NASA: Exoplanets With Oceans Likely Common

Guest “if we could only book oil & gas reserves like this” by David Middleton

June 18, 2020

Are Planets with Oceans Common in the Galaxy? It’s Likely, NASA Scientists Find

Several years ago, planetary scientist Lynnae Quick began to wonder whether any of the more than 4,000 known exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system, might resemble some of the watery moons around Jupiter and Saturn. Though some of these moons don’t have atmospheres and are covered in ice, they are still among the top targets in NASA’s search for life beyond Earth. Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa, which scientists classify as “ocean worlds,” are good examples.

“Plumes of water erupt from Europa and Enceladus, so we can tell that these bodies have subsurface oceans beneath their ice shells, and they have energy that drives the plumes, which are two requirements for life as we know it,” says Quick, a NASA planetary scientist who specializes in volcanism and ocean worlds. “So if we’re thinking about these places as being possibly habitable, maybe bigger versions of them in other planetary systems are habitable too.”

Quick, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, decided to explore whether — hypothetically — there are planets similar to Europa and Enceladus in the Milky Way galaxy. And, could they, too, be geologically active enough to shoot plumes through their surfaces that could one day be detected by telescopes.

Through a mathematical analysis of several dozen exoplanets, including planets in the nearby TRAPPIST-1 system, Quick and her colleagues learned something significant: More than a quarter of the exoplanets they studied could be ocean worlds, with a majority possibly harboring oceans beneath layers of surface ice, similar to Europa and Enceladus. Additionally, many of these planets could be releasing more energy than Europa and Enceladus.

Scientists may one day be able to test Quick’s predictions by measuring the heat emitted from an exoplanet or by detecting volcanic or cryovolcanic (liquid or vapor instead of molten rock) eruptions in the wavelengths of light emitted by molecules in a planet’s atmosphere. For now, scientists cannot see many exoplanets in any detail. Alas, they are too far away and too drowned out by the light of their stars. But by considering the only information available — exoplanet sizes, masses and distances from their stars — scientists like Quick and her colleagues can tap mathematical models and our understanding of the solar system to try to imagine the conditions that could be shaping exoplanets into livable worlds or not.

While the assumptions that go into these mathematical models are educated guesses, they can help scientists narrow the list of promising exoplanets to search for conditions favorable to life so that NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope or other space missions can follow up.

[…]

In the next decade, NASA’s Europa Clipper will explore the surface and subsurface of Europa and provide insights about the environment beneath the surface. The more scientists can learn about Europa and other potentially habitable moons of our solar system, the better they’ll be able to understand similar worlds around other stars — which may be plentiful, according to today’s findings.

“Forthcoming missions will give us a chance to see whether ocean moons in our solar system could support life,” says Quick, who is a science team member on both the Clipper mission and the Dragonfly mission to Saturn’s moon Titan. “If we find chemical signatures of life, we can try to look for similar signs at interstellar distances.”

When Webb launches, scientists will try to detect chemical signatures in the atmospheres of some of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system, which is 39 light years away in the constellation Aquarius. In 2017, astronomers announced that this system has seven Earth-size planets. Some have suggested that some of these planets could be watery, and Quick’s estimates support this idea. According to her team’s calculations, TRAPPIST-1 e, f, g and h could be ocean worlds, which would put them among the 14 ocean worlds the scientists identified in this study.

The researchers predicted that these exoplanets have oceans by considering the surface temperatures of each one. This information is revealed by the amount of stellar radiation each planet reflects into space. Quick’s team also took into account each planet’s density and the estimated amount of internal heating it generates compared to Earth.

“If we see that a planet’s density is lower than Earth’s, that’s an indication that there might be more water there and not as much rock and iron,” Quick says. And if the planet’s temperature allows for liquid water, you’ve got an ocean world.

“But if a planet’s surface temperature is less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), where water is frozen,” Quick says, “then we have an icy ocean world, and the densities for those planets are even lower.”

Other scientists who participated in this analysis with Quick and Roberge are Amy Barr Mlinar from the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, and Matthew M. Hedman from the University of Idaho in Moscow.

By Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Last Updated: June 18, 2020Editor: Svetlana Shekhtman

NASA
“This animated graph shows levels of predicted geologic activity among exoplanets, with and without oceans, compared to known geologic activity among solar system bodies, with and without oceans.”
Credits: Lynnae Quick & James Tralie/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

While this science is very cool… Until we put an unmanned probe into one of these star systems to confirm that these anomalies are actually planets, this is like booking oil & gas reserves based on undrilled seismic amplitude anomalies. Since it is highly unlikely that we will ever physically investigate another star system with spacecraft, we’ll never know for sure. That said, they clearly have gleaned a lot of details about other star systems with Kepler, TRAPPIST and other exoplanet-focused telescopes.

72 thoughts on “NASA: Exoplanets With Oceans Likely Common

  1. What about all the hot Jupiters and planets in crazy orbits and rogue planets and planets radically changing orbit?

    • The amount speculative BS getting published as “science” is getting out of hand.

      It seems you can just conjecture any wild claim these days and call it science. Last week we were told there were 36 intelligent alien civilisations in the Milky Way !

      It’s all about clickbait headlines, not science.

      • It’s indeed click-bait headlines, but let’s not participate by adding to the wild claims. The claim wasn’t “there were 36 intelligent alien civilisations(sic) in the Milky Way” it was “there could be 36 intelligent alien civilizations in the Milky Way”. The former makes it sound like it’s a definite thing (IE that they’ve actually identified 36 such civilizations) where as the later makes it clear that it’s speculative.

    • Looks like even NASA are now using sociologists graphs with bouncing red arrows instead of correctly labelled axes !

      What a mess.

  2. From the article: “Since it is highly unlikely that we will ever physically investigate another star system with spacecraft, we’ll never know for sure.”

    I wouldn’t go that far. I think it is a certainty that humans will send unmanned probes through nearby solar systems. As for not being able to get around the speed of light, I wouldn’t bet on that. Never say never. Ya never know.

      • “you are blithely side-lining Einstein”

        In what way? Einstein didn’t preclude slower-than-light travel, which is the way I’m supposing our first unmanned probes will get to another solar system. I’m also thinking this will be the way humans reach the nearer solar systems blazing a trail acros Oort clouds and methodically making our way from one solar system to another. That’s the far future, or course.

        And Einstein is a very smart person, but I would not say he knows all the secrets of the universe. We have a long way to go to understand the environment we live in, so ruling things out at this stage of the game is just guessing, imo.

        • Tom Abbot – “…just guessing” ?? – well perhaps, but guessing should at least endeavour to be educated guessing and in touch with reality.

          I know that I personally would be well out of my comfort zone being part of brittle, immensely orderly and hugely delicate aggregations of matter such as spaceships and human tissues, hurtling through the cosmos at the speed of anything more than several magnitudes less than the speed of light. There is an awful lot of stuff spread throughout space, you know. And at that speed hitting even a wee atom of something is dangerous, I suggest.

          I also love “Star-trek” – but it must be taken with an huge grain of salt, Tom. “Beam me up, Scottie”!

          • And at that speed hitting even a wee atom of something is dangerous, I suggest

            That’s what the deflector shields are there for, as long as Scotty can keep the engines feed with dilithium crystals, you should be good. 😉

      • The standard model of physics isn’t complete. We also know that space-time itself is capable of moving faster than light. 100 years ago, telling someone we would walk on the moon in the 1960’s would get you laughed out of a room. We have a lot of science yet to discover, and that science might lead to faster than light travel, or even surfing space-time to something approaching C. While C is comically slow on a cosmic level, even half of that would allow humanity to spread far beyond our local arm of the galaxy in a relatively short time. Von Neumann probes, especially self replicating probes, at these faster speeds would allow us to discover the galaxy at an unimaginable pace. This is all science fiction, now, but yesterday’s science fiction are today’s facts. Why won’t the same hold true 100 or 1000 years in the future?

