Closest planet found outside solar system
An illustration of what the newly discovered planet near Alpha Centauri B could look like.
October 17th, 2012
01:15 PM ET

Closest planet found outside solar system

The hunt for planets like our own has come up with a striking discovery: There’s a planet about the same size as Earth in the nearby Alpha Centauri system, and it's the closest planet found outside our solar system.

“Close,” of course, is a relative term. No one’s getting there anytime soon: The newly found planet, which orbits a star called Alpha Centauri B, is about 4 light-years, or 23.5 trillion miles, away.

Based on its mass, the planet is a rocky world and not gaseous, said Xavier Dumusque of the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland. He and his colleagues published the findings in the journal Nature.

Scientists used an instrument called the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher. HARPS, located at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile, searches for planets outside our solar system using a radial velocity method.

Here’s how that works: When a planet orbits a star, the star wobbles back and forth slightly because of the planet’s gravitational force. Scientists are looking at how fast the star is moving toward or away from Earth. They measure this through the wavelength of the light from the star, which gets shifted if there’s a planet present (the Doppler effect).

The newfound planet is unlikely to harbor life, or at least life as we know it, Dumusque said.

It’s located extremely close to its parent star – Earth has a 365-day orbit around our sun, and this other planet orbits its star in only three days. Temperatures on the surface could be in the area of 1300 degrees Fahrenheit, scientists estimate. Rather than solid, the surface is likely to be lava.

But there is hope for life in that neighborhood: Small-mass planets like the one orbiting Alpha Centauri B are usually not alone with their sun, Dumusque said. Often there are other planets in the system, farther away from the parent star.

The next step would be to continue monitoring the shifts in light from the star, looking for other planets. Time is of the essence, however: As Alpha Centauri B and another star, Alpha Centauri A, move closer to each other, finding any planets in the area will become more difficult. Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth besides the sun, may be related to this binary system.

When a planet similar to the Earth is detected, the next step is to start characterizing its atmosphere, looking for elements such as carbon and oxygen that are familiar to life on our own planet.

Finding those will be difficult with present technology, however, as HARPS has limitations. A high-tech tool is slated to come online in 2016 – it’s called ESPRESSO (Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations).

About 800 planets have been confirmed to exist outside our solar system, in addition to nearly 2,000 planet candidates found with the Kepler mission.

Before you get too excited about the planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B, keep in mind that it has not yet been confirmed by a second group of astronomers. But Dumusque says there's only a 1 in 10,000 chance that this is not a planet.

Sara Seager, professor of planetary science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was ecstatic about the news.

In order to study planets outside our solar system in detail, she said, these exoplanets need to be around the nearest stars. And Alpha Centauri has captured the human imagination for decades, she points out, even appearing in the film “Avatar.” Its proximity is a motivator for sending probes, and even astronauts, to a different star system.

“I think the reality of a planet around the nearest star and the promise of more is a game changer,” she said in an e-mail.

If other planets orbiting Alpha Centauri B are the same mass and size as the new planet, they will be hard to detect, she said. It would take eight more years of this same kind of data, using similar technology, to find a planet of similar mass in a “habitable zone” in other words, at a distance from the star that would permit life.

“Hopefully Nature has provided a planet that is more easily detected,” she wrote.

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Filed under: In Space
soundoff (418 Responses)
  1. doom hammer

    @ Andrew. Hell, even 30 minutes of the show "The Universe" on Science channel would tell them that.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  2. Andrew

    CNN needs better (more intelligent) reporters...the detection of planets via parent star "wobble" and the corresponding shift in emitted light wavelength is not "similar to the Doppler effect" IT IS the Doppler "effect" (better known as Doppler Shift)...why don't you take a physics class before writing an article about astrophysics and planetary science

    October 18, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • John

      So hopefully they will get the shuttle back on line or a new ship. If this planet is only 4 years away it seems very doable to start a mission there. I can't wait to see what the next few years bring with finding a planet so close.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
      • chk this

        Duh! Four "Light" years

        October 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • MikeyD74

        thats 4 Light Years John. meaning it would take 4 years to reach IF we were travelling the speed of light. Unfortunately, we have no vehicle that can go that fast.

        It would probably take closer to 100 years to get there.

        October 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
      • Jared

        It is four years away AT the speed of light. We are no where close to achieving that.

        October 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
      • jeremy

        For comparisons sake the fastest speed Voyager 1 ever attained was in the neighborhood of 36,000 miles per hour, or 0.0054 % of the speed of light. I think it would take a LOT longer than 100 years to get there at that speed. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 74000 years or so by my calculations. A light year is a LONG way!

        October 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
      • Luke

        At our current rate of space travel we would be looking in the neighbourhood of 6000 years or so to get there-and-back. Until we have a breakthrough (i.e. travelling 1000xfaster than we currently do) it won't even be considered – a probe on the other hand may be able to be engineered to reach it within say, 15-20 years. Mars is "only" 36 million miles away and it'd be a 6 year trip there-and-back. So yea, no escape from our current planet unless we can somehow engineer Mars to be sustainable. There are some interesting theories on that as well

        October 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
      • reidh

        4 years? its 4 light years, which means its 24 trillion ( 24,000,000,000.000 ) miles away, and that's only as of 4 years ago. The shuttle or any other "ship" would take 40 years to get there at full thrust speed.

        November 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • mdmann

      I'm all for getting the details right, but do you not feel this is just a little overboard? Does it detract from the information being conveyed by the article to say that red shift/blue shift is "like" the Doppler effect? These articles are being written for a mass audience. The average person knows of Doppler shift in terms of sound waves. Many of those people might be very confused to have the term Doppler shift referring to light waves. This is such a minor detail to be so critical about.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • cdub2k

      lol a shuttle.
      That's a good one

      October 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  3. doom hammer

    A trip to another star in 30 to 50 years only requires a small percentage of the speed of light. Like 10%. No space folding or stargates needed.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Tim

      10% may sound small, but there isn't yet a propulsion system capable of even remotely approaching it.

      October 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Ken

      They can't even go to Mars.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  4. doom hammer

    At this point the majority of space tech is funded privately. The arguement that WE'RE wasting money on it is quite innaccurate and probably a cop out for religious objections or something. America funded ~19 billion to space in 2012 which is probably less than we spend on our hair. Certainly less than our national plastic surgery bill.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  5. Lee-Anne

    Love how we are finding more and more planets out there. Most we find are, of course, uninhabitable (just like the our system) but it give hope that eventually we will find some that might support life. If we ever do find one like that, I have a feeling man will figures someway of getting there. I realize going faster than the speed of light is impossible according to physics, but they also tell us space can be folded in certain conditions so who knows? I am certainly not going to say what mankind can't achieve 50 years from now. Only a huge dose of hubris would insist that there will "never" be a solution.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Mauro

      Worm Holes will help us close that gap. Right now we can only do it at a molecular level. But it's possible.

      October 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  6. doom hammer

    There are plenty of propulsion drive concepts on the drawing board which in theory would be sufficient to get us to alpha centauri or gliese 581 within a human lifetime. And I'm sure we could develop a electro-magnetic shield and centrifugal gravity design so our passengers don't decay on the trip. All of this is closer than many of you would think. Hell it could be done now but with a scary failure rate. Patience and success go hand in hand.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  7. Ryan Rempel

    I certainly doubt there is life on other planets, and what use is spending money on researching a planet 23.5 trillion miles away. Just not my cup of tea. The universe is totally amazing but SOOOOO much money goes in to researching places we will never be able to see or go to.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Kikaider

      Why do you care if the Swiss and other European nations fund the HARPS telescope project? How is that possibly any of your business?

      October 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  8. doom hammer

    Considering how exponential our technology has proven it CAN be I am confident that techs will make it possible to develop mars and the asteroid belt within this century. Assuming we survive financially

    October 18, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  9. Mr Howdy Doo Doo III(you can call me HDD3)

    Three days would give it an enormous tangential velocity! Interesting.....actually very very interesting....the next question would be just how fast is the parent star revolving....:) And is the motion of the planet pro grade, or retrograde...that is does it move in the direction of the stars revolution, or opposite....If this method they are using is really accurate, a whole lot of things can make it inaccurate frankly...but if it is we are finding a great deal out about the nature of planetary systems and that's fantastic....each of these planets found also increases the odds for life in the universe....so that we will not be the only idiots in the cosmos....nothing sadder than lonely idiots....imagine we meet up with an advanced race of beings from another star and the first thing they ask us for is BEER!

    October 18, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  10. lunchbreaker

    So, are you actually Mr. Merom peddling your book? If so, don't read the reviews of the book on Amazon, it's not pretty.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  11. doom hammer

    Lmfao @ the comment which joins the two words bible and truth in response to this story. Remember the bible states that planets form in 6 days and the earth is 6k years old. Anyways, that's great that we are looking at closer destinations. Gliese 581 is uncomfortably far away. But I have no doubts that there are trillions upon trillions of planets orbiting stars to look at out there. Just have to survive on our own rock long enough to find one sitting right with its star and with water.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  12. rudix

    I love all the science lies..."they already know" when the universe started and how old it is....but only now discoverd a close planet....all in the sensational book THE DIMENSION MACHINE

    October 18, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Big things are easier to find and measure than small things. Universe, big. Planet, small.

