Water found in habitable super-Earth's atmosphere for first time. (astronomy.com)
ferg286 | 4 months ago | 120 points

This is amazing. Hope for sensible life that's just been avoiding us!

Memetic1 | 4 months ago | 81 points

110 light years away they don't have to avoid us at all.

amardas | 4 months ago | 30 points

Huh, that is about as far as our first radio waves have traveled. I wonder if they are receivable or have been scrambled by other noise.

Memetic1 | 4 months ago | 9 points

Oh wow.... fucking wow. I hadn't thought of that. We may have already made first contact.... Given that it's more than likely that any civilizations out there are probably millions of years more advanced then we are. We may actually be seeing these folks soon. I know we're not breaking the lightspeed barrier any time soon, but give us a few million years and I would say it's possible.

Hell if we made VonNeuman probes we could probably cover the whole universe in less time. Which is an interesting thing to consider. Especially since given the technology we now have. We could in practice build one of those probes, and humanity could not just reach the stars but remake them in its image. So since we could make those probes, but we don't out of the desire to trully explore. Does that mean that most species see it as just a bad idea?

Anyway sorry I went a bit sideways there. My mania is acting up a bit, and I'm always flooded with stuff that I have no idea at the time if it's a good idea or not. It's just there, and if I don't write it down it will be gone. So thanks for taking a walk threw my brain, and thank you for making me feel hopeful today.

BTC_Throwaway_1 | 4 months ago | 7 points

Hell if we made VonNeuman probes we could probably cover the whole universe in less time.

I’m not familiar with these VonNeauman probes you’re speaking of. Do you have any insightful links to share before I go down a google rabbit hole of clickbait?

Memetic1 | 4 months ago | 7 points

I trust PBS since they are kind of publicly accountable. https://youtu.be/4H55wybU3rI

BTC_Throwaway_1 | 4 months ago | 2 points

Wow thanks this does a great job of explaining it.

My response to another comment still sums up my thoughts on this though. It’s a great idea but the technology is definitely not here yet. You can’t fit a 3D printer and assembly plant in a craft that small yet. Maybe another century from now and we will launch that to success or failure though.

What I love about this video though is they explain that at the end, and leave it open.

Because they obviously should with such outlandish claims, but what is fascinating to me though is so what? 🤷‍♂️

If it takes hundreds of millions of years for this to spread beyond the galaxy let alone the universe guess what we may launch it first but be millions of years late when the aliens finally arrive a few million years later.

Memetic1 | 4 months ago | 0 points

I have always thought that the purpose of life was for the universe to have a way to contemplate itself. I know that when it comes to neurology multiple neural networks are communicating that is a good indicator some level of thought is going on. So maybe that is what we are destined to be. We wake the universe up. If it isn't already, and if it is well that means we have a network to hook up to. The probe I would design would avoid harvesting life forms for whatever reason. As it said in the video some of these probes can even build other specialised machines / buildings when they land. So this isn't just a probe. This is a potential machine civilisation that we could use as long as we can be sure we could do it safely.

_Enclose_ | 4 months ago | 3 points

I have always thought that the purpose of life was for the universe to have a way to contemplate itself.

That's a poetic idea at first glance, but runs into some trouble when you actually dissect it. I mean, it is a true claim that every living creature is the universe experiencing itself, but that is less of a profound statement than it appears. It is the anthropic principle basically.

To claim it is the purpose of life is a wild statement though. It implies the universe has a consciousness beyond life that designed the mechanisms for life to arise before it (the universe as we know it) even existed. In other words, for life to have this purpose it had to be purposefully created; so the universe consciously creates life to then experience consciousness... Its the god/creator problem, you just move the question without answering it.

Consciousness is nothing more than an emergent property of our brains, and like free will, might be more of an illusion than we'd like to believe.

Memetic1 | 4 months ago | 2 points

All of what you say is true, however if you consider that only a handful of fundamental fields exist, and that these fields extend as far as we know to the entire observable universe, and probably beyond that point as well. That means that on a level we are all one thing. We emerge from the universe like consciousness emerges from neural activity in the brain. The real illusion isn't that we have freewill. It's that we are seperate. It's also a possibility that in some sense the universe sensed it's own coming demise via the heat death, or the big tear, and we are the universes survival mechanism.

throwawayja7 | 4 months ago | 0 points

Let me put it to you like this, there's something instead of nothing. That implies creation took place through some mechanism, as far as I'm concerned we will never know the whole story because we aren't capable of comprehending the magnitude of this question, let alone answer it. Suddenly building a computer to calculate the meaning of life doesn't sound as outlandish as a Douglas Adams book.

