Until now the discovery of most exoplanets has been by detecting indirect evidence of them. Now there is technology that can actually see them and analyze much of their atmospheres and temperatures. Per the article:


The sophisticated car-sized instrument, called the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), is attached to the 8-meter Gemini South telescope in Chile and represents a new era in exoplanetary discovery. The GPI, which has been in development since 2003, is capable of not only resolving the dim light from an exoplanet orbiting close to its parent star; it can also analyze the planet’s atmospheric composition and temperature....“Most planets that we know about to date are only known because of indirect methods that tell us a planet is there, a bit about its orbit and mass, but not much else,” said Bruce Macintosh of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who led the team that developed GPI. “With GPI we directly image planets around stars -- it’s a bit like being able to dissect the system and really dive into the planet’s atmospheric makeup and characteristics.”



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This is amazingly advanced technology. 

Hopefully we will be able to confidently identify exoplanets that can support advanced life. Then we can zero in on them in search of intelligent signals as we send such signals in their directions. 

Surprising they're able to do this from our planet. People don't realize how advanced this technology is getting. When we finally do develop star ships one day at least we will have the survey equipment ready.

I know this may be controversial, but does mankind really need this information and expense. The chances of us ever having the technology to travel to distant planets and galaxies are nil. I know we need to push our boundaries to extremes, and it would be nice to know that other planets may be capable of supporting life, but we will never have the means to get there, and if there is intelligent life on a distant planet, it is impossible for them to reach us. We are obsessed with fanciful ideas fed by science fiction movies and T.V. shows. We should stop wasting our resources on impossible dreams and concentrate on what is achievable, without needlessly squandering our precious resources chasing rainbows. 


You can say the same thing about anything that is expensive and fanciful. And how do we know something isn't achievable if we don't try to achieve it? The day you stop chasing rainbows is the day you stop pursuing your dreams. I would find it a terrible tragedy.

We by no means know that we cannot travel to another habitable planet. Researchers have already estimated that there might be some as close as 12 light years away. Moreover, Einstein said there were wormholes in the universe through which one could go from one place in it to another very distant one in almost no time. Someday we might master "Wormhole Technology" to travel in short order where we like in the universe. Finally, if we are able to contact other intelligent life perhaps it will be able to share very intriguing information with us such as how to extend our lifetimes by 1000 fold or so. Are you getting interested now? If such a thing happened after our deaths maybe the intelligent life would be able to travel back in time and resurrect the positive thinkers while very graciously leaving the others to RIP. 

Sorry, but we are starting to get into the realms of superstitious belief here. These types of conversations usually come from the Bible thumping brigades, who wont accept the impossibility of a God figure or life after death because it says so in the book. I wont be following false science idols, any more enthusiastically than false religious ones.

If it were possible to travel backward and forward through time, do you not think we would have met some time travellers from the future already?

What would happen when a spacecraft travelling at 671 million miles per hour collided with a pebble? Do you think it might explode in an immense fireball? Maybe we could deploy our force fields! 

Beam me up Scotty

We should concentrate on what we are doing best, like genetic research. Maybe a cure for cancer might be a more worthwhile aspiration for our funding and great scientific minds than fanciful journeys to the planet Klingon.

The question of whether time travel is possible is most certainly a scientific rather than a religious one and should be vigorously pursued. Realistically, the day is coming when Earth will not be able to support its population. As such, we would be remiss to not begin now to identify other habitable planets and to develop the technology to evacuate to them as necessary. Doing this does not preclude us from ALSO working to cure diseases and developing new technologies that can be used to improve the quality of life on earth. You might do well to consider the following quote by Darwin:


Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: It is those who know little and not those who know much who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

Thank you for that John. You are obviously a very well read and educated person, I am not as well read as your good self, but I am enjoying this debate, and certainly don't mean to cause any offence. I still contend though, that you are living in a fantasy world.

Space and time travel belong in the realms of Bigfoot stories,Loch Ness Monsters, or ghosts.  It is now, and always will be impossible to reach distant planets in the  duration of a human lifetime. There is definitely a notion that human beings can achieve anything if we wait long enough and try hard enough, but there are some things we will never achieve. We cannot defy the laws of physics,( as quoted by Scotty on the Enterprise), e will always equal mc squared.

Some of the most intelligent and educated people believe that the Earth is only 6000 years old, and will spend their lifetime in futility, trying to prove Biblical stories as the literal truth. Intelligence and education it would appear, are no substitute for simple common sense and human reason.

By all means nurture personal dreams of time travel, it certainly makes for great movie themes, but I believe its time for us all to get real and deal with the truth, just exactly the same as we seem to be tackling the great religious lie that has controlled our lives and our destiny's for centuries.  

Why did you ignore my comments about the possibility of wormhole technology?


Einstein said there were wormholes in the universe through which one could go from one place in it to another very distant one in almost no time. Someday we might master "Wormhole Technology" to travel in short order where we like in the universe.



I personally don't believe there are any such things as wormholes, any more than I believe in ghosts. From my simplistic perspective, Einstein came up with a notion of wormholes in 1935, to explain gaps in his relativity theory, and it has been taken up by science fiction writers and fantasists ever since. It cant be proven to be real because it doesn't exist. Just the same as we cannot prove that God doesn't exist. The fact that we cant prove God doesn't exist doesn't prevent people from believing in God. Can you see where I am coming from?  

Don't get me wrong, I am all in favour of knowledge, for instance the images obtained by Hubble have opened up our view of the universe as never before. I have no problem with similar projects which improve our understanding of where we fit into the grand scheme of things. I just don't think we should waste time on fantasies.

For example, if the government decided to squander billions of dollars to prove creationist theories, you and I both would be rightly incensed. I view time travel and interplanetary planning along the same lines.

In answer to Idaho Spuds reply, the universe is not an empty vacuum,  a grain of sand impacting anything at 652 million miles per hour would cause an enormous explosion, a spacecraft could not avoid collisions traveling over those kind of distances at those velocities. (Without a Star Trek force field of course)    " There's Klingons on the starboard bow captain!"

For millions of years many people thought the possibility of flight was a fantasy yet we eventually not only mastered it but went to the moon. Again I will bring to light Darwin's quote:


Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: It is those who know little and not those who know much who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.


The question of whether there are wormholes that may be used for space travel should not be at the mercy of laymen. It should be left to experts. Until there is true scientific knowledge that there are not wormholes that can be used for space travel empirical consideration must be given to the possibility that there are.


I really don't see that this discussion is going anywhere. Very respectfully, don't be too unhappy if scientists continue to investigate the universe. 




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