1. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
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    19 Dec '12 11:231 edit
    http://phys.org/news/2012-12-tau-ceti-sun-like-star-twelve.html

    It says 5 times Earth but of course with just transit data we don't know the radius and therefore don't know the surface gravity. It's a good bet it would be higher than Earth but how much is anyone's guess. Sci fi writers have used Tau Ceti for decades and now we find a possible real world there that COULD support LAWKI. A definite maybe.

    For those who don't know, Tau is one of the closest stars in the night sky at around 12 light years from Earth. It would be within distance of manned craft in a few hundred years of advancement of propulsion systems, maybe less. If we got to 0.5c it would be a journey of 24 years, within human possibility. Of course if we got to 0.9999c it would be more like 2 years or less for the voyagers.

    There are two strikes against the place though. Much more dust around Tau than Sol and that would mean a lot more meteor/asteroid strikes and the whole system is relatively metal poor meaning if we went there and got some kind of colony going it could be a lot harder to find metals and such. I'm sure they would figure a way but it would not be like Earth where you just dig up mountains and process them.
  2. Joined
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    19 Dec '12 16:083 edits
    I hate to be the party pooper but; as this is a much more massive planet compared to the Earth, it would be likely to have a thicker atmosphere and may also has a lot more greenhouse gasses that would cause runaway warming that prevents liquid water forming and, without liquid water to drive a hydrocycle, carbon dioxide would not ever be removed from its atmosphere like it was in Earth's past history as a result of the chemical effect of liquid water eroding rocks. So, despite being in the Goldilocks zone, it could be more like Venus than the Earth.

    Even if it had cooled enough for liquid water formed so to make the atmosphere not too greenhouse, the whole surface of the planet may well be covered with ocean because a bigger planet with more gravity should, at least in theory, have a greater tendency to accumulate a lot more water on its surface with a greater average depth of water.

    My guess it probably would not be a place you would want to go and live on although I would not exclude the possibility it could be pleasantly Earth-like with both oceans and land and with an atmosphere that is not ludicrously thick -time will tell.
  3. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
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    19 Dec '12 16:47
    Originally posted by humy
    I hate to be the party pooper but; as this is a much more massive planet compared to the Earth, it would be likely to have a thicker atmosphere and may also has a lot more greenhouse gasses that would cause runaway warming that prevents liquid water forming and, without liquid water to drive a hydrocycle, carbon dioxide would not ever be removed from its atmosp ...[text shortened]... with both oceans and land and with an atmosphere that is not ludicrously thick -time will tell.
    Yeah but Look at the difference in atmospheres of Earth Vs Venus. We got good, it got hell. 1500 PSI, 900 degrees F and sulpheric acid to boot.

    And those are conditions on planets almost the same mass. So it is up for grabs what this new planet will be like. Also, there might be an Earth mass/size moon around the big guy besides. Our technology for this kind of thing improves all the time so in another ten years we will be seeing smaller and smaller planets.