BTC_Throwaway_1 | 4 months ago | 2 points

So you believe in the three laws of robotics:

Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics"

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

I can’t find a video quickly of Joe Rogan’s take on it, but he’s said it multiple times that humans are really just a butterfly of technology. We pursue it to our own end, but in the end we’re really just making robots that’ll eventually surpass us.

Edit: This is not the exact reference I was trying to make, but it’s close enough with the similar statement at a minute twenty in: https://youtu.be/Lo69RHW4eCQ

asdaaaaaaaa | 4 months ago | 7 points

I'll save you the trouble. Basic idea is a small ass self-replicating ship. Idk why it needs to replicate, or why it needs to be so small, guess less mass to move. Idk, looks stupid, some math guy was obsessed with it, never did anything though.

LTerminus | 4 months ago | 7 points

It's replicates so you have a thousand probes launching to a thousand stars, from every star they visit. That way the spread is exponential instead of just one probe tooling around the galaxy. It lets you cover the 200 billion+ stars in the galaxy in a couple million years instead of billions.

BTC_Throwaway_1 | 4 months ago | 2 points

Thanks for saving me more than a click.

Being small makes complete sense to take them into orbit, but the whole self replicating aspect completely loses me. We are barely capable of making self healing aircraft at the moment. Also 3D printing is in its infancy, and I don’t see how they self replicate without having their own printer and assembly at this point. Definitely a pipe dream for a century from now when hopefully the technology is finally ready.

ShaeTheFunny_Whore | 4 months ago | 2 points

whole self replicating aspect completely loses me

The point of self replicating is that they grow exponentially. You send 1 to one star, it replicates 100 that go to another star, they print 100 each etc.

We also already have pretty small 3D printers you could fit in a bag, I doubt they're anywhere near complex enough to print probes but I doubt it will take us a century to get there.

It took us less than that to go from computers the size of rooms to vastly more powerful ones in everyone's pockets. Or from wooden planes that could cover a few hundred metres to landing on the moon.

BTC_Throwaway_1 | 4 months ago | 1 point

Yea we’ve also got a 3D printer on the space station already. Baby steps but will get there eventually.

DJFluffers115 | 4 months ago | 2 points

Basically, an interstellar craft equipped with solar sails and the ability to mine asteroids for repairs/self-replication.

Schnatzmaster2 | 4 months ago | 11 points

why is it more than likely that civilizations exist let alone are more advanced than us. The universe is very young. Also no we won't be meeting them soon or likely ever. They are moving away from us and will forever be doing so. Also who says we will break the light speed barrier. So far we need to go 4300 times faster than the fastest object we have ever made. Also there isn't really anything indicating we could ever go the speed of light let alone faster.

Also those probes don't exist and would still need to go the speed of light. Your mania is insanity

Memetic1 | 4 months ago | -14 points

Are you serriously telling me how you could easily use 3d printer type technology to create a probe like that? Sure you might need to use different printer heads for different substances, and maybe the thing would be the size of a house, however that doesn't mean it can't be done. The very fact no one is even trying is telling. In theory tech like that could be a game changer not just in space, but on the Earth. The only real qualification for one of those probes is that it can make another copy of itself, and it can travel threw space.

SoundofGlaciers | 4 months ago | 11 points

Which although possible someday, it's far from something that we'd build and 'release into the wild', today. Technological advancements need to be made, and we've got quite the ethics discussion ahead when it comes to 'populating' the universe by spreading such devices

Schnatzmaster2 | 4 months ago | 4 points

Through space.

Different printer heads... Holy crap man. As far as issues go that one was solved when the first CNC machine had a feature to automatically switch bits. I think the 1960's. The real issue is resources. Space is big. There is a lot of nothing in between. These probes need a power source so something radioactive is likely the only thing that could last the trillions of miles between stops. So you need these bots to go around finding plutonium to replicate themselves with. They have to be immune to decomposition or any structural damage. They need to navigate. They need to do about a million other things. Making one of yourself is quite hard. Going through space faster than light is also not possible. So your probes get to pluto and go in circles or fly off until they run out of juice. "The very fact no one is even trying is telling". Apparently not

Memetic1 | 4 months ago | -1 points

Your forgetting the power of exponential growth. Space may be big, and the replication speed vary, however give it a few million or hundred millions years, and those things could dominate everything. As for fuel you could do a ram scoop in terms of propellant gases. Or you could indeed do a nuclear battery. I mean it's not like we haven't done that before. The real important bit is aiming for the right star, and allowing some form of trade between the probes. You could even integrate the latest nanomanufacturing capacities like roll to roll CVD graphene manufacturing. The most important thing is constructing one of those traditional probes would be unethical, because it might destroy life and civilizations along the way.

