Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Water water everywhere, nor any drop to drink:

Scientists have discovered that an Earth-like planet just 40 light years away is rich in water. The discovery was made using a technique that could help us detect signs of life on distant planets.

Does an alien ocean exist on Gliese 1214b?

Does an alien ocean exist on Gliese 1214b?

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Gliese 1214b, water, vapor, ocean, alien, rayleigh scattering, subaru, Japanese, astronomers


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The planet Gliese 1214b is just 40 light years away and apparently has a water-rich atmosphere, which means it has plenty of water a prerequisite for life, as we know it.

Gliese 1214b is a "super Earth" meaning it is larger than our planet, in this case as much as 2.7 times larger. That probably makes the planet unsuitable for human habitation, since gravity would exert more much force on your body than on Earth, however the planet now becomes a candidate for life, and one day, in the distant future, could serve as a waystation for spacefaring humans.

Scientists have known about the planet since 2009. Recently a Japanese team used the Subaru Telescope to catch a phenomenon called "Rayleigh Scattering" and determine the composition of its atmosphere. This phenomenon is the result of light particles being scattered by molecules in the planet's atmosphere. Scientists can now detect this scattering of light and analyze it to determine the composition of the planet's atmosphere.

This method, once perfected, may reveal the first signs of life outside of our solar system. If scientists detect a planet with complex molecules that cannot be naturally explained, then it would be an indicator that life is present.

Likewise, any alien astronomers using the same technique on Earth would know of our presence because of the complex cocktail of pollutants in our atmosphere.

Although scientists are fairly certain Gliese 1214b has water vapor in its atmosphere, much like Earth does, they still need to confirm their results. They will do this with follow-up observations and by comparing their work with those of other teams also studying the planet.

That they have discovered a planet covered mostly with water is news to most people, however it is no great surprise to astronomers. Hydrogen and oxygen both are abundant elements in the universe with hydrogen being the most abundant by far. Naturally, these elements combine making water very common in the universe.

Earth, for example, has water covering about two-thirds of its surface. Astronomers believe that water arrived here after the Earth's creation, delivered by comets which are rich in water ice.

Of course, getting to all that water on Gliese 1214b will not be easy, and even under the most optimistic scenarios, it will probably be centuries, if ever, before humans can get to any significant extraterrestrial water supplies, so we had better take care of what's been provided for us here, on Earth.

While we may not live on a "super Earth" this is still the only Earth we've got, so we had better take care of the air and water that's here, right now.


Watch Catholic Online's most viral videos here!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Technology

Big losses for Amazon in the Stock Market Watch

Image of Amazon sales are down, and some worry the company will not meet its goals for the 2014 Holiday shopping season.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American retail giant Amazon has revealed some shocking financial news, that it has lost nearly $500 million in the past three months. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Amazon's shares dropped by 11% in after-hours trading, which took more than $15 billion off the ... continue reading


So, the Apple haters were wrong again - take a bite of this! Watch

Image of Apple has seen growth in the sales of its iPhones and Macs from this time in 2013, while sales of tablets have shrunk in the same time frame.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tech giant Apple has sold 39.3 million iPhones over the past quarter, which includes sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus which were released in the United States on September 19. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sales of the iPhone rose past most expectations, ... continue reading


Lockheed Martin may have just won the alternative energy war Watch

Image of Lockheed Martin may start producing working Nuclear Fusion reactors by the end of the decade.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lockheed Martin has announced a new breakthrough which may allow for the development of feasible nuclear fusion, which could help solve a potential energy crisis. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Maryland-based firm had revealed that the first fusion ... continue reading


Look out Mars! A future colony is expected to head out to the Red Planet in 2024 Watch

Image of A Dutch-based nonprofit organization, Mars One, intends to send a group of colonists to the Red Planet by 2024.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study about the potential of sending humans to live on Mars for an extended amount of time has shown that there are still some major roadblocks; specifically, humans would likely begin to die within 68 days of arriving on the Red Planet. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


It's the rise of the machines! Robots will take a third of all jobs in less than 15 years Watch

Image of Peter Sondergaard, the research director for Gartner, says that businesses will be more reliant on software and robots in the future.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Gartner, an information and technology research and advisory firm, predicts that robots, drones, and software programs will replace a third of all workers by 2025. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "One day, a drone may be your eyes and ears," said Peter ... continue reading


Meet Google's secret weapon in the global cyber war Watch

Image of Parisa Tabriz is Google's

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Meet Google's "Security Princess", the company's top secret weapon whom is charged with safeguarding one of the world's largest tech giants. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Her name is Parisa Tabriz, a professional hacker whom is paid to attack her own company to ... continue reading


Move over Clovis! Oregon may have been home to earliest humans in America Watch

Image of Archeologists digging in Oregon's Paisley cave complex.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Paisley Five Mile Point Caves, a network of caves in Oregon, may be the oldest site of human habitation in North America. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The find suggests that humans first reached the Americas at the end of the last Ice Age, a thousand years ... continue reading


What's that shiny, mysterious object in the sea of one of Saturn's moons? Watch

Image of Researchers suspect that the appearance of this feature could be related to changing seasons on Titan, as summer draws near in the moon's northern hemisphere.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Science loves a mystery, and so all eyes are upon a mysterious, shining object located on one of Saturn's moons, Titan. In one of the moon's hydrocarbon seas, dubbed the Ligeia Mare, a shining object has been visible to NASA's Cassini spacecraft. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Inventor of World Wide Web warns of encroaching government control Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The British inventor of the World Wide Web, 59-year-old Tim Berners-Lee has issued a dire warning concerning the freedom of the Internet. Berners-Lee says that freedom of expression on the Web is under threat by governments and corporations interested in ... continue reading


Vast new oil field discovered by Russia - with assist from U.S. oil company Exxon Watch

Image of According to the agreement, Rosneft and Exxon won't be able to do more drilling, putting the exploration and development of the area on hold despite the find announced.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Relations between the United States and Russia have been strained, what with ongoing hostilities in Ukraine and the threat that Russian incursions have made to the rest of the European continent. However, the recent discovery by Russian oil interests - with the ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 25th, 2014 Image

St. Daria
October 25: There is very little known about them. Chrysanthus was an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter