Kepler-452b: A Home Away from Home

July 27, 2015

I have a tendency to get carried away in my excitement about some things. I’m willing to eat just about anything once. I’ll travel pretty much anywhere. I try new technologies before they’re fully baked, such as the operating system currently running on the laptop on which I’m writing this.

Public beta? Sure, I’m in.

This guy, Juanito Bayen, is awesome.

This guy, Juanito Bayen, is awesome. Eat what he tells you to eat.

This eagerness is mostly good, I think. Like when in Mercado de la Boquería in Barcelona, and the guy at the right tells me I’m eating baby squid, that’s what I did. Sure, I eat some stuff that turns out to be gross going through life that way, but more often than not I find I like something I never would have expected to enjoy.

Baby squid are delicious, if you’re wondering, and really not terribly weird in the first place.

But my tendency toward excitement sets me up for disappointment, too. Take, for example, the news that astronomers recently discovered the most earth-like planet yet. This line of exploration is important and interesting for determining the likelihood that life exists elsewhere in the universe, and the poetically named Kepler-452b may represent the best candidate we’ve found. Analysis suggests it is likely to be rocky, have a temperature comparable to Earth’s, and has spent 6 billion years in its star’s habitable zone. That’s longer than Earth!

How could all this cool news set me up for disappointment? Well, my first reaction upon hearing of this new life-harboring contender was, sign me up! I want to go to there. Where is it? How long do I have to spend in spaceship?

It’s 1,400 light years away.

Oh. Bummer.

I mean, I checked their math and I guess it really is that far, so I’m probably not gonna get to go.* Unless we find out this thing really does work after all. Get on it, Elon Musk.

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Photo courtesy of SAITOR under Creative Commons 2.0

*I did not check their math.

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