        • Joz Jonlin – But the same WILL hold true in 100 or 1000 years time, namely that human beings will not change. And I challenge you to find just one human being willing to leave Mother Earth with its lovely, protective atmosphere, its beautiful mountains and forests, Moms and Dads, loving family and all – knowing he/she will never ever return.

          • The same could have been said of the early settlers of America. They left the lovely, protective “beautiful mountains and forests” of their homelands, their moms and dads, family and all – knowing they would never return. And many of them didn’t even survive the journey across the ocean and many more didn’t last the first winter in the “new world”. Yet there were plenty that were more than willing to leave the mother land and give it a go.

            The same could be said of the first astronauts to land on the moon. They went knowing that there was a possibility they could die before ever reaching the moon (heck after what happened with Apollo 1, they knew it was possible they could die on the launch pad – but that didn’t stop them) or possibly not be able to leave the moon’s gravity once they got there. But they went anyway.

            Granted, travelling to other planets and/or solar systems is a bit more daunting task, but there appears to be no shortage of volunteers (Mars One has already received more than 165,000 applications for it’s one-way trip to Mars)

            With all the billions of people on this planet, you really think it’s impossible to find anyone willing to take such a leap into the unknown, even knowing mankind’s history of people willing to die travelling to “new” destinations (America, the moon) even when those travels could be one-way journeys?

          • I should note that while Mars One is no more, having gone bankrupt, the point remains they got a huge number of applicants. Do you honestly think of those 165,000 not a single one was serious about wanting to go on that one-way trip? If so, clearly you don’t know human beings all that well after all.

    • Well, it seems a certainty, we build telescope larger than 1 km in diameter in space.
      I might be inclined to wait until got 100 km diameter telescopes and with long time looking, before physically sending anything to another star system.

      I would rather that any space aliens are coming to us, rather possibly going to them.
      And any kind artifact of alien civilization should tell us a lot about them. And it seems possible that aliens are watching us- and lots of other aliens.

      • I think your size units might be a bit over-stated. The largest optical telescope on Earth is just over 10 m and we are nowhere near being able to build a 100 km telescope, either on Earth or in space. Perhaps you’re talking about radio telescopes but, I don’t think they are used for planet hunting.

        Regarding the article, the data concerning bodies within our own system is still incomplete and requires more missions to the most active bodies to fill in the missing details. Any extrapolation from what we know about our own system to what might be the case in exo-solar systems is pure speculation – no more accurate than reading tea leaves really.

        I certainly wouldn’t place Enceladus in the same category as Earth when it comes to geological activity and, as far as I’m aware, the moon isn’t “mildly active”, it’s dead as a dodo. So, I don’t put much faith in any of the rest of that graph.

        • –I think your size units might be a bit over-stated. The largest optical telescope on Earth is just over 10 m and we are nowhere near being able to build a 100 km telescope, either on Earth or in space.–
          You can’t make very big on Earth, as it is the bigger ones on Earth trying a lot tricks to reduce the distortion from the Atmosphere.
          The big telescope in space are limited the size of rocket. So something like 100 meter or 1 km diameter telescope is not going lifted by a rocket, rather they going to made in space.
          Another limiting factor other atmosphere for telescope size is the force of gravity. So making large telescope on the moon would also be limited by it’s gravity {also vibrations} but one might be make them as large as 1 km, but even 100 meter diameter telescope would useful, but 1 km diameter or 100 km, probably has made and used in open space.
          Maybe at Earth L-2.
          But going further out, like Jupiter L-2 {or further}might better because want to able to have long “exposure” time.
          Or one might want point at it for 6 months of time and with Jupiter’s 10 year orbital period, that works, no matter where you want to look.

      • “Well, it seems a certainty, we build telescope larger than 1 km in diameter in space.
        I might be inclined to wait until got 100 km diameter telescopes and with long time looking, before physically sending anything to another star system.”

        I agree. I think we need a telescope the size of the Earth’s orbit. Then we probably wouldn’t need to send probes to the nearest solar systems, we could just look at them very closely from here.

    • I probably should have qualified my statement by saying “it’s almost a certainty”, seeing as how there are things that could interrupt the quest to send a probe to another solar system.