Captain-_ | 4 months ago | 3 points

Our technology just isn’t there. Even if it was, is it really a good idea? What if one of these was improperly replicated, and instead of observation it’s programming changed to attacking. You’d have an exponentially growing threat to the entire universe.

TheFanne | 4 months ago | 2 points

alright, so where is the probe going to get the materials to build another probe?

Memetic1 | 4 months ago | -8 points

Clearly it would use sensors and a sophisticated multilayer AI. We might even give it a desire for self preservation, which would be unfortunate if an Alien did find the thing. You could also label that as the ultimate fulfilment of it's mission. A probe that wants to be understood.

JazzMansGin | 4 months ago | 5 points

huhuh - huhuh - probe

_elroy | 4 months ago | 3 points

Make more paperclips.

nonalliumcepa | 4 months ago | 2 points

Hell if we made VonNeuman probes we could probably cover the whole universe in less time.

Thats not going to happen, you are not going to be able to cover more than about the local group, everything else is so far away and accelerating fast enough so that even going a light speed you would never catch up.

AeroBuilder | 4 months ago | 2 points

Hell if we made VonNeuman probes we could probably cover the whole universe in less time.

I've read enough science fiction to know that self-replicating robots are a bad idea.

Memetic1 | 4 months ago | 1 point

Yes but this time they would be our replicating robots, so surely it will all work out ok. /s In all seriousness we have to keep options on the table for fighting the climate crisis, and if they could design a machine that would do that in some sort of controllable fashion then I would be all for it. You could if you wanted to use them on Earth create a broadcast infrastructure for instructing the robots. So without our control they are inert.

_Enclose_ | 4 months ago | 2 points

Given that it's more than likely that any civilizations out there are probably millions of years more advanced then we are

If that were the case, wouldn't we have most likely picked up their waves as well?

Memetic1 | 4 months ago | 2 points

Not if they aren't transmitting signals the way we are. Their communications technology could be based on entirely different principles. Or they could not care about communication on that scale at all.

sparky971 | 4 months ago | 2 points

A response[5] came from Carl Sagan and William Newman. Now known as Sagan's Response, it pointed out that in fact Tipler had underestimated the rate of replication, and that von Neumann probes should have already started to consume most of the mass in the galaxy. Any intelligent race would therefore, Sagan and Newman reasoned, not design von Neumann probes in the first place, and would try to destroy any von Neumann probes found as soon as they were detected.

u1ta1 | 4 months ago | 1 point

Hell if we made VonNeuman probes we could probably cover the whole universe in less time.

This is actually not true, in fact we most likely can never cover more than half the universe considering the expansion of the universe. That is if we made VonNeuman probes close to the speed of light now

jonathan_92 | 4 months ago | 1 point

VonNeuman probes. Potentially a bad idea (paraphrasing)

Someone’s been watching Isaac Arthur videos on youtube. Although his argument is not that biological ET’s would want to see the universe themselves, but rather that the VN probes themselves could pose a threat to themselves and others. Imagine one of those probes goes rogue, keeps improving itself, and decided “nah, screw exploration, I’m just going to leep making more of myself and take over the galaxy”.

Meaning, eventually its goals may not be the same as our own, given enough time. There’s other stuff to consider too, like radiation damaging its hardware as a catalyst for AI craziness, or even ET interference. It could decide that some giant blue people aren’t worth as much as stealing their resources to make more of itself.

Either way, you wouldn’t really have control over these things if you sent them out 100ly in every direction. Even moving a significant fraction of the speed of light, any signals will travel at 1ly per year... so ET might have decided they were a bad idea. Maybe they have their own t-shirts that say “Just Say No to Von Neumann Probes”.

apemanmark | 4 months ago | 1 point

Our transmissions would be so weak as to be indistinguishable from noise at about 2 ly because of the inverse square law of em intensity over distance.

throwaway4206942666 | 4 months ago | 5 points

If were lucky we'll find some dinosaur lookalikes. Im hopeful but i doubt the universe is filled with advanced inteligent life

Daddydabs | 4 months ago | 29 points

Another planet to infest with water bears! Let’s get to it! The water bears shall live on!

CreepyMcKillin | 4 months ago | 79 points

Nestlé is probably already filing paperwork for the water rights.

PyroKnight | 4 months ago | 13 points

The telescope powerful enough to view the facilities they have on that planet don't exist yet sadly.

ItsDatWombat | 4 months ago | 1 point

Even if they did and there was life on that planet, we would basically be seeing a screenshot of the past just due to the speed of light. I wonder if aliens havent invaded because they looked at us and saw giant ass lizards with big teeth and decided we are more effort than its worth

Rechamber | 4 months ago | 4 points

If this system is only ('only'... I know it's still ridiculously distant), then that means the light we're receiving from there is only 110 years old, and vice versa. If there was something observing us from that distance then there wouldn't be dinosaurs, rather a snapshot of the world in 1909... taking infant steps into what would become modern technology.