      October 18, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      Did Rush Limbaugh recommend that book for you? Try reading a scientific journal before you prattle your ignorant garbage.

      October 18, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • PainCase

      @rudix, your cued, looks like the other two have been washed, Universe to big to see, planet to small to see.Rush Limbaugh to ridiculous to even consider.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Dave

      rudix- ignorance is an ugly, dangerous thing.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  13. CP726

    People: Don't miss this part of the lesson: Take care of Earth – There's no place else to go.

    October 18, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • reddog9500

      Oh, there are lots of other places to go. Just not as nice and hospitable.

      October 18, 2012 at 8:15 am |
      • JC

        There's no place else to go in the fact that even there are planets in the nearest solar system it would take a lifetime to get there.

        October 18, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • LivinginVA

      Yet. Nowhere else to go yet. And that's why we need to keep exploring. "Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics, and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe, and Lao-Tzu, and Einstein, and Morobuto, and Buddy Holly, and Aristophanes…[and] all of this…all of this…was for nothing. Unless we go to the stars." (spoken by the character Jeffrey Sinclair on the TV show Babylon 5)

      October 18, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Kikaider

      There's nowhere else to go, that is, until we MAKE it.
      -There are is a mindbogglingly huge amount of untapped natural resources in our solar system.
      -We have already put artificial habitats into space.
      -Planetary Resources is a private company with the stated goal of mining the asteroids.

      We've already begun, we just need time to scale up. The lower-end of the scale is Skylab, MIR, & ISS. The upper end is Ringworld and even the Dyson Sphere.

      There will be plenty of places to go, as long as we don't screw it up!

      October 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Tom

      Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan's widow, quoted him in one of his books; "We treat this planet as if we have somewhere else to go."

      Our Sun runs out of fuel in 4.5 billion years, right? We don't have to worry about another planet. Let's just not destroy this one!

      December 21, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  14. Sebastian2

    I am intrigued by this discovery, but not quite uncorking the champagne just yet. It sounds like a Venus-type planet that got too close to it's parent star and shed it's atmosphere. Earth like in mass only; an intriguing find, but not exactly earth's doppelganger....

    And is it just me, or does the orbital period of three days sound a bit like a math error somewhere? I read a lot about exo-solar planets that are enormous gas giants that orbit their suns in ridiculously fast orbits, and yet eve our closest planet takes it's sweet loving time to orbit our sun (Mercury, at 88 days). Is our solar system truly unique somehow? A goldilocks solar system, as it were? Or is the technique for determining exo-solar planetary orbits flawed somehow? In fairness, it is all done with indirect observation; many variables could be wrong. Another planet or two of similar size on a similar orbital plane screwing up the observation, etc.

    Maybe I'm just a Sol chauvinist.... ;-D

    October 18, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • BigDev

      Venus didn't shed is atmosphere. It has a very thick atmosphere. Venus is best described as Earth with a run away greenhouse effect.

      October 18, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Bob

      Sebastian2 – good question. There are a few ways that a planet could have a shorter orbit time (e.g. 3 days). It's important to understand the fundamentals here. There are 2 forces at play: 1) The gravitational pull on the planet by the star, and 2) the radial velocity of the planet "pulling" the planet from the star. If the planet goes too fast, it flies away from the start. If it goes too slowly, it will fall into the star.

      So why 3 days? A few reasons. If the planet is closer to the star, the gravitational pull will be faster, and it's radial velocity must be higher. In addition, it's physical path is shorter at this point. As you mention, this may decrease the time (perhaps 88 days, as you mention), but not 3 days. The other (bigger) factor is the mass of the star. Our sun is relatively small. A star with higher mass will have a much larger gravitational pull, therefore requiring the planets to orbit at a much faster rate to stay in orbit.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  15. james

    Why do so many stupid people come to the wrong place to make silly comments that they think funny?

    October 18, 2012 at 6:50 am |
    • mdmann

      The CNN forums are full of this crap. If you dare say anything, the troll lovers will jump all over you and start defending the behavior, and the trolls will just eat it up.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • rtbrno65

      Tou mean like this? "I just flew in from Mercury and boy are my arms tired!"

      October 18, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  16. RindaLynn

    Every time I hear Alpha Centauri I thimk of the old movie The Last Starfighter from the 1980's.

    October 18, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • Mr.Scott

      Don't you mean Lost In Space?

      October 18, 2012 at 9:22 am |
      • Tom

        no it was 'the last starfighter'. 'Lost in Space' was a 60's show

        October 18, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Kikaider

      You're thinking of just 'Centauri'. :)

      October 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  17. Richard

    If any of you are really interested in the one and only way we could ever get to any local stars, look up "Project Orion." Which was killed by JFK because he was terrified of it being used to put weapons in space. Biggest mistake the U.S. ever made.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:20 am |
    • Gaunt

      Project orion was an excersise in mass stupidity, and was certainly not the only way to achieve exceptional velocities. Setting off a string of nuclear weapons and calling it 'propulsion' is just asinine. Dozens of far more practical, realistic and effective means for high sub-luminal travel exist.

      October 18, 2012 at 6:16 am |
      • mdmann

        Agreed. That is an idea conceived by someone with very little imagination who probably just wanted an excuse to explode some nukes. JFK was quite right scuttling that idea.

        October 18, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • Daremonai

      Well, yes and no. Orion was killed for a whole host of reasons, many of which came to inter departmental bickering. As I recall, it was less that Orion was intentionally stopped and more Apollo won. There was really only room for one such project and the one with better political connections survived.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  18. mdmann

    @Herby Sagues Why do it? I'll suggest one reason which I know you won't accept, but is perfectly valid, and a second reason which you will accept if you have any common sense:

    1) Because it is a HUMAN thing to do to explore. Humans have been doing this throughout history, and it makes absolutely no sense to stop just because the distances are great and the expense is great.

    2) Because out of that "trillion dollars" of development work, there will come all sorts of spin off technologies which will likely be of tremendous benefit here on Earth. There would likely have to be technological breakthroughs in communication, medicine, construction, computing, power generation, sustainable environmental design, etc. to make interstellar travel possible, and those technologies could EASILY be applied to live here on Earth. Are you seriously going to say that it isn't appropriate to invest in something like that?

    October 18, 2012 at 4:03 am |
  19. Stanley

    Sid Meier has already created a guide for helping us inhabit the planet and grow our civilization: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.

    October 18, 2012 at 2:41 am |
  20. Jason Leung

    Wait till Exxon or BP find out about this

    October 18, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  21. Peter Q Wolfe

    At the recent 2100 consortium of galactical travel, a NASA engineer theorized a warp drive that could perhaps be able to do this level of travel sometime within this century. Personally I'd like to send all high end millionaires and billionaires to these planets and banish them from other humans to learn a lesson of innerdependence of one another as a species. This would also include my uncle because of his millions that he would not share with the rest of the family because of greed.

    October 17, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • dontmatter

      And you wanting his money without working for it is called what? Jaelousy and greed!

      October 18, 2012 at 2:26 am |
    • Way to give proper credit...

      Miguel Alcubierre is a Spanish physicist who was at the University of Wales when he proposed his warp drive in 1996. He has never worked for NASA. Just because NASA scientists have been double-checking his work and saying that it may be feasible doesn't mean they should get credit for the idea.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  22. pooh2

    If the budget deficit could be converted to a 1 dollar/mile travel, we could reach there almost half way.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Crow

      A deficit that that Clinton eliminated and King George II recreated leaving a do-nothing House to spend even more on corporate welfare. Eliminate corporate welfare, corporate tax shelters, private concessions in the military and, voila, the budget could be balanced again without loss to either social and science programs including travel to the stars.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  23. douglas63

    I find articles about distant planets to be fascinating. What we are able to see with our space telescopes, however, is about as close as we are ever going to get to these places, unless someone comes up with new laws of physics. Four light years is very, very close..... yet also very, very far..... away. I believe that this is true for a reason...... perhaps we are not supposed to be traveling to other worlds containing intelligent life, even though its obvious that they must exist, given the size of the universe. If the laws of physics as we know them truly prevail, however, then why not believe that we can just simply fantasize to our heart's content....... but no touching!

    October 17, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Jackblob

      You said, "perhaps we are not supposed to be traveling to other worlds containing intelligent life" which implies intelligent design of the Universe. Really?

      October 17, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • jim

      Oh come on, thats as close as we will EVER get? 1000 years ago, travelling from one contenent to another was an impossible feat- until the Vikings did it.
      150 years ago, human flight was impossible- until the Wright brothers did it.
      100 years ago humans travlelling in space was impossible- until Yuri Gagarin and subsequent astro and cosmonaughts did it.
      50 years ago, landing a man on the moon was impossible- Until Neil Armstrong did it.
      25 years ago, the concept of rovers exploring mars was impossible- You know what I am going to say now.,
      And today, you say travel to the stars is impossible? Faster that light teleportation is not only theoretically possible, but has been done using the principals of quantum mecahnics. To date, we have only teleported subatomic particles but it has been done. If we dont destoy ourselves, I have no doubt that one day we will travel to the stars, and the humans of that time will tell thier kids, "you know, back in the 21st century many people thought travle to the stars was impossible".

      October 18, 2012 at 12:26 am |
      • Herby Sagues

        But more importantly, we don't need FTL teleportation!!! Let's say we can achieve, within a few decades, 25% of light speed (with a nuclear powered spaceship and a massive investment, that's perfectly feasible). That would put a spaceship there in two decades. Then we can learn about what's there in two more decades. Heck, even human travel is theoretically possible in the not too distant future.
        The question is just why do it? Is there enough to gay to justify investing a trillion dollars in the venture? My take is, not today. But if we find an inhabitable planet (not too likely within just four light years, but very likely if we expand the range to fifteen light years) I'm sure *someone* will invest in making the jump and colonizing another planet. That could happen this very same century. I may even still be alive.

        October 18, 2012 at 3:33 am |
      • Sciguy73

        It would only take 4 years to learn about what is there, not two more decades. The ship wouldn't come back, it would radio back.

        October 18, 2012 at 7:20 am |
      • WASP

        @herbie: the number one reason to fund the exploration of space and possible colonization of other worlds is to protect us as a species.
        as we currently stand one huge rock or one super volcano event and we as humans will be lost to the pages of time; however if an event like that happens and we have colonies off-world our species will live on and some day later be able to return and rebuild.
        to me that is the number one reason to do everything we can to get as many people as we can off this mudball and onto other worlds.

        October 18, 2012 at 7:35 am |
      • asdrel

        Sciguy73, the post you are referring to postulated a velocity of 25% the speed of light. To get to a star 4 light years away would then take 16 years to reach, and another 4 years for a radio transmission to get back here. Therefore, twenty years for Earth to here anythng.

        October 18, 2012 at 10:32 am |
      • TheDukeOfHighwayJ

        Actually it would spend half its time getting there accelerating up to 25%c, and another half its time decelerating. 4ly / 12.5c = 32 yrs. Add 4 years for the laser link data return = 36 years til 1st indication of mission success.

        Even if its a 100 year mission, if we dont colapse as a civilization, it should and will be done eventually.

        October 18, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  24. Welch

    No American politics there. BLISS!!

    October 17, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  25. Welch

    Let's go...it'll only take a few hundred thousand years!

    October 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  26. Major Tom

    4 light years is practically a stone's throw. I'm packing my bags. I'm done with this planet.

    October 17, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Rob in NY

      You and me both, pal. Stop this rock, I want to get off.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Uncle Ben's riceburner

      Road Trip!

      October 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • db

      No you aren't.

      October 17, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Myk3

      Don't forget to bring your towel!

      October 18, 2012 at 4:18 am |
  27. Paramad

    Just think if we weren't spending our money on wars we might have colonies on the Moon for sure and maybe by this time we would have at least explored Mars with boots on the ground. Sad that humanity is so short sighted.

    October 17, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Pat J

      If We did not have to fight all these oil Wars for Romney and the Republicans? We could have a Base on the Moon And Mars and go a long way to putting Stations out by the gas giants. you konw 15 to 20 Trilion dollors still gos a long ways.

      October 18, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  28. Bob

    In the last couple of centuries we have made astounding scientific progress. Perhaps in the next few centuries we will also discover scientific facts that we cannot even dream about today. Among those facts might be some way that might permit us to travel faster than the speed of light. Considering that the universe appears to be infinite, there is a good chance that there may be some form of intelligence out there. Right now our mind set expects other intelligent
    things to be similar to us. In fact they may not be. They might be totally comfortable existing in an environment that is hostile to human beings. Physical conditions like temperature, atmosphere or even gravity might be irrelevant to them.
    In a couple of hundred years we can do major surgery to the laws of physics.

    October 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Nera

      Cool article. But I bet it's inhabited already, and that the Robinson Family, Dr. Smith, and the Robot are there by now–after all this time they've been lost in space! ;j

      October 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • TheBob

      "Major surgery to the laws of physics"? Uh... you don't know physics, do you?

      October 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
      • Bob

        The laws of physics exist as we know them today. A few hundred years ago the best scientists thought the sun went around the earth. I have as much trouble as you believing that the current laws of physics aren't as we think.
        I worked on the first computers and at the time we measured things in microseconds. Now nanoseconds are slow and we talk about picoseconds. Computers have gone from a box that needed an airplane hanger to hold it to one that fits nicely in your cell phone (and of course orders of magnitude more powerful). This only took a little over 50 years. Atomic energy, jet planes, the internet, personal computers, heart transplants, the eradication of polio, television, etc.. All of these things happened in the last 75 years. We couldn't even make a long distance telephone call 60 years ago without help from a live operator (and the telephone itself was only invented less than 80 years before). What will happen in the next 100 years is simply beyond our current imagination.

        October 17, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
      • Rinaldo

        serosly ...you fail he stating that soon our understanding of the universe will be so great that even the laws of physic that we made up would no longer limit us and that we could potently change them to our will ,to the point that we can accomplish nearly anything ,in the 100 years ur tech and understanding of the universe has incressed so much that in an another 500 if obama dosent get us all killed ,we will have such an undertanding that we will be god like beings

        October 18, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Shane

      Theoretically it is possible to create a warpfield to go at a percieved 10x the speed of light, but it requires exotic materials that do not currently exist.

      October 17, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
      • g

        [Citation needed]

        October 18, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • mmi16

      The more knowledge we discover – the more knowledge we need to discover to answer the questions we discovered with the prior knowledge.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • Sciguy73

      The speed of light: Not just a good idea, it's the law!

      October 18, 2012 at 7:22 am |
  29. Woodzilla007

    All I can say is your prophecy had better hurry up, because come 21-Dec-2012 the Mayan Apocalypse will put a dent in things! :)

    October 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • osvaldo cubero

      lava is about fourth stage of matter (gelatine). There forth, this could be a solar system to be,not a solar system.

      October 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
      • Major Tom

        No. Lava is just liquid. Very high viscosity liquid – but just liquid.

        There is a fourth state of matter. It's called plasma.

        October 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
      • durkadurk

        Actualy it can be said that the fourth state of matter is PLASMA'S.

        October 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
      • Major Tom

        @durkadurk: No, it cannot. "PLASMA'S" is entirely meaningless.

        October 17, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • John

      Naaaaa... Santa Claus will come to the rescue!

      October 17, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Shane

      There is no Mayan Prophecy. It is the end of the long count calander.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  30. Rabble! Rabble Rablle!

    Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble !
    ....ahem.... I dissent.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  31. BralenX

    I'm getting tired of all this we found an Earth like planet but it can't sustain life..... W T F? When you find an ACTUAL planet that is JUST like ours THEN you can share it with the world but until then, shut up and keep looking.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • osvaldo cubero

      F g. Glad to be real

      October 17, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • John

      No one is doing this for your benefit. So how about YOU STFU and stay out of things that don't concern you.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
      • Kikaider

        Word.

        October 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  32. Jeff

    Ehh...that planet has at least another 4 billion years to go before it would even begin to start any life.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Richard

      It will never have life – never – unless that life can survive constant 1300 degree temperatures.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
      • osvaldo cubero

        at least, we have hot meals 3 times plus a day.

        October 17, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  33. Noocrat

    There were plans to send a probe to Alpha Centauri in the 60s using nuclear propulsion if I remember correctly. Project Daedalus or Orion if I remember correctly. I believe they were projected to achieve 0.1c to 0.2c. So theoretically, had the programs gotten the funding, the probe would've reached the system 10 years ago and gotten this news about 5/6 years ago.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • osvaldo cubero

      I really do not think so.

      October 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Shane

      Daedalus project was supposed to us nuclear fusion enginers to get to 12% of lightspeed, but other than the fact that we still do not have sustainable fusion some 50 years after the initlal planning, and the building it would probably bankrupt the entire world, it isn't happening anytime soon. Assuming there are even enough of the right materials on earth to make the massive rocket.
      Orion was proposed to use nuclear bombs to propell it which do have its own host of issues. Yes it would be effective, but you wouldn't have many trial runs for testing especially since you wouldn't be able to do any testing too close to orbit.

      And overall, it wasn't all about funding, it was also about the danger of shipping tons and tons of nuclear bombs into space to fuel a rocket.

      October 17, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • wonkie

      Those were some interesting thought experiments, but were completely and utterly unfeasible. At the moment and in the foreseeable future, there's no remotely plausible method for interstellar travel that doesn't rely on bending the laws of physics.

      October 18, 2012 at 8:03 am |
      • Kikaider

        Wow, thats untrue. There are several plausible ways to get a % of light speed, none of which require breaking the laws of physics as we know it. They will just require MASSIVE amounts of investment, engineering, and perhaps risk.
        1. Beamed Propulsion (Laser driven Light Sails)
        2. Nuclear Pulse (Orion, Longshot)
        3. Ion Propulsion

        October 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  34. Steve

    Well we only know it might have been there 4 years ago.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • osvaldo cubero

      it takes billions yrs. to become.