      I know of at least one Russian billionaire who was seeking to send a probe to a nearby solar system using a Solar Power Satellite to accelerate the probe to very high speed.

  3. There is no place like home!
    What has made Earth so special, is having the 5th largest moon of the solar system with 1.23% of its own mass. The gravity of the moon massages the surface, helps outgassing, and after photosynthesis started about 2.7 billion years ago, together with the gravity of the sun the moon has been providing enough surface drag to start up continental drift.

  4. I simply fail to see the objective of studies like this. They make assumptions that can never be validated to derive numbers that can never be verified. You can demonstrate just about whatever you want by simply massaging your assumptions. How are they advancing science by these efforts?

    They might as well be modeling how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.

  5. The whole idea of life like we would imagine is ludicrous on TRAPPIST-1.

    – It is an Infrared-dwarf star to begin with, M8 class, even smaller than Proxima Centauri. TRAPPIST-1 is 8% the mass of our Sun. Although NO major flaring wasn’t noted in one long observation period of a few weeks, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen on a regular basis. We know Dwarf stars are prone to major flaring instabilities. And flaring would be bad in a compact system like TRAPPIST-1 because all the planets to be in the “habitable zone” would get scorched regularly by stellar proton and xray blast on a regular basis on their stellar facing side. And all the planets in the habitable zone are certainly tidally locked with one side always facing their IR-Microwave-XRay oven star. One side getting baked to a cider, the other side frozen to cryogenic temps like Mercury.
    The only thing the system has going for it in terms of life is a high metallicity, higher than ours. So its rocky exoplanets are likely literal gold mines of heavy elements.

    • It is frequently stated that all of the planets in the “habitable zone” of a red dwarf star will be tidal locked to the star. This is true if the orbits are nearly circular. However, Mercury’s orbit, in our own solar system, is significantly elliptical. This has resulted in a fairly stable resonance in which the day is two thirds of the year. It is highly likely that this sort of configuration has occurred in some of the exoplanet systems. On the subject of red dwarf flare properties, I would love to see statistics on this as a function of stellar mass. I would be obliged if anyone could point me to this data.

    • I did a bit more digging. It appears that most of the red dwarf flare data we have comes from the NASA Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) spacecraft that operated for about ten years through 2013. The data I see shows the frequency and intensity of flares for a number of red dwarfs, and indicates that flares are quite frequent. However, it doesn’t really describe flare activity as a function of mass and luminosity. Red dwarf masses range from 0.08 to 0.45 solar masses. I’d really like to know what the frequency of flares is over that range. Is it a continuum or is there a threshold at which flare frequency jumps up? This would have a big impact on the number of worlds that might potentially be habitable.

  6. Exo-planets are a giant bore. If there were intelligent life in our galaxy, we would have been visited. Peering into their telescopes and looking at thousands of hours of data, the astronomers excitedly report to us, “We saw a star that dimmed in a way that looks like it has a planet this big, could be like Earth!” They cannot see these planets. Without fusion we will not visit these stars. Who Cares???

    • We wouldn’t have been visited. Until we started emitting in the radio spectrum, we’d have been unnoticeable amongst dozens of other planetary systems.
      Then once noticed, it’d take who knows how long to get to us, decades, centuries. Maybe we have been visited, but we’ve not realised it. A probe looking like a comet or asteroid?

      • We have been emitting intelligent signals since Marconi, circa 1898. Those signals have now reached thousands of solar systems. Enrico Fermi said it best, “Where is everbody?”

        • a little over a century is an eye-blink. All these years after Marconi and we’re only now figuring out how to spot *potential* exo-planets ourselves.

          Assuming
          1) they’ve advanced enough to even notice our radio emissions
          2) they’re actually looking for such transmissions
          3) they’re actually looking in the right spot in their sky
          4) they manage to make sense of those transmissions
          then what? spotting and recognizing our transmissions for what they are and dropping by for a visit are two entirely different things.

        • Weak signals getting significantly weaker by the parsec. Signals easily overwhelmed by the background noise of the cosmos and also losing their coherency and information content over time. It’s a stretch to believe other intelligent life would actually be able to detect anything.

