Frank and His Comics Podcast, Episode 17: Spywing
Arrow was so good this week that I had to cut out half my notes to make room for the other topics. Will definitely be doing a episode-long Arrow podcast very soon! In the meantime hope everyone enjoys the show.
There are spoilers from this week’s Arrow. So make sure you watch that before listening to this episode.
Regarding the recent NASA Kepler discovery of what is being dubbed the closest “Earth-like” or “Earth twin” planet…
"This planet Kepler-186f orbits a star that’s cooler and dimmer than the sun. So while we may have found a planet that’s the same size as Earth, and receives the same amount of energy to what Earth receives, it orbits a very different star. So, perhaps, instead of an Earth twin, we have discovered an Earth cousin," said NASA Ames Research Scientist Thomas Barclay, of BAERI.
Standing on the surface of Kepler-186f, this is how the view may appear. Credit: Danielle Futselaar
Not to downplay this hype, however. There’s no mistaking it…THIS IS A MAJOR MOMENT IN HUMAN HISTORY.
Astronomers have discovered planets that reside in the Goldilocks or Habitable Zone of solar systems outside of our own. This, however, is the first confirmed find of a planet as close in size (10% larger) to that of Earth.
"This is the best case for a habitable planet yet found. The results are absolutely rock solid. The planet itself may not be [rocky], but I’d bet my house on it. In any case, it’s a gem," Geoff Marcy, Astronomer at the University of California Berkeley told Space.com.
Kepler-186f’s potential for liquid water and perhaps, life, is what make its existence that much more intriguing. [view larger]
"Some people call these habitable planets, which of course we have no idea if they are, we simply know that they are in the habitable zone, and that is the best place to start looking for habitable planets," San Francisco State University astronomer and study co-author Stephen Kane said in a statement to Space.com.
"The four companion planets — Kepler-186b, Kepler-186c, Kepler-186d and Kepler-186e — whiz around their sun every four, seven, 13 and 22 days, respectively, making them too hot for life as we know it. These four inner planets all measure less than 1.5 times the size of Earth," noted in an official statement from NASA.
Geoff Marcy said, "This planet is modestly illuminated by its host star, a red dwarf. This planet basks in an orange-red glow from that star, much [like what] we enjoy at sunset."
Kepler-186f is 1 of 5 planets around its host star, which is a red dwarf, taking 130 days to orbit. As seen in the comparison-worthy artistic rendering above, Kepler-186f and our Earth would share similar views at dawn and dusk.
Whether or not Kepler-186f does contain life, one thing is for certain, there’s a whole lot more space to explore. If Carl were here to share in these continued findings, I believe he’d revert to a self-quoted suggestion from his novel-turned-motion-picture, Contact…
“The universe is a pretty big place. If it is just us, seems like an awful waste of space.”
Stay curious. This is just the beginning.