      October 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  35. Michael John Anthony

    This is wonderful news for humanity. This is now officially the 9th planet closest to our own sun, albeit 4 LY away. It is very early to speculate, but it gives us another world to study and the potential of a habitable planet around our sun's closest neighbor for future colonization and the possibility of interplanetary radio communication with another race with a round trip for the signal of only 8 years. This is a golden age for astronomy.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Edward

      "...the surface could be in the area of 1300 degrees Fahrenheit," Yes, we should all move there and get a really deep tan.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • osvaldo cubero

      Since Pluto was taken away as a planet, this should be 8th.

      October 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Sciguy73

      @osvaldo, you need to try counting again.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  36. Josef Bleaux

    Maybe it's the Mormon god's planet – Kolob.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • osvaldo cubero

      maybe

      October 17, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  37. Pete/Ark

    Back in the Stone Age(1950s) when I started reading science fiction , ALL the aliens came from Alpha Centauri.....

    October 17, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • osvaldo cubero

      lost in space

      October 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  38. soul68

    For those keeping score at home, 4.3 light years is about 25 trillion miles. Thats 25,000,000,000,000 ..... miles.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Pete/Ark

      the StarGate makes tht in about $.37 seconds....

      October 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
      • Josh

        Wow, $.37 is less than 1st class postage. At that price, everyone can go.

        October 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Ed

      Just a stones throw away...

      October 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • osvaldo cubero

      imagine walking it

      October 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • bill brasky

      How many McDonald's does it have? 23, 000, 000, 000...

      October 17, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  39. Jose

    To Serve Man.....is a Cook Book

    October 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Pete/Ark

      GREAT episode of Twilight Zone.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
      • archangel phoeix

        Look at the pic again there's eyes in there...3 maybe 4 eyes

        October 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  40. Joe

    A solar system away lava creatures have discovered a planet orbiting a star, much the same size as their own.

    "It is highly unlikely to harbor life", scientists said. "Instead of life-giving lava, it is mostly hardened rock and water."

    October 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Jeff

      LOL

      October 17, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • osvaldo cubero

      that would be awsome

      October 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  41. rosie

    Hopefully they will see how screwed up we are on Earth and never come any closer, for their own sake.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Ricky

      I thought it was Moronia, your home planet.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • osvaldo cubero

      you got that rihgt

      October 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  42. John

    Perhaps the late Irwin Allen already knew about this planet back in the 60s when he created the "Lost In Space" TV series.. hehe. As the story goes, the Robinson family left Earth in 1997 to go to Alpha Centauri for the purpose of colonizing an earth like planet in that solar system. Of course they never made it there, but that's another story. I just think it's pretty cool that after almost 50 years later, a discovery of an earth like planet out there is made. I think it's time for Mission Control to change it's name now. Hmmmm... how about, Alpha Control.... hehehe :P

    October 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Joe

      Earth-sized and Earth-like are two wholly dichotomous concepts.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
      • Josh

        NASA has labeled many extrasolar planets as Earth-like.

        October 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
      • Shane

        Right, but this is an Earth sized and Earth-like.

        October 17, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Arnold Ziffel

      It was all the fault of that sinister character, Dr. Zacharey Smith.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
      • John

        The Robot didn't help matters either :P

        October 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • osvaldo cubero

      once again, you got that rihgt

      October 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  43. Jeff Cox

    You only have to travel to Texas to find a place that's 4 light years behind earth.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Tim

      You do realize light years measure distance...not time... right?

      October 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
      • rosie

        Time too, amigo.

        October 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
      • Ricky

        A light year is the distance light travels in a year. E.g if you can travel at 1/10 the speed of light, you would get to that planet in 40 years. Another example, the light from our sun takes 4 years to reach that planet.

        October 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
      • Pragmaclast

        A light year is in no way a measure of time, rosie.

        October 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
      • zebon

        Time is relative If you calculate the speed of light using a year on that planet it would equal the distance light travels in three of our days.

        October 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • osvaldo cubero

      50 cents a lb. of pure beef

      October 17, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Jeff Cox

      Tough room

      October 17, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  44. Robert

    If NASA was honest with us about the statistical probability of there being anything on that planet besides a barren world, you would realize that after a 10,000 lifetimes of travel, we would find nothing there but an earth-sized lifeless rock floating in the cold vacuum of space.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Robert

      P.S. Telescopes and probes are great, but it's not worth anyone's time to go check it out first hand.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
      • rosie

        Echo........

        October 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • cja

      Fist this discovery did not come from NASA. It was done by Europeans working in Chile. Second: they DID say the surface is hot enough to melt rocks, not a nice place to go to for humans.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
      • SB

        Robert is too busy looking for new conspiracy theories to be concerned with mere facts.

        October 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  45. Robert

    It's interesting how, on Star Trek, time dilatation never seems to run differently from those on planets and those in the starship. I guess adhering to the laws of physics would have ruined the show. lol

    Four light years away you say? It would take us a couple of years just to get to Mars and back. So, dream on. Moreover, if NASA was honest with us about the statistical probability of there being anything on that planet besides a barren world, you would realize that after a 10,000 lifetimes of travel, we would find nothing there but an earth-sized lifeless rock floating in the cold vacuum of space.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      Star Trek and laws of Physics? They never let a little thing like science ruin their Science Fiction. Actually though, modern theoretical physicists have figured out how a Star Trek like warp drive might work.. and indeed from the perspective of Earth if warp was entered at 0 relative velocity, there would be no time dilation. The only problem is if you combine it with relativistic velocities you now have a time machine... Well that and the need for massive amounts of negative mass...and negative energy.. and it can't be steered... or ...

      October 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
      • WASP

        @mary: correct me if i'm wrong, and i'm certain this old star trek buff isn't.
        didn't the enterprise D use sub-space warp field technology? in theory it would drop out of our reality incased inside a "space bubble" while bending space away from it departure region and pulling the destination toward itself there truly wouldn't be any large time lapse, without the whole "time machine" theorum. space/time can be folded we know that much from the study of blackholes and the mass of different planetary bodies have on space.

        October 18, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Kevin

      Mars would be reachable in just a few months with current technology, actually.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
      • Honest John

        18 months is how long it would take at maximum efficiency. You could go faster if you carried more fuel and less cargo, but that would also cost more.

        October 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  46. liars

    Liars .... they know the closest planet is not what they are reporting.... and so will you soon. Good luck.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Joe

      Isn't the closest planet like... Mars or Venus?

      October 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • HorseWithNoName

      Please don't tell me you're talking about that Niburu crap. :P

      October 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  47. Sabin

    All we need is a blue police box to get there!!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • MrBo

      Nah. Just some mass effect relays.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  48. Dean

    I've been waiting for this news for a long time. Let this put to rest the idea that it is difficult for planets to form in systems with multiple stars.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • rosie

      Why? It has been known for years. You stopped reading or something?

      October 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  49. Devine intervention

    It may be to far for us to travel there but what a pen pal that would be.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  50. Tim Rigney

    If anybody's curious, 4 light years is 22 trillion miles. 22 thousand billion. 22 thousand, thousand million miles. So uh, yeah, we're not going to be travelling there any time soon. Never mind the fact that it's impossible to make a starship that can go the speed of light – they can't even make one that goes 1/10th that speed yet – the heat generated would melt the end of the rocket, for example, and materials science isn't yet advanced enough to solve that problem. So absolute best-case scenario, it would take an entire lifetime to travel there. No return trip; there's not enough time.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Reticuli

      We can, we just haven't. We've been spending it on blowing stuff up instead. Relativity also makes it faster than you realize for the astronauts themselves. It would be quite practical if we set our minds to it. Mars is a much cheaper, faster, and more practical goal, though. But there's no harm in looking and observing the universe while we're doing that.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
      • Tim Rigney

        Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to clarify – even if the astronauts could go near the speed of light, time on Earth would still proceed at the same rate; so all the astronaut's loved ones would be dead when they got back – good luck finding astronauts willing to do that. With the engineering problems of going 1/1oth light speed, no offense but I think you literally don't understand. The heat from an Apollo rocket is neglible. The thrust provided by them is microscopically small. That's why they hardly move through space at all in any reasonable amount of time. They only travel, at best, 11 miles per second. In order to travel 22 thousand thouand million miles within one lifetime, you have to go at *1,800* times that speed. I'm all for researching this and trying it; I think it's great for SO many reasons. But the engineering problems involved are quite a puzzle; this challenge is *formidable.* Then again, we CHOSE to go to the moon and do the other things *because* they were difficult. ;)

        October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
      • MarylandBill

        Actually, if the ship could go fast enough that relativistic effects came into play, then if we are still talking about traveling to Alpha Centauri, the astronauts could return home while their relatives were still alive. Figure it this way, at 50% the speed of light relativistic effects are small enough that our astronauts would not get too badly out of sink with the rest of us.. and yet the round trip from our perspective would "only" take 17 years or so. At 2/3rds the speed of light, the round trip takes roughly 13 years for us, but 6 and a half for the astronauts.

        October 17, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Bob

      Yeah, that's if you want to go the speed of light. If you go the speed of lint, you'll be there a lot faster. Now all we need is a giant array of clothes dryers.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • cja

      Humans would have no need or desire to go to the planet where the surface is covered with melted rock (lava) but some day we will have very smart machines,maybe smarter than we are. We could and likely will send them. They will not mind a 10,000 year one way trip.

      I think this is the only way "people" will go to the stars, non-human people.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • cyclonus11

      That's why they'd have to be 'colony ships' – giant ships that maintain an entire population of people over multiple generations. Generations would come and go on the ship during the travel, and the entire population would be completely different when it got to its destination from the population that left Earth. The problem would be obtaining and preserving the energy needed to undergo such a venture.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • archangel phoeix

      It did take them so many light years to see that far....Travel made in seconds.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • HorseWithNoName

      It would only cost 88 trillion dollars to drive there. :P

      October 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  51. Ben

    Amazing!!! Can't help but wonder why neither Yahweh or Allah ever bothered to mention this??...seeing as its much more fascinating, important and true compared to anything uttered in those books....just sayin'

    October 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Reticuli

      Hah!

      October 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
      • James

        The mapping of the stars and planets, Parallel universes, law of gravity, chandrashekar's law, the concept of zero, binary number(0,1) are all mentioned in the Vedas and Upanishads. Hindus have known about this for centuries and is no surprise at all.
        Just because MIddle Eastern religions do not provide any scientific basis for their belief system, doesn't mean all other belief systems do not adhere to the fundamental principles of science. Hinduism is based solely on science which is why its the only faith that accepts evolution as part and parcel of history and the world.

        October 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Melissa

      Ben, God did say he made all the heavens and universe. And besides that, we should be worried about how we treat the planet we were given, not trying to find another victim.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
      • Amused

        That is quite impossible since god does not exist! I suppose YOU "heard" god say this yourself, hmm? REALLY!???

        October 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
      • MarylandBill

        I thought this was the science blog, not the religion blog? Will everyone who wants to express a religious opinion here (either pro or con) please pull their lower lip over their head and swallow.

        October 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
      • Kool Aid

        Drink me; I'm delicious and come in a rainbow of flavors

        October 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • chad

      That's because 'gods' are simple human concepts, we made them up.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Agnostic Dyslexic Insomniac

      I stay up all night wondering whether there is really a dog...

      October 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  52. Come on guys

    really come on an earth like planet that is 4 light years away... the article says 23.5 trillion miles away... my question is how do they know for a fact that it is an earth like planet if it is 4 light years away... and how are they going to travel 4 light years away and then what about the return trip

    October 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Matthew

      You're obviously a troll, so I'm not sure why I'm answering this, but we know because of the mass of the planet relative to it's size and how much it perturbs the host star. Gaseous planets tend to have a very certain mass range, and very specific chemical spectra. Rocky planets another.

      By "Earth like" they simply mean it's a rock, rather than a ball of gas wrapped around highly pressured metallic gas like Jupiter.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  53. josh rogen

    that would explain why there's a spike in UFO sightings every 4 or 5 years

    October 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  54. unafy

    it is 23e12 miles away from us!

    October 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • gdf

      To put that in more relative terms, that's 94 billion times farther than the distance to the moon. So it's really very close, huh?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
      • Matthew

        Cosmically? It's right next door.

        Quit thinking on human scales, and thinking on galactic scales. We are 26 thousand light years from the center of the Milky Way, and it's still cosmically right next door. We're 2.5 million light years from Andromeda, and it still lives in our city. You need to get 40m light years away just to get out of our local group.

        October 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
      • Matthew

        Woops, I said local group, which is only about 8m light years wide...I meant the Vergo Super Group, which is the "filament" we live inside in the universe.

        October 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  55. thesaj

    Okay, so let's find a way to speed up a satellite to 1/2 light speed. And get it to Centauri and back in 16 years.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      Getting something to 50% the speed of light take's lots of energy... a whole heck of a lot. Currently most rockets can operate for maybe a few tens of minutes... to get to half the speed of light would take accelerating at 1G for something like half a year! No fuel source we currently have would be efficient enough to do the job. Maybe with Antimatter propulsion you could do it... but you would have a hard time bringing enough with you to slow down again at the other side.

      Now there are some ideas that might work.. but only for one way trips... at a few percent the speed of light. Even then the probe would get say a few days of a good look. Might be worth it.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
      • Woodzilla007

        Deep Space One (probe) used Ion drive. Have not heard that it's engine has turned off yet. Stop thinking only chemical propulsion systems.

        October 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • gdf

      Not to mention storing that required energy since you won't have a sun to draw it from. What you'd need to figure out how to do is to compress and contain a star in some sort of storage device. Of course to do that you'd have to first travel to an available sun because you sure as heck can't take ours – hands off. But getting to that sun to rob it and contain it, you'd first need the energy of a sun, quite circular requirements here.

      I'm not taking into account Orson Scott Card's method of traveling at the speed of thought (jumping instantly between points), but that too would still require a sentient mega-computer based on a philotic network and an "outverse", all of which I'm sure doesn't actually exist.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • WASP

        @gdf: ummmmm have you ever struck a matchhead? yeah that would kindof be what would happen to anything we "sent even close" to a star.
        so no worries mate on stealing your star................not to mention the shear mass of even a small star would be impossible to move.

        October 18, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  56. Anth

    here's the facts boys & girls .. the ones who were here a few million years back were from mars when mars was stable, explorers from mars came here and we are the results, actually the descendants

    October 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Reticuli

      This is not a church. You have to back that up with evidence. We can't just take whatever you say as testimony or revealed truth.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • Anth

        there's plenty of evidence, plenty :) .. and don't know what church has to do with this .. any :P

        October 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Reticuli

      Churches let people spew unsubstantiated claims without backing it up... just like you're doing right now.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • Anth

        there's plenty of evidence, and research in this, I am not going to make a 10 page essay for you.. what are you lazy to do a little research? or scared? or were you abused by bible thumpers and still working thur those issues??? anyhow, there's plenty of research in it, don't be lazy, start looking it up :-/

        October 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
      • Reticuli

        You can submit your unsubstantiated essay to Nature and see what they say. I suspect nothing.

        October 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • Anth

        narrow thinking you present, anyhow there's already plenty essay's and evidence that attest to the facts, what are you proposing?? just because you have not done any thorough research, you spew denial like a mad man, like a church goer, do you really think we evolved out of monkeys too? you know why they can't find a missing link? think about it :)

        October 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
      • JJC

        Ok Anth, I'm thinking about it..... My conclusion is: since there is plenty of missing links that have been found then you are the one who is not studying nor researching. Seriously, look it up. Do some research. We have found missing link after missing link. The usual arguments against this goes something like this, "Where is the fossil of the intermediate creature between humans and the distant ancestors of apes?" Answer, here is one! "Ok, Now where is the intermediate creature between humans and the intermediate fossils you have just found? Now you have two missing links!"

        October 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • John

      Wow, your a little wacked. Did you bring enough for everyone? Your talking like that movie "Mission to Mars" or your watching too much ancient alliens. I'd love to see your proof.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • Harry Read

        They say its Nancy Pelosi's home planet, Liberal Crooketania

        October 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Amused

      Your evidence is what, exactly?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Kool Aid

      Someone get this fool some tin foil for his hat

      October 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  57. JCA

    The only way we will ever discover other intelligent life in the Universe will be to explore, similar to the theory behind Gene Roddenberry's original Star Trek. However, it is more likely that another intelligent species will discover us and reveal themselves.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • PushingBack

      There are so many variables here and combined with the vast distances does make it seem unlikely. Add to that the concept of infinite diversity in infinite combinations and you have a recipe for small probability of communication. For one, even an intelligent species may not be looking for anyone else. Or for that matter, we assume intelligence would come with technology but are we sure it has to? Imagine a planet covered in water where the top level inhabitants communicate in highly sophisticated languages but never develop tools or technology. Or closer to home, a civilization so focused on mythical powers or gods that never look to the sky for the possibility of other life.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  58. T

    Well, duh, wasn't that the planet on "Lost in Space"?

    October 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      I never figured out how in the world they could get lost.... If you are going to fly an interstellar spaceship, you should at least be familiar with the near by stars... enough that you could figure out where the Sun is if you were on any of them.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
      • Obi_donkenobi

        They got lost because their ship was sabotaged by the evil Dr. Smith, and when your ship is travelling at relativistic speeds, any problems in the navigational systems would send you into places you don't know.

        October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
      • mcewenpe

        I remember Don (the pilot) once said, "We're between Arcturus and Uranus." I found that hysterical because:
        1) If you know where Uranus is, you're not lost in space, and
        2) saying you're between Arcturus and Uranus is a little like saying you're between the moon and that spot three feet to you're left (I didn't do the math, but you get the idea).

        October 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  59. Ty

    And this serve's what purpose in a world of a Million issues?

