has reported that a Russian astronaut on the International Space Station (shown above) was conducting a regular ‘check-in’ with NASA ground control when he pointed out a spaceship just as two unusual blips showed up on the live feed from the space station’s live camera feed. (see 5:06 minute video below) Waring says that at around two minutes into the video, the astronaut says “…a ship…” just as the blips showed up on the video. The ground control crewman then responds with “Copy all. We just clarified. It’s with you…thank you.”

• Waring thinks this was an alien sighting from the deck of the ISS. And Waring asserts that it sounded like NASA was already aware of the existence of this alien spaceship -cutting off further mention of it in the recorded conversation.

• Were the two blips truly spaceships or just a trick of the light reflecting off a surface, perhaps even off the surface of the earth at night time? And while it did sound like the operator from NASA was cutting off the astronaut in order to keep him from going further, that might not have been the whole story.

 

Did a Russian astronaut confirm a UFO sighting during a recorded conversation with ground control staff from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)? According to a fringe website following unusual, possible extraterrestrial phenomenon, this was quite a convincing possibility.

ET Database released a report of what it says sounds like an astronaut pointing out a ship during one of the regular check-ins between ground control and the International Space Station (ISS). The conversation, which sounded like ground control staff from NASA checking in on a report from the ISS, heard the Russian make the mention of “a ship” just as two unusual blips showed up on the live feed from the space station’s live camera feed.

Report author Scott Waring finds it hard to believe that this was anything less than an affirmation of the possibility of an alien sighting from the deck of the ISS.

In a video, Waring outlines the important bits of the recording. Waring says that at around two minutes into the video, the astronaut says “…a ship…” just as the blips showed up on the video. The ground control crewman then responds with “Copy all. We just clarified. It’s with you…thank you.”

Perhaps even more amazing than the possibility of aliens, however, is Waring’s additional assertion that it sounded like NASA was already aware of the existence of this and similar phenomena–and cutting off the further mention of the same in a recorded conversation.

5:06 minute video of exchange between Russian astronaut and mission control
on 11-21-19   (ET DATA BASE YouTube)

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Aliens Smell Like a Fart

 

Article By Eric Spitznagel                           November 25, 2019                        (popularmechanics.com)

• NASA’s roving Martian science lab, Curiosity, has detected dimethyl sulfide, methanethiol, and trace amounts of oxygen on Mars, along with the compounds we already know about, like nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. This is the same chemical composition as flatulence.

• Clara Sousa-Silva, a molecular astrophysics postdoctoral associate at MIT, agrees. “Most of my work in astrobiology looks at anaerobic environments, which have a lot in common with the environments that produce farts. So, yes, aliens are reasonably likely to smell like farts.”

• There are other examples of planets and other celestial bodies with theoretically pungent life forms. For instance, Saturn’s icy moon Titan holds lakes of liquid methane. Using data from the Cassini space probe, NASA was able to replicate the mixture of nitrogen, methane, and benzene found on Titan to learn that Titan smells like farts and gasoline.

• Sousa-Silva points out that the molecule phosphine could be the key to detecting life on other planets. Phospine needs to be manufactured by a process associated with biological life on the earth, because it won’t exist naturally in a mild climate. So if phospine is detected on a habitable planet, there is likely to be life there.

• Carrie Paterson, an LA-based artist and expert in the “cosmology of the senses” points out that there are olfactory receptors not only in your nose but in our skin and internal organs. She thinks there is a “distinct possibility that we might be able to communicate with aliens through our sense of smell”. “A ‘moldy’ smell is not just a smell”, Paterson says, “it’s a sensation our bodies have in the presence of fungus. Fresh’ isn’t just about air without pollution, but rather, how a clean environment is sensed by our skin.” What might smell ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to an alien would depend on their particular ‘corporeal composition’.

• In 1996 in Varginha, Brazil, sisters Liliane and Valquíria encountered a creature they thought might be the devil. When their mother went to investigate, she noticed a putrid odor of ammonia hanging in the air. Ammonia is a sulphurous gas, similar to a fart. And it is the predominant odor on the planet Uranus.

• Michael Menkin, a former technical writer for NASA, has heard firsthand from extraterrestrial abductees that aliens “really smell.” Menkin says that “their alien-human hybrids (also) stink because they never bathe.” But as much as an alien’s odor may offend us, our human scent, and the scents we find appealing, might be just as offensive to them. “Right now I have an abductee who stops aliens by spraying Lysol all over her house,” said Menkin. “So Lysol works as well as perfumes.”

• [Editor’s Note] I recall Stewart Swerdlow saying that reptilians smelled horrible, like ammonia and sulfur. And it felt good to the reptilians to spray Lysol disinfectant spray on their body’s skin. Maybe that helped a little with the smell?

But something doesn’t ring true here. NASA is said to have detected dimethyl sulfide and methanethiol on Mars, supporting the flatulent atmosphere theory. But they found only “trace amounts of oxygen on Mars”. Those who claim to have been on Mars have all said that that there is enough oxygen in the atmosphere for light breathing without an oxygen tank.  I have never heard anyone who has been on Mars say that the air smelled like farts.

Is NASA feeding universities such as MIT data to make people think that the Mars atmosphere is not only uninhabitable but disgusting, to discourage anyone from wanting to go there?

 

Sometimes it takes a child to point out the important questions.

My 8-year-old is a burgeoning amateur scientist, so he keeps up with the latest science news a little more closely than I do. He learned recently that Curiosity, NASA’s roving Martian science lab, has been detecting some rather interesting organic and chemical molecules on the red planet, some of which could be clues of life. So far it’s discovered dimethyl sulfide, methanethiol, and most surprisingly, trace amounts of oxygen.

                       Clara Sousa-Silva

Along with the compounds we already know about, like nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide, Mars has the same chemical composition of flatulence. Which led my son to one inescapable conclusion: If aliens exist, they probably smell like farts.

I don’t know enough about farts, Mars, or aliens to refute him, so I reached out to somebody who does: Clara Sousa-Silva, a molecular astrophysics postdoctoral associate at MIT.

“Your son is absolutely correct in his inference,” she told me. “Most of my work in astrobiology looks at anaerobic environments, which have a lot in common with the environments that produce farts. So, yes, aliens are reasonably likely to smell like farts.”

And at least according to Sousa-Silva, the answer to that question is: not especially pleasant. Even if Martians denied it, they most definitely supplied it.

But we don’t need to single out Mars. There are other examples of planets and other celestial bodies with theoretically pungent life forms.

Saturn’s icy moon Titan has gotten a lot of attention of late, thanks to data collected from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft over a 14-year mission. Its lakes of liquid methane, which may be filled with alien crystals, have raised questions about the “possibility of life,” as NASA planetary geologist Rosaly Lopes phrased it to Reuters last week.

A few years back, some of the gases and hydrocarbons collected by Cassini were used to create a recipe that replicated the “aromatic flavors” of Titan. Composed mostly of nitrogen, methane, and benzene (and a few other aromatics), NASA researchers were able to create in the lab what could be dubbed Eau de Titan, the cologne of choice for Titan aliens (should they exist).

What they discovered: Titan smells like farts and gasoline.

Does that mean Titan aliens could conceivably share the hearty stench of a garage filled with flatulent auto mechanics? Possibly … but probably not, says Sara Seager, an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT.

“If the alien life was producing hydrocarbons, that life would smell like gasoline,” she says. “Right now it sounds like the Titan atmosphere at large smells like gasoline, independent of life.”

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