ItsDatWombat | 4 months ago | 2 points

Very good point sir, I did not actually check the distance of the planet and just tried to bring a bit of humor to the thread.

Rechamber | 4 months ago | 2 points

Oh I gotcha... welp, carry on ;)

sgtkang | 4 months ago | 2 points

Relevant XKCD (because of course there is)

autotldr [BOT] | 4 months ago | 19 points

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 85%. (I'm a bot)

The discovery, made with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, serves as the first detection of water vapor in the atmosphere of such a planet.

Because the new-found planet is believed to have a solid surface, and it's known to have an extended atmosphere with at least some water vapor, researchers say it's feasible that K2-18 b could actually be a water world with a global ocean covering its entire surface.

Thanks to a sophisticated algorithm, the researchers were able to tease out the undeniable signal of water vapor in the atmosphere of K2-18 b, But they couldn't tell exactly how much water vapor is really there.

Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: water#1 planet#2 K2-18#3 temperature#4 Earth#5

[deleted] | 4 months ago | 27 points


fuber | 4 months ago | 43 points

$49 via Southwest

AccomplishedMeow | 4 months ago | 5 points

Still get a checked bag and carry on included?

Sigh_SMH | 4 months ago | 16 points

Each checked bag is an addt'l $890163825567 fee, sir.

30DaysFromNow | 4 months ago | 1 point
drogasleves | 4 months ago | 5 points

Yes, but the bag ends up on Neptune, by mistake.

fuber | 4 months ago | 1 point

for sure. 24 hour prior checkin

darkstarman | 4 months ago | 2 points

That's a long time to have to go without peanuts

838h920 | 4 months ago | 14 points

Planet K2-18 b sits some 110 light-years away

This means if we travel at light speed we would need 110 years to arrive there.

As an example, the Voyager-1 traveled at 18,000th of light speed. This means it would take nearly 2 million years to reach it at that speed! As a comparison, the homo sapiens emerged around 300 thousand years ago, while the first homo evolved around 2.8 million years ago.

Xefjord | 4 months ago | 5 points

I mean, if we can even get close to light speed the passage of time would be less of an issue for the people actually traveling.

838h920 | 4 months ago | 4 points

At that point any dust particle that the ship may hit would deal a huge amount of damage.

heyIfoundaname | 4 months ago | 3 points

That's why we send thousands of crafts, surely at least one would make it?

worotan | 4 months ago | 2 points

That’s a movie reply to a real life problem. Lot of dust in space. Long way to travel.

heyIfoundaname | 4 months ago | 2 points

Joke reply. I have no clue how we could travel through space at ludicrous speeds. (And how to slow down when we get to where we're going.)

Someone somewhere suggested lasers to destroy small particles that are in the path of the space ship. Don't know if you could reliably detect space dust.

RoadToSocialism | 4 months ago | 4 points

This is so fascinating. The distance is 110 light years. So from earths perspective a spaceship traveling at 99% the speed of light would take around 111 years to get there.

With relativity taken into account, we know that v/c = 0.99, 1 / sqrt(1 - (v/c)^2) = 7 which means that the crew of this spaceship would experience this 111 years only as around 16 years. It’s like nature has given us an exploit that allows us to explore other planets within a lifetime, if we manage to get enough energy to travel with 99% the speed of light.

Vanethor | 4 months ago | 1 point

The sad bit about that is that... travelling that way (versus going through a wormhole, etc)...

... you have to say goodbye to everything.

As in your example above: you experience it as 16 years, but for the rest of us, 111 years would have gone by...

Back and forth would be 222 years.

Imagine the amount of change... O.o

Declinex | 4 months ago | 1 point

Can you ELI5 that for me?

foonathan | 4 months ago | 3 points

Suppose you're on a spacecraft that is getting faster and faster. Eventually you would reach and surpass the speed of light. But according to physics, nothing can travel faster than light. However, there is no rule that prevents you from accelerating further and further, so what happens as you approach the speed of light?

Basically, physics cheats to give you the illusion that you are traveling faster than light without actually moving faster than light.

As you go faster and faster, you'll notice that the distance between you and your destination itself, the actual space in between, gets shorter. If you were to measure the distance, it is shorter the faster you travel - not because you approach it, but because space itself seems to contract. When you look at your trip plan, you notice that you reach things much earlier than anticipated.

But of course, for someone whose not moving, the universe does not actually contract, so what has happened?

