Fred Stluka on 25 Feb 2017 17:26:24 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] "Nearby"

Yeah, good stuff.  Thanks!

Fred Stluka -- --
Bristle Software, Inc -- -- Glad to be of service!
Open Source: Without walls and fences, we need no Windows or Gates.

On 2/24/17 1:12 PM, christopher barry wrote:
Fantastic writeup - Thanks!

On Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:56:10 -0500
Timothy Jones <> wrote:

It is moving about 56 km/s toward us (thought not necessarily directly
towards us, just that the distance between that star and our star is
shrinking by 56 km/s). But don't get your hopes up.

The planets are probably tidally locked or near tidally locked and
suffer run-away
green house effects <>; also they are
incredibly close to their star so they would need some very serious
ozone protection or else life would probably be limited to deep
oceans if they had oceans that hadn't boiled away or frozen over.
They may possibly have lost their atmospheres due to being so close
to the star.

Even for the moons in our solar system, though, when the ocean is
frozen over, there is a suspected liquid layer underneath that could
possible host life (e.g. Europa) which is why NASA has an interest in
looking for potential life on Europa. So the conditions of the
TRAPPIST-1 system may support some form of life but like with Europa,
the ability for complex life to develop is highly limited due to lack
of resources. Also, life can be fragile, and Earth went through many
periods of mass extinctions; if any of the planets around TRAPPIST-1
have life, they are probably relegated to small regions in the
twilight zones (that is, if one side always faces the star and the
other always faces empty space, the part of the planet between these
two zones would be in permanent twilight and have the mildest
climates if the planets still have their atmospheres) making life on
those planets much more vulnerable to total extinction, a fate Earth
avoided in part due to being almost entirely habitable and thus
having a more diverse biosphere.

Two things are interesting about our findings on exoplanets: it is
pretty common for a star to have planets (just a few decades ago this
wasn't an accepted reality); and our solar system seems to be a bit
of an outlier in terms of the configuration of planets around the
star. A lot of these systems have Jupiter size or larger planets in
very close orbit around the star; in the case of TRAPPIST-1, the star
is much much weaker than the sun and all the planets we've found are
in a very close tight orbit. This later fact may be due to selection
bias, i.e. it is easier to find planets around a star when the
planets are large and very close because the motion of the star is
more strongly affected (for Doppler-effect discovered planets and
also the luminosity detection method) and also when they are closer
to the star and the plane of orbit is nearly head on relative to

That being said, 40 lightyears is a long way away. Apollo 10's max
speed was around 11082.5 m/s which is the fastest manned craft speed
we've ever obtained. That's slower than how fast TRAPPIST-1 is moving
toward us! 40 light years is 3.784e+17 meters away. If Apollo 10 went
directly towards the start, it would close the distance at a rate of
about 67082.5 m/s. It would take Apollo 10 approximately
5.6408154e+12 seconds to make it to TRAPPIST-1. That's nearly 178,846
years. Rocket technology hasn't changed too much since then. Our
national debt is nearly 20 trillion dollars. China has massive
internal debt as well. India still has massive poverty. Russia
doesn't have a large enough economy. Even if the entire world turned
all of their defense spending towards producing a generational ship
to reach TRAPPIST-1, we are still talking many tens of thousands of
years at best, ignoring all threats to human life such as radiation,
collision with stray objects, etc. It just won't happen with our
current technology and there are no foreseeable advancements that
would make this happen any sooner.

Science fiction has sparked our imagination of traveling to the stars
but the cold reality is that while there is probably a lot of life
off Earth in this Universe, everybody is trapped in their own solar
systems by relativity and the vast distances between stars. Also,
Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and we have about another 5
billion years until our sun eats its inner planets. So who knows what
can happen in those five billion years. But just keep in mind that
human-level intelligence is probably very rare in any case. Some
scientist have proposed that at one point about 75,000 years ago the
human species was once reduced to 3,000 - 10,000 individuals due to
climate catastrophes. We were so close to extinction we could
probably taste it. Earth was very close to losing its human
population, in which case today it would be a wild planet whose
greatest intelligence might be the non-human apes that survive today.
Not only must a planet have the right conditions for life, it must
also have the right conditions for complex life, and even then, its
going to take some luck to get to a human-like species.

So we are probably not alone but we are also probably very, very
rare, and we likely won't meet any alien intelligence before we go
extinct. Sorry bout it.

On Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 11:06 AM, Paul Walker <>

I wonder what the relative motion of this newly identified system
and our solar system is. Are the systems moving towards or away
from each other, or will they maintain the same relative distance
over the next several hundred years?

On Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 1:11 AM, Rich Mingin (PLUG) <>
None of those obstacle are insurmountable.

On Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 12:08 AM, Joe Rosato <>
Travel time
( el_time)

An interstellar ship would face manifold hazards found in
interplanetary travel
<>, including
vacuum <>, radiation
weightlessness <>,
and micrometeoroids
<>. Even the minimum
multi-year travel times to the nearest stars are beyond current
manned space mission design experience.


On Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 6:37 PM Rich Mingin (PLUG) <>
Respectfully, you're wrong, Joe. We could leave NOW (well, minus
construction time) if we really wanted to. We've had the
technology to make a 40ly trip for decades. It's just so
expensive as to *seem* impossible.

The limiters are the inefficiency of our recycling, and the lack
of collective will.

On Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 5:13 PM, Joe Rosato <>

Considering "2001 a space odyssey" had us going on a manned
Jupiter flight with HAL (missed by 16 years at this point), and
BladeRunner with flying cars that park on top and inside
buildings in 2019 (hurry up!!) - I think our Sci-Fi to reality
gauge needs to be re-tuned.

I pretty sure that we will be waiting a long time before we can
travel 40 light years.

On Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 4:07 PM Ronald P Guilmet
<> wrote:

Given that the sun's lifespan is half over where do you think
space exploration is headed? Are we, humans, looking for a place
to colonize before it all goes black? I always wonder that.

On Feb 22, 2017 3:46 PM, "jeff" <> wrote:

Kelly Johnson - Skunkworks
"We have the technology to send ET home."
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