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Time to plan a mission to Alpha Centauri
Time to plan a mission to Alpha Centauri
Late last year, a team of European astronomers announced that they had found the planet, located in the nearest star to our solar system – in Alpha Centauri. 4.6 light-years from us – it is literally two steps on space standards. Before the system can be reached within one life at a speed of one-tenth the speed of light. We do not need to build a warp drive to get to the next system.
But another group of astronomers said they saw no signs of the existence of the planets in this solar system. They also observed the slightest vibrations star Alpha Centauri B, which would indicate the gravity-powered world invisible to us, but found no trace of him.
If a small planet exists, it can not be observed because it is close to the star and is lit by a tenth of a billion radiance.
Question about the reproducibility of the observations is a major in science. This is typical for the search of planets that “tease” extremely weak signal in the “noise” of the star, which eclipses the planet own characteristics. In any case, this is a problem for the telescope.
“Refrain from the trip to Alpha Centauri” – so the magazine announced New York Times about the doubts about the existence of the planet.
Nevertheless, the question is worthy of consideration. Ten years ago, in science there was a paradigm shift paradigms, and astronomers were surprised how many planets around other stars is. The issue today is a bit different: where exactly are the planets around the stars? How big they are and how evolution proceeds of the planetary system?
Impressive data collected by the space observatory “Kepler”, which was recently sent into retirement , made it clear that on average, every star in the Milky Way has at least one planet. Moreover, the planets the size of Earth are more common than giant Jupiter.
If we will ever know for sure that there is no planet Alpha Centauri, it will be quite a shock worthy of the front pages of major publications.
Even if the planet Alpha Centauri B does not exist, you can say for sure that in this star system, there are other planets. It’s just a matter of time. Perhaps all three members of the triple system with two sun-like stars and red dwarfs have their own planet.
From this we can safely say that in the Alpha Centauri system has a number of planets and at least one of them must be habitable. The details of this system will be as interesting and unusual to us as European researchers long ago the New World.
This system is so old that Darwinian evolution may well have a long road ahead of multicellular creatures to Jurassic Park.
Could there be intelligent life? Due to the unpleasant coincidence, the star system is too far south to be able to communicate with her most powerful radio antenna Arecibo in Puerto Rico or the new Allen Telescope Array in northern California. You know how scientists are trying to contact with extraterrestrial life?
In any case, it’s time to think about the project of a thousand years: the colonization of the visit and the star system. It is difficult to imagine a more daring step for mankind. The project will cost untold trillions of dollars spent in dozens of generations. But we will interstellar species – virtually immortal. This is a significant step in the evolution, as the first outing of sea creatures to land in the distant past.
As always, the devil is in the details. It would be unethical to take a habitable planet, even if there is no intelligent life. The first colonists will have to deal with foreign microflora and bizarre creatures of prey, unless of course they will.
But uninhabited planet or moon of Alpha Centauri can terraform. The Earth colonists, not yet born, can be genetically engineered to adapt to a foreign environment with ease.
If we assume that there is an asteroid belt, it is possible to build an artificial world. We could co-exist within the system to its original inhabitants. Astropaleontologi and astrobiologists are very sensitive to the visit for habitable planets to study the development of life. As the first directive in the “Star Trek”, we should avoid contact with intelligent life, so as not to disrupt their cultural evolution.
Now imagine that on Alpha Centauri lives technological civilization. Not seeing any SETI signal from Earth, tsentavriantsy believe that we are extremely immature technology race. They decide to colonize our asteroid belt. This scenario could explain many UFO sightings and even “close encounters” with aliens. In fact, we would have fixed indirect evidence of extraterrestrial colonies in our solar system – the anomalous heat in the asteroid belt or unusual manifestations of the electromagnetic field.
Let’s just let’s hope that if tsentavriantsy exist, they are not planning an invasion mainly out of fear that we will conquer them once. On the other hand, the aliens could learn a lot .
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Tags: Extraterrestrial life , the universe , aliens , space flights .
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