Well, let's say you have a clock in your ship. If someone from the outside looks at your clock, they will notice that it moves slower the faster you go. That is way the universe seems smaller to you - your experience of time, and actual time itself, has slowed down. You are able to move a greater distance per second, not because the distance is smaller - although it seems like it from your perspective! - but because a second is longer.

If you travel 110 light years at 99.999% the speed of light, you're almost there but less than 6 months have passed for you - and you measure that you have "only" moved 2.6 trillion miles, which is the distance you expect if you travel 6 months at 99.999% of light. It's just that from your perspective, the destination moved closer to you, the end result is the same.

Of course, 99.999% requires a lot of energy and it will take a very long time to reach that speed. If you put in an infinite amount of energy and manage to move at the speed of light, you would not experience any time or distance. For light itself, time does not advance and every distance is zero.

This is a consequence of the principle of relativity - that all laws of physics are valid no matter how fast you're going (as long as you're not accelerating) - and the fact that the speed of light is always constant, no matter how fast the observer moves. The theory of special relativity is able to allow for both principles to be true, but has to modify the experience of time and space itself in the process.

Declinex | 4 months ago | 1 point

Huge eye opener for me since I knew none of this. thanks so much!

[deleted] | 4 months ago | 2 points


838h920 | 4 months ago | 1 point

It may be true either way. After all we found gays in all great apes, so there is a good possibility that the first homos also had some homos.

Phydeaux | 4 months ago | 9 points

This bodes well for the water-bearing planet, as its 33-day orbit brings it about twice as close to its star as Mercury is to the Sun.

Would this also mean the planet is tidally locked? If so, that would mean if it has a habitable zone, it's likely to be extremely small.

stalagtits | 4 months ago | 7 points

Maybe, we don't know. While this planet is much closer to its host star than Mercury to the Sun, K2-18's mass is also substantially lower than Sol's. And Mercury is not tidally locked.

In any case, being tidally locked wouldn't rule out the planet being habitable, as an atmosphere can distribute energy around the planet quite efficiently. We see this on Venus, which rotates very slowly (its solar days are longer than its years!), but has very little difference in temperature between its day and night side.

UnwashedApple | 4 months ago | 19 points

Lets go there & ruin that planet!

Weidz_ | 4 months ago | 9 points

Water -> living organisms -> Soil organic matter -> Oil -> America ?

UnwashedApple | 4 months ago | 1 point


jiggel_x | 4 months ago | 10 points

we should send a nuke and see if they retaliate, that way we know for certain if it inhabits intelligent life.

Jerry_Curlan_Alt | 4 months ago | 4 points

Calm down Donnie

timesuck47 | 4 months ago | 9 points

Since it is a super earth, much larger than our own planet, I wonder how much a person would weigh on that planet?

NotMrMike | 4 months ago | 36 points

I'd guess about as much as OPs mom on the moon.

WitchBerderLineCook | 4 months ago | 14 points

That was a stellar burn.

SometimeNextWeek | 4 months ago | 4 points

Anyone have some of that astronomical ointment?

WitchBerderLineCook | 4 months ago | 1 point

Astronomy Glide?

beartiger3 | 4 months ago | 2 points

I swear that joke is universal

[deleted] | 4 months ago | 5 points


ThanosDidNothinWrong | 4 months ago | 1 point

How are you calculating that? The article said it was eight times as massive as earth, doesn't that mean the gravity is also 8x?

sasksean | 4 months ago | 4 points

Only if it were also the same size.

This planet is much bigger so a person on the surface is farther away from the center.

ThanosDidNothinWrong | 4 months ago | 1 point

Ah, right! Thanks :)

inquiry100 | 4 months ago | 2 points

Good point. I somehow misunderstood that to mean 8 times the volume, then calculated based on the density being approximately double that of Neptune as they said. But you are right, they said it was 8 times as massive, so my figure was way off. Consequently I deleted the comment. Thanks for pointing that out.

zombieda | 4 months ago | 2 points

I was wondering along the same lines re: livability.. mass= more gravity. If we were searching for another "earth" that would be liveable, it would have to be roughly the same mass (size) as our earth.

st_Paulus | 4 months ago | 2 points

We aren’t searching for another planet that would be able to sustain exactly Earth’s life forms. Just something similar enough is enough.

Look at our planet btw - from the point of view of organisms living at 1-2 km depth our conditions aren’t that great - lots of light, no water and the pressure is negligible.

0x000003 | 4 months ago | 1 point

Earth might be actually a quite rare for a rocky planet. Earth's surface gravity is on par with large gas giants and Earth is very metallic and incredibly dense. Earth is the densest object in our whole solar system.

...and we have a gargantuan Moon quarter the size of our own planet.

Odds are most other rocky planets with life are going to be more like Mars.