    • If there were intelligent life in our galaxy, we would have been visited.

      Humanity is an intelligent life in our galaxy. How many solar systems outside of our own have we visited? to date: Zero! so why do you think intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy would be any different in regards to visiting outside their solar systems?

    • This word “Cases,” I do not think it means what you think it means. Random testing shows that there are far more cases in every state than there are confirmed cases. The virus appears to be asymptomatic in as many as 45% or more of cases. Some places far more than 45%, and yet the media still report “Cases.”

      The random testing is far more revealing, but seems to be under-reported recently.

      Why would that be?

      Strange.

      • “This word “Cases,” I do not think it means what you think it means. Random testing shows that there are far more cases in every state than there are confirmed cases. The virus appears to be asymptomatic in as many as 45% or more of cases. Some places far more than 45%, and yet the media still report “Cases.”

        1. “random” testing Indicates there are more infections than cases in those places where
        where testing has been done. To date not much of the testing has been random, or
        provably random. As for the “undercounts” they range from 5% to 80%.

        The random testing is far more revealing, but seems to be under-reported recently.

        1. Hmm, the only thing it reveals is how far from herd immunity certain places are.

        Why would that be?

        Several reasons. The folks doing it the proper way are collecting multiple data points per person. Prevalence testing and survellience testing is not a one time and your done matter.
        For example, they need to see if your antibodies drop over time

      • “This word “Cases,” I do not think it means what you think it means. Random testing shows that there are far more cases in every state than there are confirmed cases. The virus appears to be asymptomatic in as many as 45% or more of cases. Some places far more than 45%, and yet the media still report “Cases.”

        example:

        Florida: 928,000 people tested Via PCR, 100,000 Positive
        206,000 people tested for Antibodies 8,500 Positive

        not 45% more. Sorry.

        Cluebird. Epidemics are “nation wide” but the interesting data is all local.

    • Meanwhile in Florida, according to the Governor the vast majority of those tested in their “spike” of cases are asymptomatic. More testing, more cases. The variables that count are how many get seriously ill and mortality.

      Three days ago my daughter-in-law who is an ICU nurse that works at two hospitals (University and Methodist) informed us the COVID units at Methodist were shut down due to lack of patients.

      Yesterday for the first time since Christmas my family gathered at my fathers house. He is 88 y/o, has COPD and type 1 diabetes and fortunately has the means to have 24/7 home care by dedicated caregivers that have been with us for several years now.

      I call him about every week as do my three siblings, I knew we had to do something to lift his spirits when I was talking to him about a month ago and I asked him how he was doing his response was “I’m still alive but I don’t know why!” Family is all he has and it was very demoralizing to not see us kids, his grand kids and great grandkids in so long. Sometimes one just has to balance the factors. And so we had a cookout at Dad’s yesterday. Since as a truck driver I am contact with so many different people I couldn’t even hug him and had to maintain social distance but others could and he got to hold his newest grandbaby for the first time.
      On the 4th he will be coming to my house for a cookout and fireworks.

      • “And so we had a cookout at Dad’s yesterday. Since as a truck driver I am contact with so many different people I couldn’t even hug him and had to maintain social distance but others could and he got to hold his newest grandbaby for the first time.
        On the 4th he will be coming to my house for a cookout and fireworks.”

        The leaders of China have done great harm to the world. And they did it Deliberately. We won’t forget it.

        • Amen. They have certainly ruined my lifestyle …and my health by closing my gym. At least I have a comfortable income and live in low-cost Philippines. But the filipino families I know have been devastated by this. They were always on the brink of destitution. Now, but for my and other foreigner’s help, they would have starved. The Chinese are reviled here by so many filipinos but the elite like Duterte are ok with converting the country into another province of China.

      • “Meanwhile in Florida, according to the Governor the vast majority of those tested in their “spike” of cases are asymptomatic. More testing, more cases. The variables that count are how many get seriously ill and mortality.”

