Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Lovely Planet In The Neighborhood? - 3

Oh, it is just down the block
In this series we have been noting the vast distances to planets that some astronomers loosely call "in our neighborhood" or "near us."

In previous posts regular readers know that we have pointed out how travel to those planets would take orders of magnitude more time than we have, in fact it would take more time than homo sapiens have even existed, which is about 200,000 years.

The pop science rags tell us things like "The extrasolar planet, now named GJ 1214b, is about 40 light-years away ... Astronomically speaking, this [planet] is on our block" or they might say that they have found a planet "near us."

Ecocosmology Blog has consistently pointed out that these planets are well out of our reach, and in fact impossible for us to reach since we have opted to stick with propulsion systems thousands of years old (see A Lovely Planet In The Neighborhood? and A Lovely Planet In The Neighborhood? - 2).

Now, two new planets have been detected that are even more "near" than previous ones we have discussed.

Those new discoveries are 12 light years and 4.4 light years away.

If we calculate using the arithmetic in the two Ecocosmology Blog posts linked to above, the number of years required to go to the planet 12 light years away would be 211,774.36 years ONE WAY.

Likewise, the planet "only" 4.4 light years away would "only" take 77,650.60 years ONE WAY.

Why don't we settle on going to Mars first, as we figure out a realistic mode of transportation for meaningful space travel?