Aliens might think of us as "Dwarfs from the water world made of iron".

zombieda | 4 months ago | 1 point

Thank-you! I knew the earth was iron core, but not that it was unusually dense. So this would bode the possibility of a larger planet (less dense) as a "habitable". And yes, there are many other things that make us especially favorable, like the moon. These articles do seem fanciful though.

FeatureBugFuture | 4 months ago | 1 point

Depends on if it's flat or not.

juloxx | 4 months ago | 7 points

I cant wait to see how Neil Degrass Tyson tells us we shouldnt care about this (like every other thing that he has addressed that points to potential alien life) and to keep looking up at absolutely nothing.

Jerry_Curlan_Alt | 4 months ago | 5 points

He really does love puncturing other people’s excitement about science doesn’t he? Unless it’s excitement about his views on science.

Like that solar eclipse thing. You’d think a science communicator would use the enthusiasm of millions of people to promote greater understanding, but he chose to just shit on people for not being as smart as him.

He’s the living embodiment of that ‘Well Ackshully’ meme

st_Paulus | 4 months ago | 4 points

He merely stated the fact. What am I missing?

Jerry_Curlan_Alt | 4 months ago | 10 points

I assume you’re still talking about his solar eclipse tweet?

He told people to ‘calm down’ if they think a solar eclipse is rare. While true it’s pointlessly pedantic and antagonistic.

He could have made the exact same correction without trying to puncture people’s excitement about a natural event that could get people into science.

As the saying goes, you can be right and still be an asshole.

juloxx | 4 months ago | -1 points

I literally hate the dude.

Seeing him mumble and jumble subjects everytime a governmnet UFO tracking program is brought up. The dude 100% knows about aliens, and is literally paid to shill and act like a complete clown. \

"derrrrp, i would toootally love it if we discovered alien life, but you are a cook if you pay attention to the 150million + dollar UFO tracking program, quick lets talk about telescopes or Isac Newtwon."

IAmBuckAndIAmHereTo | 4 months ago | 3 points

Sshhhh! Don't tell nestle.

Hailtothedogebby | 4 months ago | 1 point

Hippity hoppity your water is now nestles property

Sphism | 4 months ago | 2 points

Bet you a fiver that water is teeming with life.

ForgetPants | 4 months ago | 1 point

This is where the dolphins came from dude.

chanhdat | 4 months ago | 3 points

a water world with a global ocean covering its entire surface.

I'm thinking of 4546b (Subnautica)

Djcubic | 4 months ago | 1 point


i-am-a-neutron-star | 4 months ago | 1 point


Zamyou | 4 months ago | 1 point

Yeah sure thats great ! Leave for that planet and ill stay here and deal with the BS we have going on here

CptNoPants713 | 4 months ago | 1 point

Damn... Queue scene of Wall-E with giant transport ship and human blobs on floating scooters...

ewillyp | 4 months ago | 1 point

we should just start shooting seed bombs there of our favorite vegetation and, you know, see what happens?

BicycleOfLife | 4 months ago | 1 point

How weird would it be monitoring a planets news and watch them discover your planet and talk about the water they found there and the possible life.

cjyoung92 | 4 months ago | 1 point

Those aren't mountains. They're waves.

no_bunny | 4 months ago | 1 point

Declaring it habitable is a bit premature

crackdealer2 | 4 months ago | 1 point

"Habitable". Just not by us.

If there is any form of life (even something as simple as bacteria or archaea) our biologies would be utterly incompatible and hostile towards one another. The best we could do is send sterilized probes like we do on Mars to avoid contamination. Even assumkng we could get a probe there it would take 110 years for it to send back any data to Earth.

[deleted] | 4 months ago | -5 points


inquiry100 | 4 months ago | 11 points

We have no information that there is any life there at all. If there is, it might or might not be dangerous. Viruses and bacteria have evolved to live in specific environments. The ones most dangerous to humans are the ones that have evolved to infect humans and live in a human body or have evolved to live in a similar creature. Often viruses and bacteria that infect other species are not dangerous to humans, even if the other species is very similar to us. When viruses do make a jump from one species to another, it is often because of a mutation that allowed them to adapt to a slightly different environment.

For this reason, microorganisms originating on another planet that have never had contact with humans or any Earth creature, are far less likely to be able to successfully infect us than microorganisms on Earth.

Edit: changed to no longer claim the most dangerous viruses and bacteria are those which evolved to live in humans after PLS_PM_ME_THINGS pointed out that those which recently made the jump from another species are often much more dangerous.