        1. it is not true that more testing is more cases. It depends on the relationship between
        the testing rate ( Per Million) and the actual disease attack rate. if Rt is 1 cases can go up with fewer tests.
        think about it.

        2. the variable that COUNT, depend up where you are exactly. EXACTLY. If you are in an
        area with a low hospital bed count, then Hospitalization rate matters. In an area with low
        buffer of ICU beds? then Serious cases counts. Death rate doesnt matter one ounce.
        unless you are short of body bags.

    • I will bite on the OT post since I live in Dallas County.

      By the time we know anything about the mobility of this virus is a delay of days if not 2-4 weeks. We are looking at old data, the virus as all ready done whatever “damage” and we are only picking up the pieces. We will never be ahead of the curve. There is no 2nd wave; would have needed to get through the first wave first.

      The course of the virus and the data we have about it will NEVER be real-time. Testing requires interaction, which adds its set of variables, which further entangles the data stream.

      The faster this virus and all the other viruses move through the herd of humanity the better we will all be. The Human Immune System, since it is the oldest biological lab we humans have, is best the thing we have to defend ourselves from the virus.

      Get outside in the fresher air and sunshine.

  7. Congradulations Mr. “Rounding-error.”

    Texas has had greater than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases in the past six days. Are you happy that the “lockdown” has been lifted?
    .
    .
    PS Dallas has 313 deaths out of 16,437 infections.
    ..
    Round them numbers.

  8. “…decided to explore whether — hypothetically — ”
    ———————————
    Drake equation 2.0.

    What a stupid waste of time!

  9. So I wonder how could they calculate if there is water through luminosity when they are not even sure of the water phase nor of the chemical composition of the material causing the luminosity they are measuring. Then there is the fact that most star systems we can observe are binary unlike our own apparently. “Educated guess” indeed.

  10. After watching a YouTube video which showed Hubble pictures with zoom in details, I have come to the conclusion that we are not alone in the universe and gods did not create humans just to praise them..

    The unimaginable scale of the galaxies we can we or the thought of how big the universe is is truly mind blowing.

  11. Oh I don’t know, I think in this field wild speculation is admissible. Let us dream a little of fantastic adventures and sexy alien-esses in outer space!

    • Nothing stopping you Mr Capelli, but it’s called science fiction……. I love it too.

      The real science tells us we are ALONE. There is nothing else hanging around in our neck of the universe.

      Personally I’m cool with that……I like feeling special (ahhh)

      Setting off today , in your rented 300 kilometre per second Tesla space wagon, on a bargain break to Proxima Centauri b (the closest exo-planet), would have you arriving some 4 years later. Your wife would be complaining that it’s colder than they said in the brochure at a nippy -40°c.

      In that time you will have encountered no life forms what so ever, well none you could chat with over a coffee or a pan-galactic gargle blaster.

      There ain’t nuffin out there people.

      (this post has been peer reviewed)

      • “The real science tells us we are ALONE. There is nothing else hanging around in our neck of the universe.”

        What you should be saying is “as far as we know, we are alone. We don’t know if life on Earth is unique or not.

        • Ok, I stand corrected, as far as we know we are alone.

          I was being frivolous and a little hyperbolic.

          ….but ….what about these guys from Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute…

          https://arxiv.org/abs/1806.02404

          They concluded:
          “When we update this prior in light of the Fermi observation, we find a
          substantial probability that we are alone in our galaxy, and perhaps even in our
          observable universe (53%–99.6% and 39%–85% respectively). ”

          Sounds pretty scientific.

          That’s good enough for me 😉

      • c = 3E+08 m/sec = 300,000 km/sec = 3,000 Mm/sec.
        So 0.1% of c???
        Once you get above about 0.9c, relativistic time effects for such an interstellar journey must be considered on apparent travel times for the traveler.
        Your peer review may need some re-education.

      • The real science tells us we are ALONE

        It says no such thing. What real science says is the universe is huge and we’ve only observed a very small portion of it (rounding to 0.0% of it, as David might point out). As a result real science says we don’t know if we are alone in this universe or not, just because we haven’t spotted it yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist somewhere out there in the huge vastness of unobserved portion of the universe.

