Hubble telescope discovers earth-close exoplanets and finds in its atmosphere indications of biological activity
On the two days ago in washington D.C (USA) ended gross astrobiology conference "abscicon 2006" the rumor already for coarseness. Like the renowned science magazine "nature" in the online offshoot "nature.COM / news "in the meantime, carefully enhanced and a well-known exobiologist in a telephone call with telepolis, the space telescope hubble should be a scientifically significant astrobiological discovery facilitated. It discovered a nearby extra-solar planet, where there are traces of biological life. The NASA transfers today’s press conference, which in the ronald reagan building of the international trade center, atrium hall cloak room (washington, D.C.) before selected journalists is held at 20.00 clock mez live.
Hand on heart – is not amazing that in the period between the greek antiquity and the year 1917, the year of the october revolution and the year of the united states in the first world war, to the sujet "life in all" estimated 140 books were written. At least the worldwide planet researcher geoffrey W. Marcy weub to win this development.
From aristotle to kant, the witest manner have broken his head, whether there are other earths and other life forms in our universe. And now we are in front of it, finally this millennial secret to the air.
That astrobiologists, exobiologists, bioastronomics and cosmobiologists – they are representatives one and the same thing and pursue the same goal – as well as planetary researchers or SETI scientists currently look full of optimism into the future, in view of the current developments and progress in the field of astrobiology, the exoplanets – research and seti astronomy hardly wonder even though the planetary guild needs to be granted to have made the big leap from all exobiologically inspired disciplines, as these opposite 185 extrasolar planets have on their account.
… Went to an end, but the bang is still followed by ..
How optimistic the representatives of this relatively young science branch are currently looking into the future, showed in washington D on the two days ago.C (USA) fourth groben astrobiology conference abscicon 2006. On the NASA AMES research center and the NASA astrobiology institute (NAI-initiated conference discussed hundreds of scientists from different disciplines on opportunities, techniques and search methods, aiberian life.
Near ten years ago
As on the last day of the event (thursday) during the "special symposium – NAI: astrobiology – vision for exploration" A press spokesman of the NASA the round of friends to an exobiologically important press conference (PK), which should be held this saturday, were awakened by many participants old memories.
View inside the legendar mars meteorite ALH84001. The short alh84001 stands for the location "all hill" and the finding year "1984".
Finally, the NASA already presented almost ten years earlier (6. August 1996) in a surprisingly convened press conference of the world substitute an astrobiological sensation in the form of a small, inconspicuous stone, where NASA reports were seen wormy structures that should formulate from bacterial-like marsian life forms. At the time the sensation seemed perfect. But in truth, this was just the beginning of the first chapter of an infinite story whose outlet is still completely uncertain up to today. The question of whether in ALH84001 only bizarre geological shapes or really fossil remnants of a microbial auberland life form can still be unanswered in the room.
Nearly ten years later
Now, almost ten years later, the US space workloads rejoined an astrobiological press conference that was not less brisant. In NASA headquarters in washington, D.C. Whish the sparrows already from the roofs. Their vocals should be facilitated by an international astronomer team with the hubble space telescope a sensational find.
Is the building recorded in the photo beginning 2005 next to the star gq lupi really an exoplanet? In the interpretation of this picture, opinions go apart today.
That the broken chefer is bubbled in this way, then the news @ nature internet magazine, an online offshoot of the print and internet magazine "nature", in the editorial "astrobiology: A young discipline holds promise". According to this, a 21-head researcher group made a discovery in january of this year as part of a multi-hour hubble observation, which could radically influence the previous worldview. In the post it is called at one point:
What so far, despite toughening efforts, no astronomer and planetary team ever mastered, is the hubble space telescope on 19. January 2006 seemingly successful with playful lightness. As part of a ten-hour observation, an international research team discovered a rocky exoplanet in the small earth-old star gliese 436 (GJ 436), in whose atmosphere chemical compounds and elements are present. These were able to influence biological processes that take place on the planet surface.