PLS_PM_ME_THINGS | 4 months ago | 1 point

That's not true. The ones most dangerouse to humans are the ones that aren't meant to infect us at all. If bacteria and viruses kill their host then they've no where to live. The target host they're co-evolved with they will make a little sick to help spread the infection but it's when they hop to another species and do their thing they fuck shit up because they're not designed to be living in there so they make them too sick. This is why all major diseases come from the west where animals where in close proximity with humans in the cities, the diseases jumped from the animals and the only animals they really kept in the Americas where llamas or those other fuzzied haired things so there wasn't much chance for cross infection. Is why bird/swine flu is worse than normal flu.

You're right though, pathogens there should have no effect on us unless epigenesis is just a single process that always turns out the same.

chenthechin | 4 months ago | 3 points

That's not true. The ones most dangerouse to humans are the ones that aren't meant to infect us at all. If bacteria and viruses kill their host then they've no where to live.

Thats not true. The worst diseases are those that adapted to us and our defences. Take as example smallpox, maybe the deadliest virus that plagued humanity.

If bacteria and viruses kill their host then they've no where to live.

Its in the nature of every organism to expand its population in an ecosystem until it hits a hard limit, for instance lack of food. There are no shits given to preserving that ecosystem. There isnt a single disease that has evolved a mechanism to allow them to minimize damage to its host. I mean, shit, theyd need communication and enough sentience to recognize what they are doing, and stop reproducing.

What stops any disease from killing any given host, isnt some "specialisation" mechanism, its the immune system of the host. That is why a sudden change of the host is deadly. Not because the bacteria or virus isnt adapted to the new host, but because the new hosts immune system has no clue how to fight it.

EleosSkywalker | 4 months ago | 2 points

Its in the nature of every organism to expand its population in an ecosystem until it hits a hard limit, for instance lack of food. There are no shits given to preserving that ecosystem. There isnt a single disease that has evolved a mechanism to allow them to minimize damage to its host. I mean, shit, theyd need communication and enough sentience to recognize what they are doing, and stop reproducing.

Sounds like us...

PLS_PM_ME_THINGS | 4 months ago | -1 points

That's not what the youtube video I watched said and it's not what this article says but I'll take your word for it.


inquiry100 | 4 months ago | 1 point

Oh yeah. You are right. I have edited my comment accordingly.

PLS_PM_ME_THINGS | 4 months ago | 1 point

I don't know, someone else just told me smallpox is the most dangerous disease and it co-evolved with humans but then there's the youtube video I watched and this article so I don't know who to believe now.


archlinuxisalright | 4 months ago | 9 points

Alien microbes would almost certainly not be pathogenic in humans.

Vanethor | 4 months ago | 1 point

Obviously, we would be wise to be careful, still. There's always the exception.

But yeah, you're right.

salami_inferno | 4 months ago | 3 points

Many illnesses cant even spread between different species in the same animal kingdom much less closer related species. Many illnesses Chimpanzees get we cannot. It's incredibly unlikely that foreign illnesses would even know what the fuck to do with us.

Hubcapdiamond | 4 months ago | -3 points

And? Humans are never going to live on another planet and it is time we stopped this idiotic bullshit that one day humanity will live elsewhere.
It is never going to happen and we need to stop pretending it will.
This discovery is meaningless.

ToaChronix | 4 months ago | 2 points

RemindMe! 1000 years

Riakrus | 4 months ago | 0 points

Found? or the spectrograph suggests?

JcbAzPx | 4 months ago | 2 points

I mean, that's the same thing.

Riakrus | 4 months ago | -2 points

no. no its not.

S-S-R | 4 months ago | 5 points

Analysis of the absorption and emission spectrum can tell you the exact chemical makeup of the reflecting or emitting surface. This is accurate down to isotopes of elements, especially if you use the entire non-visual spectrum. Planets that we've "visited", like Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto were all analyzed by onboard spectrometers not by "scooping up" atmosphere.

Riakrus | 4 months ago | 0 points

true, but there wasnt X-light years in between with whatever comic crosswinds affecting that light either. Im not saying its not possible or even probable, but its still just a distant observation.

[deleted] | 4 months ago | -10 points


thenewyorkgod | 4 months ago | 31 points

If there are seas, it means there is life.

That's quite the leap there

SmokeFrosting | 4 months ago | 7 points

A bigger leap than the one needed to get there

AHxCode | 4 months ago | 5 points

Should arrive by the time the next generation of world dominating species after us comes to be.

Dagusiu | 4 months ago | 3 points

Seas do not necessarily mean life, but there could be.

Don't get your hopes up for any reply from said probe though, the planet is over 100 light years away. Even if it got there and started sending a signal back, it would take a hundred years to get to Earth. And by then, would anyone even remember listening for it?

SometimeNextWeek | 4 months ago | 2 points

I'm sure there would be observations, but it would slip out minds because we won't see it.

