Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis



Researchers: Maybe Half of Earth-Sized Planets Missed by Studies

It’s not clear how many planets are in Earth’s size range but that is important for physics reasons for habitability as we know it

A recent study suggests that Earth-sized planets may be missed if they are orbiting one of two binary stars: Earth-sized planets may be much more common than previously realized. Astronomers working at NASA Ames Research Center have used the twin telescopes of the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, to determine that many planet-hosting stars identified by NASA’s TESS exoplanet-hunting mission are actually pairs of stars—known as binary stars—where the planets orbit one of the stars in the pair. After examining these binary stars, the team has concluded that Earth-sized planets in many two-star systems might be going unnoticed by transit searches like TESS’s, which look for changes in the light from a star when a planet passes…

Distant planet system in space with exoplanets 3D rendering elements of this image furnished by NASA

We Are Warned: Don’t Try To Colonize Super-Earths

Theoretical astrophysicist Ethan Siegel tells us why he thinks it would end in disaster

According to NASA, super-Earth planets are “a class of planets unlike any in our solar system – are more massive than Earth yet lighter than ice giants like Neptune and Uranus, and can be made of gas, rock or a combination of both. They are between twice the size of Earth and up to 10 times its mass.” Such plants are common in our galaxy and so far we have discovered 1,342 of them. Some are hot enough to vaporize metal; some are dim and frozen. An infographic from NASA of the TOI 270 system provides examples of super-Earths in relation to Earth: From NASA: “This infographic illustrates key features of the TOI 270 system, located about 73 light-years away…