    October 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Reticuli

      A far more divine pursuit than anything you are engaging in. Science, exploration, and wonder is only pointless to sociopaths.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Amused

      What purpose? Knowledge and understanding of how planets and solar systems form and interact! This type of knowledge adds another puzzle piece to our understanding of our own solar system and our own plant, earth! But uneducated fools like you have no use for science or knowledge, I suppose?

      October 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Mostly

      It serves much more of a purpose than the apostrophe or the capital 'M' in your comment (I don't mean to troll, but bad grammar, usage, spelling and punctuation is a pet peeve). Scientific discovery is always important, and they aren't limited to just space exploration. There are plenty of people right now working on a cure for malaria, and if they are successful I'm sure we'd see an article on that, and I'd be just as amazed and enthused.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • PushingBack

      You came here to read a science article. Clearly the need to know serves it's own purpose even if you have issue acknowledging that.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  60. VegasRage

    If only dollars would = miles. With our national debt we will have reached reached the planet 23.5 trillion miles away by 2017.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Reticuli

      We could have a colony on the planet Mars and be building ion propulsion engines to later reach the outer planets and even this newly discovered planet with just a fraction of the money spent on overt occupational wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention about twice the intelligence community infrastructure overlap needed to do the job. The USA spends over 40% of the entire world's military expenditures. We spend 3X what China and Russia spend combined on military alone.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
      • PushingBack

        Amen!

        October 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  61. Jack Straw

    Drilling is expected to start early next year.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  62. Soon and very soon

    ..And soon you will know that there is a God and him alone created the world. All that your eyes can see and can't see are all created by him. Only know that there is no such a thing as alien..they are demons and falling angels sent to deceive humans. Be ware of End time delusion.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • JonPeter

      How do you know that god isn't a woman, alien or both ?? If there is a creator, don't be a know it all and presume that the creator didn't create other life in places other than the earth.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Gil Nodges

      Delusion....yes, you certainly seem familiar with that.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Reticuli

      You were told to believe that under threat of eternal damnation. These scientists are perusing these facts under no threat. I tend to trust the one who wasn't coerced using fear and intimidation as a child. Brain washing is bad for the brain. Do not suffer the little children to be subjected to myths as fact.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Darw1n

      Liars like you, who claim to know that a god exists, and cite "faith" as proof, are the reason I'm an atheist. You don't know jack and neither does any priest, bishop, etc. All fools and charlatans.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • VegasRage

      Soon and very soon, your user name is lie in itself as Math 24:36 and Mark 13:32 says "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father"

      That is for those who believe that stuff

      October 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Ricky

      Ahh, save your fairy tales for someone who cares. If it were up to me, people like you would be put in the loony bin.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Lynn

      First, my apologies to folks who may not have a belief system for the rather religious speech here :)

      Soon and Very Soon.....you said God created the World when in actuality He created the Heavens and the Earth. The "heavens" include outer space. So, even by your thinking, He created the other spatial bodies and the "out there" beyond our own solar system. Did it ever occur to you that He gave us the gift of knowledge and the abilities to discover what is "out there"?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • GOD Is Not real

      Ha ha ha, Little fairy man floating sky theory makes me laugh.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • PushingBack

      Do you believe in Harry Potter too?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • OhYea?

      It says in the bible not even Jesus knows when the Tribulation will occur. Nice try, nutbag.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Kool Aid

      Accio crazy meds!

      October 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  63. Stephen

    One of these days some alien species will find us and see what kind of strange and screwed up people we are and their message to us will be 'get your priorities straight before you even think about coming out here'

    October 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  64. JonPeter

    Adam Strange told us all about this world (Rann) over 40 years ago in Mystery in Space comics.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  65. Ricky

    So, if they find a planet that could harvest life in that system, we would just need a ship that can travel at least 1/10 the speed of light, and a young crew that is willing to spend their whole lives going there, and then train and send some of their kid/s grandchildren back.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • JonPeter

      ...or we could send a ship every 10 years with a crew on a one way mission. Hopfully in 40-50 years (40 years out, plus 4 years back by radio) we'd get a message back (by radio at light speeds) to either increase the rate of colony ships, or to stop if the world proved to be uninhabitable.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
      • PushingBack

        Not plausible at current velocity capabilities. Look how long the Voyager crafts have been traveling and where they are now. Without nearing the speed of light, nobody will live long enough to send any messages back.

        October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  66. Sagebrush Shorty

    Try the planet Cayman, Mitt.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  67. Jay in NC

    The article says that about 800 planets have been confirmed to exist outside our solar system. Really? These have truly been confirmed? Or is it that someone else using the same theory confirmed the same results. I doubt that anyone at this time can say with certainty that the 800 planets exist.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      I suppose it is remotely possible that the objects being found are in fact gigantic space goblins that just happen to have the size and mass of planets (in most cases, very, very large planets). The basic physics for most of the methods used to detect planets are very well understood; therefore we can be certain that the objects with planetary mass exist. It just seems terribly unlikely that it is anything other than a planet.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Augusto Carballido

      Yes, those 800+ planets have been confirmed.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • admiralbrown

      Sorry Jay there are several ways to detect planets and more are being discovered all the time. One way is to watch a star wobble on its axis. The sun and Jupiter do that, you need a vantage point above the sun to see it. Another way is to watch a star for periodic dimming. This happens as a dark planet passes between its star and the earth, We have a mission, Kepler, that looks for planets crossing in front their stars, a transit. After several repeated dimmings a planets orbit is determined. The science is amazing.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
      • Reticuli

        I'm afraid he probably doesn't understand the concept of tentative reasonable assumptions and the scientific method. His only concept of "certainty" is probably related to dogma.

        October 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  68. Sagebrush Shorty

    Beam me up Scotty!

    October 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  69. Johnny 5

    There's probably a being on that distant earth like planet, with a much better telescope saying " I left my fiction book on that planet 2000 years ago and look what it did" oops!

    October 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • JonPeter

      There was a Star Trek episode where civilization developed based on a book describing the mobs in Chicacgo in the 1930's. LOL

      October 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
      • Johnny 5

        Lol i'm going to have to check that episode out.

        October 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  70. Think

    This is a cool article. I wish they had real photos of this planet.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • BD

      That borders on the impossible, at least with current science.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  71. Mitt

    Hmmm I wonderif I could hide some money there......

    October 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Reticuli

      I can hide your money for a much cheaper price, say, 99% cost of hiding?

      October 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Micon

      Do you mean Federal Reserve notes or real money like gold or silver?

      October 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
      • Reticuli

        More crazy rubes. So silver and gold has more inherent value than legal tender from the government? If WWIII happened, you really think people would care about silver and gold? Or how about those incredible useful precious jewels?

        October 17, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  72. Ron

    DANGER. DANGER, Will Robinson!!!

    October 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  73. John

    Don't sit there and say you guys just found this planet you guys have been knowing about this planet for years infact 30 years or more

    October 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Andre Richards

      I want to believe.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  74. eutycus

    Correct me if I am wrong, but in your article, you said the newly discovered planet is 4 light years, or 23.5 trillion miles away. Isn't one light year 23.5 trillion miles, meaning the true distance to the planet is 94 trillion miles?

    October 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • eutycus

      Oh never mind, I ran out of fingers to count with.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Reticuli

      You're wrong. 1 light year = 5.87849981 × 10^12 miles. 5.87849981 × 10^12 miles * 4 = about 23.5 trillion miles

      October 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
      • Reticuli

        Or right now... you know, whatever ;-)

        October 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
      • rohug

        I thought that's where Spock was from and Capn Picard was supposed to pick him up there.

        October 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Bob Johnny

      Eutycus, 1 light year = 5.8 trillion miles. So 4 light years is approx 23.2 trillion miles.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
      • Tim Rigney

        5.5.

        October 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • John

      A light year is just under 6 trillion miles. Give or take a billion or two.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Andre Richards

      A light year is equal to 512 miles, so the newly discovered planet is roughly 2048 miles away. Sure, that doesn't sound far, but there are no gas stations or rest stops in space.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  75. MrHappypinkpants

    If at all possible we should be preventing ANY of our signals from going into space. If ET is listening and they wanted to, they could crush us like bugs and not even blink an eyelid. Maybe/hopefully life is different out there, I know here on earth most species fight, kill and conquer

    October 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Reticuli

      We should probably not be intentionally trying to send radio, but our home broadcasts are weak and unlikely to be detected. Our nuclear detonations have been fairly obvious and overt, though. And there's nothing we can do about the oxygen signature in our planet's reflective light spectrum.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Jeffe

      which begs the question, why would life be any different anywhere else in the universe? which of course makes for a great scifi series. i mean, another one.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
      • Reticuli

        "Life" has a lot of diversity. But intelligent life, that's probably not that different. Brain away from the rocks and predators. Digestive track in the direction of gravity. The superior mobility of bipedalism. Two arms for dexterity and balancing. Stereo vision. A mouth below the eyes so you can see what you're eating. Etc. Anthropomorphism works for a reason. Older species might have larger brains, use artificial wombs so larger brains don't have to be delivered, genetic engineering, etc. One has to worry about the types of societies that we are most likely to encounter, though, as they are likely to put space exploration, genetic engineering, and the continuation of their people above all else. Otherwise they would not have been one of those who headed out into the universe.