Dwarfs – at exobiologists "in"
Glieese 436 pays as a red dwarf star of type M exactly to the class of stars, which pursue planetary, astrobiologists and seti researchers since the latest with particularly coarse zeal. In the past, SETI researchers and astrobiologists gave little attention to such objects, since M-dwarfs are very light and ground arms. In the meantime, however, they believe that there could be a rough number of habitable planets around red dwarfs, on which even highly developed civilizations could exist. Computer simulations speak for this thesis.
X is not alone. Glies 436 was already discovered in 2004 a neptune-gross companion.
Even SETI wants to modify his old search strategy soon, especially as red dwarfs are very durable and put 70 percent of stars in the milk strain. The 40 percent of the solar mass to the ground arms of his genre-paying star gliese 436 is, so to speak, in the galactic homes – 30 light years from the earth – in the constellation lowe. Around him, US astronomers discovered a gas planet in 2004 with the 20-fold ground mass. At him, temperatures of 370 degrees celsius prevail. He circles GJ 436 at a distance of only 4.1 million kilometers. For a circulation about his sun, the subtellar companion named GJ 436B is 2.5 days.
Seven-fold ground mass and 1.5 out
Like the leading astrobiologist and abscicon conference participant mrs. Dr. Gerda horneck explained in a telephone interview, the bridal cute brodied already on the second conference day. "Already on tuesday, the trant of a significant exobiological discovery made the round. Even if the NASA wants to leave the cat out of the bag on saturday, we have already a look at her, "says horneck.
The exoplanets discovered by hubble is how dr. Horneck has come to experience to a body with the seven-fold ground mass. He circles his hometimes at a distance of 1.5 astronomical units (AU), which corresponds approximately a distance of 225 million kilometers. "So the planet’s coarse is rough, location but still in the habitable zone, which we understand the distance range that a planet has to comply with its hometer, so that water can permanently exist in liquid form on it."
Detection of photosynthesis
However, the actual clou on the discovery is, according to horneck that hubble with the telescopic imaging spectrograph (stis in the atmosphere of the 30 light years from the earth removed planets, the chemical compounds of ozone and carbon dioxide and the element of oxygen can prove, so exactly those ingredients, at least for the formation of terrestrial life, in the truest sense of the word "elementary" meaning and require. "If the hubble data is right, the goods are a very clear reference to life. Then realize that on the companion of gliese a kind of photosynthesis takes place."
the newly discovered exoplanet is a rock planet and much smaller the so far localized gas planets. He brings it straight to seven earth masses.
The microbiologist dr. Monika kosinski from the german aerospace center (DLR) in koln porz, which also participated in the conference, confirmed in an e-mail that, according to a US colleague, the current hubble observation was carried out with the transit technology. This method is characterized by the fact that the space telescope is no longer focused on the gravitational dance of the stars, but on planets that pass by before their respective hometer.
Stis spectrograph is thank you!
As x, so that from dr. Horneck created a premier name of the unknown rock planet, standing between the hubble space telescope and his mother sun, the light emitted by GJ 436 slightly lost, but still strong enough to the invisible planet "visible" close.
The previous four hubble maintenance missions have been fully worthwhile.
This procedure only works if the targeted star and the extrasolar planet and the earth are in a line. Then hits the light emitted by the star on a planet with an atmosphere, the light of the same is filtered. "The stis spectrograph on board hubble has taken advantage of this effect that lights light into its individual color components and determines the special light signatures. Which chemical connections hubble discovered in detail in the atmosphere of the distant world, I do not know. At the conference was repeatedly of oxygen, carbon dioxide and even ozone the speech, "says dr. Kosinski. But you are not looking forward to sullen. Although biological life is very likely on the foreign world around gliese, but hardly tangible by manus. "Until we can hold a microbe or a washfast reptile of this world in the hands, many years will pull through the solar system."