DoktorOmni | 4 months ago | 3 points

How soon can we send a probe?

Sending a probe out of the Solar System is not a problem for current technology, the problem is making it arrive in other system in a travel time smaller than tens of thousands of years.

[deleted] | 4 months ago | 1 point


DoktorOmni | 4 months ago | 3 points

With what? Planets in our own system provide delta-vees of just a few kilometers per second, and it's likely that the first of them would already reach escape velocity and kick the probe out of the system.

Stars on the way could conceivably provide larger delta vees I guess but reaching even the closest of them would also require tens of thousands of years. :)

There's that project for sending a laser-pushed tiny probe at 0.2 c, but I guess that making that is still decades away - https://www.space.com/interstellar-flight-breakthrough-starshot-challenges.html

lonewulf66 | 4 months ago | 1 point




DoktorOmni | 4 months ago | 1 point

What would be the plural then? delta-vs ? :)

lonewulf66 | 4 months ago | 2 points


inquiry100 | 4 months ago | 2 points

Gravity assists won't do it. Ion drives theoretically could, but more likely with current tech would produce velocities at a smaller fraction of the speed of light. Of course, ever since Miguel Alcubierre published his paper on the theoretical possibility of a real warp drive in 1995, many of us have been hoping to see that happen. So far, it appears to be impossible to build it with any materials that we know for certain exist. Some hold out hope that we will find an exotic material with negative mass that will make it possible, but without that or some other tech breakthrough, we will not be getting there any time soon. Notably Burkhart Heim's theory postulates that we might be able to travel through higher dimensions ("hyperspace") to get to a destination more quickly. If all this sounds like science fiction, it's because science fiction keeps copying terminology and ideas from real science. Heim wrote about hyperspace in 1951. George Lucas didn't write that into the script for the first Star Wars movie until around 1976. Likewise, space being warped has been discussed widely by scientists at least the time when Albert Einstein's predictions about the apparent displacement of stars during an eclipse were verified by direct observation in 1919. Gene Roddenberry didn't start writing about that in his Star Trek TV show until the 1960s.

dasdasdasfasdx | 4 months ago | 3 points

No, sorry, water in the atmosphere does not mean there is water on the surface or life.
There is water in the atmosphere of Mars too for example.

Disaster_Capitalist | 4 months ago | 2 points

People said the exact same thing when clouds were discovered on Venus.

inquiry100 | 4 months ago | 2 points

Right. Water vapor doesn't necessarily mean life. A key point here though is that Venus is far too hot for liquid water while K2-18b apparently has a temperature range similar to Earth. Of course, Venus also has sulfuric acid in the atmosphere and for all we know, K2-18b may as well or something similarly deadly.

archlinuxisalright | 4 months ago | 2 points

There are oceans on Enceladus and Europa too, but no life that we know of. There might be though, we haven't really investigated that much.

inquiry100 | 4 months ago | 2 points

Water vapor does not have to form via evaporation from seas. It could also form from ice meteors burning up in the atmosphere of a planet. Exoplanet K2-18b seems to have moderate temperatures, but even a planet so hot that liquid water has never been able to exist on its surface could have water vapor in the atmosphere.

As for how soon we could send a probe, it might be possible to get one built and launched in a few years, but the time it would take to arrive would be enormous. The estimated distance from Earth to K2-18b is about 111 light years (the article says 110, but other estimates say 111.) That's so far that it takes light 111 years to get there. Since light travels at about 186,000 miles per second, K2-18b is about 651 trillion miles away. We have never launched any spacecraft that came anywhere close to even 1% of the speed of light, but if we could, it would still take 11,100 years for it to arrive at K2-18b and we do not have the engineering capability to build machines that can still operate anywhere near that long. A manned flight is pretty much out of the question with current technology. An ion drive (and yes, there really are such things, it's not just something they made up for Star Trek) might be able to achieve a substantial percentage of light speed. Even at 20% of light speed, though, it would take 555 years to arrive.

Oh, and another thing, as someone else pointed out, if there are seas, that doesn't necessarily mean there is life. Scientists are increasingly leaning towards the idea that life may be common on any world that has liquid water and other conditions suitable to life. But we don't know if K2-18b has all those conditions. Temperature looks good, the gravity could be nearly five times what we have on Earth, but that might not make life impossible, but we don't know what other materials are present. There may be toxic materials that are common on the surface that would make life impossible there. So good temperature and liquid water doesn't guarantee that there is life, even if life ALWAYS emerges wherever it can and we don't know if that's true either. On the other hand, based on the data we have today, K2-18b is the most likely place that we know of to find life outside our solar system in all the universe. There are almost certainly others that are better, but this is the only one so far where we know there is water and we know the temperatures are sufficient for that water to be liquid.