Planets worth a second look

300px-Artist's_impression_of_the_planet_Ross_128_b

An article that drew my eye today involved a planet called Ross 128b, a possible rocky world within the goldilocks zone of a neighboring dwarf star. This world is about 11ly away, so it’s not incredibly distant.

I’m always excited by such finds, and they are happening a lot these days. Our technology for detecting such worlds is getting better, and some incredibly bright people are constantly looking toward the stars. Very exciting stuff.

Would I prefer that we had a feasible FTL drive? Sure. However, we do not at the moment. Something that will probably happen within my lifespan is that we may send an interstellar probe out there, in the case of Ross 128b we could reach it using a small unmanned craft pushed by solar sails and lasers.

By the time such a craft reported back, I’m pretty comfortable in assuming that I’d be dead. Oh well- the point of such exploration is for future generations to expand our footprint into space using technologies and techniques that are at present unknown.

It can be done. After all, my grandmother was born in a time when indoor plumbing or electricity wasn’t widespread, and she frequently hitched rides on a horse drawn wagon to school. One hundred years- look at how far we’ve come. It’s incredible.

Imagine where we’ll be one hundred years from today.

If we don’t blow ourselves up, or poison our planet irreparably, the future will be filled with wonders. Our i-gadgets will look quaint and primitive. And maybe, just maybe, we can get off this rock.

Here’s hoping.

4 thoughts on “Planets worth a second look

  1. I agree, the desire to see new places and visit new worlds seems insatiable in the human race. That’s why smart people jumped on what were little more than logs with sails and set sail in the hope that there was a new world out there. A colony ship that is self sustaining is probably within our grasp now and surely will be in the future.

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    • For sure. Funny, there were plans for interstellar ships in the sixties (see Project Orion). Surely we can do better these days. It’s about damn time- I’d like to live to see such a venture.

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