  12. https://techcrunch.com/2016/04/12/russian-billionaire-yuri-milner-invests-100m-to-send-a-fleet-of-spacecraft-to-alpha-centauri/

    Assuming that they could accelerate the fleet of hundreds of nano-probes to a high enough velocity to reach Alpha Centauri in 20 years, and enough of the space-wafers survived to investigate the star system and build the high-powered laser to send their findings back to Earth, it would take at least 25 years for them to get there and let us know they had arrived. Like I said, “Since it is highly unlikely that we will ever physically investigate another star system with spacecraft, we’ll never know for sure.” Even if the space-wafers accomplished their mission, they probably couldn’t tell us much more than where they were.

  13. EXOPLANETS ==> Exoplanets are a statistical fantasy — maybe. It is very nearly certain that there are real exoplanets.

    The chances that we have actually, scientifically, found and identified any exoplanets are vanishing small — what we have identified are fluctuations in the light from distant stars (seen from tens to hundreds of light-years away) with vast unknowns of all kinds between the source of the light (distant stars) and the observer on Earth.

    Speculation about planetary conditions on those may-imaginary planets is just that — wild woolly speculation — the kind done by the 1940/1950’s science fiction writers in their half-drunken Hollywood get togethers with John Campbell, Asimov, Silverberg, Heinlein and others.

    “Exoplanets” is a MEME to promote space travel — and of course, to promote increased spending on the Space Programs of nations.

    I think there are planets circling other starts — billions of them. I just don;t think we have the ability to detect them at all, no less know anything about them.

  14. If TRAPPIST-1 system instead being far away, was fairly near to Sol, it seems it could be first star system to go to. And if that true, other star travelers might choose to go to it first.
    So first, others might gone to it.
    Second, it appears to be very strange system to me. Or doesn’t look random and
    seems impossible to me.
    Third would be good star system to go to?
    Ir seems one might want to go star system with blackhole in it or something other kind exotic feature. But I think might changed mind, TRAPPIST-1 might better.
    Or the obvious thing is it got lot of planets- and that not my reason.
    I am thinking of how to get there and back. And thinking a small cold star might better than our Sun- of course Alpha Cent also has red dwarf, also.
    Anyhow, nearest planet orbits in 36.261 hours and furthest orbits in 450.43 hour
    TRAPPIST-1a travels at 81.14957 km per sec and
    TRAPPIST-1h travels at 35.90132 km/sec
    And all planets very close other in terms distance and in terms of inclination: lowest: 89.56 and highest: 89.89 degrees. Which is crazy weird. And only thing that makes think it possible is they all going pretty fast. And cause they so close, I tend to believe they are tidal lock also they might/or likely tidal lock like Mercury
    which is resonance:
    “It is tidally locked with the Sun in a 3:2 spin–orbit resonance, meaning that relative to the fixed stars, it rotates on its axis exactly three times for every two revolutions it makes around the Sun.” But don’t assume that it’s that particular resonance but rather likely one or some would some kind tidally locked resonance.
    An interesting question is when do they line up as in planetary alignment:
    “Because of the orientation and tilt of their orbits, the eight major planets of the Solar System can never come into perfect alignment. The last time they appeared even in the same part of the sky was over 1,000 years ago, in the year AD 949, and they won’t manage it again until 6 May 2492.”
    Because should not take long with this system.

    But more mundane matter is planetary launch window, TRAPPIST-1a going short launch windows with all the planets.
    So if in orbit of TRAPPIST-1a how much delta-v does take to go to furthest planet, TRAPPIST-1h.
    Another thing, suppose at TRAPPIST-1a and want use other planets for gravity assists. Or you coming into system and want to the planets for gravity assists.
    This sort of how make starport- it’s easy to leave and easy to get to.

  15. Guest “if we could only book oil & gas reserves like this” by David Middleton

    ya

    “https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-23/shale-oil-stocks-investors-question-industry-s-performance?utm_medium=social&cmpid=socialflow-twitter-businessweek&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=businessweek

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