        October 17, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Elvis

      I agree, Mr. HappyPinkPants. Ever since the aliens circled around and landed in New Mexico, Americans have gotten fatter. I think they already know where we are and are waiting until we are nice and plump. Think about it.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • Reticuli

        Blame Roswell for reality TV?

        October 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
      • Tim Rigney

        Pshaw! I think ET's one and only goal would be to best find out how to serve man....

        October 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  76. Rocket Robbie

    The Milky Way is a vast expanse & here on the 'western spiral arm' we are pretty much in the arm pit of the galaxy. Imagine if our Solar System was much closer to the centre of the Galaxy where neighbouring stars are much closer to each other... I would think there would be much more motivation to develop technologies to allow us to travel between the stars & prove that life exists elsewhere. I truly believe we have not been visited simply because 'nobody' knows we are here!

    October 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Reticuli

      Well said.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • BKN

      WE ARE WASTING WAY TOO MUCH MONEY IN SEARCHING FOR THOSE PLANETS. IT COULD BE MUCH BETTER SPENT IN HELPING THE LESS FORTUNATE. WE COULD HELP GET PEOPLE BACK ON THEIR FEET AND TRY TO ELIMINATE HOMLESSNESS AND HUNGER.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
      • Adam

        Hey BRN. See that key on the left of your keyboard labeled Caps Lock. Please press it. You left it on by mistake. Thanks.

        October 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
      • Reticuli

        Yeah man, we should be spending more money like blowing stuff up and stuff. You know, useful things that make loud sounds and flashes. Like, you know, teletubbies for grown dudes and stuff. All this learning and exploration and science stuff just makes my brain hurt... and stuff. Spending thousands of times more money on already blowing stuff up just isn't enough. We should be spending more of Europe and South America's tax money and donations on blowing stuff up, too!

        October 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
      • Rod in Dallas TX

        By finding life on other planets, it would help to eliminate religion all together. Once we've eliminated religion, all the money the churches are hiding will feed the less fortunate. It's a win win situation.

        October 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
      • ActionJackson

        After you have spent your OWN personal wealth on eliminating homelessness and hunger, THEN maybe you can have an opinion on how the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the other European funders of H.A.R.P.S., can spend THEIR money!!!!

        October 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
      • Tim Rigney

        But the money it costs is negligible and not enough to help the billions of poor people in the world; and it creates jobs and perhaps more importantly, stimulates the imagination of children and gets them thinking about things in a more-mature manner.

        October 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • cmorcat

      The ones that have visited us have bumper stickers on their ships that read, 'Been there, done that, look out for the bipedial roaches.'.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Shane

      BKN, this money keeps a lot of people employed, and the overall amount of money spent on it is not that much.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  77. snewsom2997

    Isn't the star a Red Dwarf would not closer be better?

    October 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  78. The TRUTH!!!

    So what happended to Proxima Centauri ? is that the C?

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121016184436.htm

    Better try this!

    October 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  79. Michael Superczynski

    "Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth, may be related to this binary system."

    Um, last time I checked, our Sun is the closest star to Earth.
    Proxima Centauri would be the second closest start to Earth.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Michael Superczynski

      "star" not "start".

      October 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
      • Ha

        So pedantic they even correct themselves. Strange universe indeed!

        October 17, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • elandau

      You are right, the sun is the closest star. I have updated the story accordingly. Thanks for reading.

      Elizabeth Landau, CNN

      October 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  80. Marcus

    How can anyone doubt that the Heavens and the Earth was created by God.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Reticuli

      The lack of a God in the heavens. Your claim is unjustified. If he/she/it is there, then he/she/it does not want to be found and does not want you to believe in he/she/it. Learn to live as a mortal with mortal limitations and mortal knowledge. If there is a God and a plan, that's the plan. You do not get browny points for being right accidentally.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Observer

      Excuse me? What does this story possibly say that backs up your belief in an ancient creation myth?

      October 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Mitch

      Scientists and their silly ideas. They think they will live forever. Everyone dies in the end. Its all pointless really

      October 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
      • Reticuli

        They respect the continuity of intelligent life on this planet and the reality of their fellow beings' consciousness and capacity to carry on the work even after they are gone. That, music, and love is as close to divine as it gets here on the good Earth. Real divine, not fantasy.

        October 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
      • Amused

        Who said that they will live forever? Are you schizophrenic? I think you must be arguing with yourself as NO scientist has ever made such a perposterous claim...

        October 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • ger

      Why do you feel the need to bring god into an intelligent conversation.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
      • MrHappypinkpants

        God is made up, fabricated, fiction. The Universe is real

        October 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Amused

      You have asked How could anyone doubt that this entire complex universe was created out of nothing by an imaginary being?
      Gee, how could anyone ACTUALLY BELIEVE that an invisible, imaginary super being waved his magic hand and POOF! there was an entire universe suddenly created from nothing? Why in world WOULD ANYONE believe such an absurd notion??? I cannot think of a single rational reason to believe such nonsense...

      October 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
      • Tim Rigney

        Then why do you think the Big Bang happened when there was no reason for it to?

        October 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  81. Yakobi

    No problem. Send a probe now and it'll reach that planet in about 30,000 years.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Reticuli

      Interstellar space flight must be manned. 1), because as you start to approach the speed of light, time dilates and moves faster for the people back home in comparison, and 2) because the delays involved totally preclude the possibility of ground control and useful telemetry.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Tim Rigney

      It could get there in just 50 years or so, with present-day technology. Signals from it will of course arrive in 4 years. So certainly within one lifetime.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  82. Uri Nation

    After a planet is found, then what? We have no mean to get there; we can't even get to the moon anytime soon, because we spent the money fighting our own species, bailing out the banks, homeowners, GM and others.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • AttaBoy

      Why in such a hurry to go there ? Contact me and I can suggest some nice places on earth that you may want to visit first.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Reticuli

      Actually, we could land on Mars within a decade for under US$20 billion with pre-existing chemical rocket technology. A mission out several light years would require fission nuclear reactors and either nuclear propulsion or continuous-thrust ion propulsion. That's very doable, too. Mars is a far better destination for humans in the short term, but for astronomers that have extra-solar planet interests, this is a useful avenue for scientific research. Humans can do many things at once. This very myopic and American tendency to want all or nothing is not particularly encouraging to see. It is not a waste of time or thought to wonder. It is a waste of life not to wonder and seek understanding.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
      • Gil Nodges

        "A mission out several light years would require fission nuclear reactors and either nuclear propulsion or continuous-thrust ion propulsion. That's very doable, too."

        Well, you could certainly send a ship off in that direction, and that is doable, but the timeframe involved in arriving at that planet, make it VERY undoable.

        October 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
      • Reticuli

        It's doable for the people on a ship with ion propulsion. Once you start approaching the speed of light closer, time dilates and you get there even faster than conventional Newtonian physics predicts. From the travelers' perspective. The opposite happens at home. So if we're planning on getting messages of their arrival (let alone their actual return) in our lifetimes and can't accept this being a generational thing from the perspective of back home, then yes, it becomes impractical. But in terms of cost, it'd cost a fraction of what, say, Iraq has cost us. We just have to learn to think in longer terms and have some perspective about it. That kind of social consciousness, though, has its side-effects for a society. I'd be a little concerned about the long-term changes on our people if we put "the future" and "posterity" up on a pedestal a too much. We could end up subordinating the rights of liberties of those alive right now in the pursuit of higher goals.

        October 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  83. Roger Ramjet

    I always heard it was Alpha Centauri A and C – no B.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • ger

      don't assume the scientists know their abc's. They know their field of study and not much else.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
      • AttaBoy

        u mAde mY daY

        October 17, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  84. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So, DC Comics was correct! The planet Rann is supposed to be in that star system and is the home base of their character Adam Strange.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  85. Genoius

    This is eerily similar to the planet I saw in my dreams last night. I also remember saying 'one small step for man..one big headache for mankind'

    October 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • AttaBoy

      Oh boy, seems like your rover had a rough landing and hit your head somewhere!

      October 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  86. Garth Bock

    We shouldn't go there....the Jupiter 2 tried and ended up.......Lost In Space

    October 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Reticuli

      Hah.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Lou Cypher

      The Jupiter 2 would have been doomed if the destination had been Al Fresco's Pizzeria, let alone Alpha Centauri.
      They never had a chance.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  87. Alien

    Would love to know what a scientist would say if they could prove there was no other life outside of Earth. Would it be sorry we wasted so much time and money or would they have the guts to admit they were wrong and open their Bibles to the truth that was there the whole time.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Reticuli

      We do in fact know that you cannot prove a negative like that.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Rick

      Trillions of planets out there, sure seems like a huge waste of space if there is no life!

