Kepler 22B Is Habitable But Would Take 23 Million Years To Reach

By: | May 26th, 2013

kepler

This week noted scientist Stephen Hawking made a controversial remark stating that in order for humans to survive over the next millennium we must establish colonies in space. Two big hurdles stand in the way of colonizing new planets. First, habitable planets are light years away and second our space ships are too slow to travel long distances in a reasonable time.

The following image depicts the Kepler Space Telescope that despite its recent serious technical issues has revolutionized space exploration. Most of the habitable planets discovered thus far lie within 300 light-years of our sun.

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Discovery of Habitable Planets a Pyrrhic Victory?

This week astronomers announced planet Kepler 22-b lying 600 light years or 3,527,175,223,910,165 or three and a half quadrillion miles away and 2.4 times the size of the earth. Using a space shuttle, it would take 23.4 million years to reach it.

The planet is being called “closest to our earth” because of its similarity and size. The Kepler team has spotted 1,094 new candidate planets with 54 candidates in habitable zones and 10 about the size of the earth. The total number of candidates spotted by telescopes of all kinds is now 2,326 of which 207 are similar to Earth’s size.

Kepler 22-b

Kepler 22-b (Image Courtesy www.nasa.org)

Kepler identifies Earth 2.0 candidates using the Kepler space telescope which looks at a fixed area of the night sky and about 150,000 stars at a time. Candidate planets are identified when telescope tracks a planet passing in front of its host star. The candidate planets dim the light from the star very slightly thereby revealing themselves. Later observations and analysis is done to confirm the existence of these planets through the use of other telescopes in orbit and on earth.

Kepler 22B lies 15% closer to its sun than the earth to its sun and a year is 290 days.

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Worm Holes Needed

Even if it spaceships could move at the speed of light, it would take 600 years to reach Kepler 22-b. Clearly we need something like a worm hole to shorten the distance.

David Schilling

David lives in Boston in close proximity to Boston University, Boston College, MIT, Harvard, Northeastern as well as Bostons leading companies and labs. You can also find David on Google+.

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4 thoughts on “Kepler 22B Is Habitable But Would Take 23 Million Years To Reach

  1. Andrew
    May 27, 2013 at 2:22 am

    While not currently technically feasible, Mars offers a habitable sphere. The problem is no magnetic field to control the solar radiation. Provide a large enough body, roughly 1/8 the mass of mars in orbit, this should generate the required field, Asteroids could be collected, connected, and placed in orbit around Mars, providing the “Tidal” force to create the molten core necessary to generate the magnetic field. Obviously this would be a considerable undertaking, but Mars would hold an atmosphere if solar radiation could be mitigated.

  2. jhonmart
    December 2, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Kepler-22b is an extrasolar planet orbiting G-type star Kepler-22.[ It is located 600 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus. It was discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope in 2011 and was the first known transiting planet to orbit within the habitable zone of a Sun-like star.

  3. Richard
    January 22, 2014 at 7:24 am

    I read this and was thinking of the Herman Melville short story The Piazza. Maybe on Kepler-22b they are looking at signs of a nice place to live but ever so far and wondering what we are like. “Oh, if I could but once get to yonder house, and but look upon whoever the happy being is that lives there! A foolish thought: why do I think it? Is it that I live so lonesome, and know nothing?”

  4. Andrew
    October 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Forget relativity, worm holes etc. The propellant requirements, water, doubles with velocity increase of c. Separated Hydrogen and Oxygen ion propulsion.

    To go 600c would require ship_mass*2^600 of water

    Cosmic radiation would probably burn it up long before that though.

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