      October 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • pokydoke

      Alien,
      Unlike the Bible these planets are not based on fantasy and fiction. Life throughout the cosmos is probably quite common although we still have to prove that which may be much easier than proving the existence of your god.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • intersteller time traveler

      Alien... what will all you jesus freaks say when man discovers life outside our planet? That GOD put it there, even after you all so vehemently denied it's even possible? Eventually, you all can't continue to go back on your "preachings" because they were "misinterpreted" and still expect people to believe your nonsense.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
      • Poundaround

        Um, no, we "ALL" didn't. Some of us do not see a conflict between our faith and science and do not assume there is no life byond our solar system. Nor de we "ALL" refute evolution and the Big Bang. Broad brush comments are for the lazy and are generally dishonest in nature.

        October 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Believer

      Why do you put such limits on your Creator. It is pretty selfish and egocentric to believe we are the only ones around. We may be the test case and need to actually begin to live the way He wants us too and treat others with love and peace otherwise He will move to another planet.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Informer

      What a simple and uninspired universe you live in.

      October 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  88. Reticuli

    Stories like this almost always fail to mention the most important fact of all: we tend to find planets close to their host star, revolving fast around their host star, and/or that are very large because of our methods of detection. And yet we still find a lot of them, inclusing strange ones. We are barely scratching the surface. Planets are in fact plentiful in the universe.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  89. TJ

    Poor scientist. Still clinging to the hope of finding ET.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Reticuli

      Poor rube. Still clinging to beliefs written by people who condoned slavery, beat their wives, and killed little children.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • OverlordXenu

      Ever hear of the Drake Equation? Even the most conservative and pessimistic variables for it predict there are between 10 and 40 other technologically advanced civilizations out there right now. More optimistic estimates put it more in the range of tens of thousands.

      The discovery of planetary systems and Sol-like star systems makes the existence of other intelligent life more and more likely.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
      • Reticuli

        I'm not arguing with your fundamental point, but the Drake Equation's variables are difficult to actually quantify. It's an interesting exercise, but that's about it.

        October 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
      • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

        They must have intelligent life. Look how long they have avoided making contact with the barbarians on Sol-III. Idiots on that planet keep working at mutual self-destruction.

        October 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  90. Scott

    That location seems to be awfully close to where the planet Pandora was in Avatar.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  91. Pete

    Moon is much closer, and so is Mars, and yet, we never went there. Why dream about going 4 light years?

    October 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • pesceman3

      Why not?

      October 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Parker

      Agreed. I never even went 250 miles from my house, ever. Pointless to dream about things you will never see. Not in our life time anyways. Mars is slated for visit in 2100s. We will be lucky if we see first real Moon landing in this century.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
      • Rocket Robbie

        LOL! Good one! From your perspective the world is indeed flat.

        October 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
      • John Sheridan

        And you pulled your head out of the sand to be so negative. Put your head back in the sand and be quite.

        October 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
      • mdmann

        That's the dumbest reason given for non-exploration that I have ever heard. Congratulations.

        October 18, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • Reticuli

      Stories like this almost always fail to mention the most important fact of all: we tend to find planets close to their host star, revolving fast around their host star, and/or that are very large because of our methods of detection. And yet we still find a lot of them, inclusing strange ones. We are barely scratching the surface. Planets are in fact plentiful in the universe.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Mitch

      interstellar travel is probably 500 years away. We will all be dead in 50. Pointless to even discuss this.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
      • piloto

        Why, so that it will never happen? It's only because of the accomplishments of past generations that we have what we have right now. What if Edison never made the light bulb? What if people of the first half of the 20th century never dreamt of space? We'd have no lights and no GPS. Some people are so simple minded.

        October 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Kevin

      Glad to see that pioneering instinct is thriving :\

      October 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Oliver Cowdry

      Pete,

      Your right, no excitement here. The Robinson family made it there nearly 40-years ago. Danger, Danger Will Robinson!

      October 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Gaunt

      This isnt about going, its about discovering. You know, learning. Education. That sort of thing the educated elite consider important and the dropout trailer park denizens whine about and consider ungodly.

      October 18, 2012 at 6:19 am |
      • mdmann

        Where did that Pete person get the idea that we have not been to the Moon or Mars? Is he one of these "the moon landing was staged" nutcases? I guess the Mars rovers are on some Disney backlot.

        October 18, 2012 at 6:27 am |
  92. Josh

    “Hopefully Nature has provided a planet that is more easily detected,”

    However, such a planet would no longer be the size of Earth, but rather the size of Jupiter.

    I would rather maintain hope of an Earth size planet, in the habitable zone, around one of the Alpha Centauri systems.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Unfortunately, this planet is apparently too close to the star to have a comfortable temperature. Add to that their orbit is significantly faster than our orbit around our star.

      October 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  93. DEEDEE

    Sounds like a lovely place :)

    October 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  94. johnnyb

    Time to dust off the Jupiter 2! I guess the Lost in Space crew knew where to go way back in the 60's.

    October 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  95. Rocinante

    The star in that illustration looks more like Alpha Centauri A. Alpha Centauri B is more red color. Its possible that there are 3 or 4 planets orbiting each star as the stars orbit around a common center of gravity.

    October 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  96. Arthur Dent

    *grabs his towel and heads for Alpha Centauri*

    October 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • kj

      best reply ever.....don't panic

      October 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Like a BOSS

      I Sol what you did there!

      October 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Sebastian2

      Dress for summer; I hear it's pretty warm there...

      October 18, 2012 at 7:18 am |
  97. The_Mick

    In the Sci-Fi series "Babylon 5", the story is that we on Earth were taught how to use star gates to enhance space travel by the people (closely resembling humans) from the planet "Centauri Prime," said to be in the SAME location as this new planet! Their minister to Babylon 5 (a sort of space-alien United Nations on an Earth-run space station) was the cunning, nearly-evil Londo Mollari whose chief assistant, the saintly Vir Cotto, constantly kept him out of trouble. According to the story line, Mollari eventually became Emperor of Centauri Prime.

    October 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Informer

      OMG! Since it takes 4 light years for TV and Radio signals to reach this planet, that means they have been listening to the G.W. Bush administration for the last 8 years. They already KNOW there is no intelligent life here on Earth.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • khan in chandler

        they got the clue when father was electe...

        October 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • John Sheridan

      I will give you a B+ for effort. You are mixing your SciFi stories. Stargates are from the Stargate (SG-1, Atlantis, Universe) stories. I think you meant to say "Jumpgates" which were used in Babylon 5 to access hyperspace.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  98. Person

    If there were intelligent life there that had been listening to us on a 4-year delay ever since we started broadcasting into space, they would know full well how destructive and dangerous we are as a species.

    October 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • manguy

      Yes. Because they would know our languages as well.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • The_Mick

      Maybe, but according to the old TV series Babylon 5, the humanoid-people of Centauri Prime will one day teach us how to travel faster than the speed of light!

      October 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
      • Josh

        Isn't Zefram Cochrane suppose to be in that star system too? Well, if TOS is taken as a reference.

        October 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  99. Luis

    So when's the next bus? Hope I have time to catch it.

    October 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  100. stargazer

    sounds like SETI should be pointing their radio telescopes at Alpha Centauri...

    October 17, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Reticuli

      SETI has better chances of winning the lottery on the same day they get struck by lightning. Even with a universe teaming with intelligent life, it's extremely difficult to actually communicate across interstellar distances using electromagnetic radiation. The signals fade too much. You have to point your radio in exactly the right direction at exactly the right time. They have to be listening in exactly the right direction at exactly the right time in the future. Line of sight must be preserved when doing this. Signals must be of sufficient amplitude. You must have sufficiently sensitive radios on the receiving end with sufficient resolution. Then you have to figure out how to filter out the noise that will in fact be as loud or louder than the signal. Slightly wrong direction. Slightly wrong timing. Technology not up to snuff. And you get nothing. In contrast to popular belief, Earth does not broadcast omnidirectionally or with sufficient power to be picked up by other star systems. Only two things have the potential to tell anyone we're here at-range: the presence of oxygen in our planet’s reflective light spectrum and the detonation of nuclear weapons.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
      • Daremonai

        While I will agree SETI's chances are not good, there is a flaw in your take on signals. An individual signal indeed would be hard to pick up, but SETI was designed to pick up signals in general and picks out anything that does not have the characteristics of a natural source.. meaning it could detect the aggregate signals coming out from a planet.

        Keep in mind, radio wise Earth is currently as bright as a small star. SETI, if it were elsewhere, could easily detect us over hundreds of light years, possibly more. A civilization like ours might not put out a single super signal, but all of our transmitters put together are pretty noisy.

        October 18, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • zeta reticuli

      DISCLOSURE : coming soon in your neighborhood

      October 17, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
      • Pete

        Has anybody actually thought about how we humans have virtually developed all aspects of technology in ONLY the last 100 years of our existence? Humans have been here....say...6,000 years, but why do you think this technology is suddenly here relatively speaking in a blink of an eye? Do you think our little tiny brains just thought of it now but couldn't in the last 5,900 years? Think about it... Also, why do you think we do not visit the moon any longer? We were warned to stay off of it.

        October 18, 2012 at 11:34 am |
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