An Earth-like planet found in distant solar system

I imagine that since the beginning of Earth’s time, whenever that was, people have wondered what other planet(s) did or could sustain life. Tonight when I was doing my daily browse through the Washington Post, I found that NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has discovered a planet in the habitable zone of a distant star.

This planet, Kepler-186f, is assumed to be able to hold liquid water (as opposed to ice or vapor) for 2 main reasons:
1. Kepler-186f is only 10 percent larger than the Earth, holding the record for the habitable exoplanet that is closest to the size of the Earth, and
2. In the habitable distance from its star, Kepler-186, seems to be close enough so that the planet is neither too hot nor too cold. This zone is referred to as the “Goldilocks zone”.

Depitction of Kepler-186f and its sister planets

Kepler-186 is about 500 light years away from the Earth, and a team of astronomers have discovered five other placers also orbiting this star.

Although the planet seems to be at a habitable temperature, it absorbs only one third of the stellar energy that the Earth receives from the sun, making it colder than Mars.

One part of this discovery that I have found particularly interesting is that it is possible this planet is tidal-locked, meaning it may not orbit it’s star in the same manner Earth does. As opposed to the rotation of the Earth which creates a day-night cycle, it is possible that the same side of the planet is always facing the sun. Life could still be sustainable on tidal-locked planet, but it would create a much different world and system that we are used to.

What do you think it would be like? To live on a planet like that? The calendar would have to be different and sleep may become evolutionary unnecessary like it is for humans on Earth.

The climate would be different, but what would it be like? What if it rained Nutella♡ hahaha.

My boyfriend brought up the point that the dark side of the planet would not be able to sustain human life because Vitamin D is necessary for life. So what IF this planet really was habitable by humans? For some reason, which I can’t deem awful for helpful, Earth could use the planet for a sort of storage of plants and other resources.

Would we use it for the benefit of our species or our home planet, help it to create it’s own circle of life, or maybe leave it alone and let it run it’s course?  I’d like to hear what people think!  What do you think?

I hope that whatever we do as humans is in the best interest of Kepler-186f as well as for other environments. “For everything that lives is Holy” –> One Love (:

So, this is exciting, I think. There are many of Earth-like planets around, but now NASA is trying to find the closest one.

“Because the telescope can’t see exoplanets directly, astronomers use a technique called the transit method to infer their presence. The light intensity from a star will normally read as continuous and flat, but if a planet passes between the telescope’s field of view and that star, it will block some light and show up as a dip in the data.”

Because of this blip, study author and astronomer Elisa Quintana of the SETI Institute, thought this blip might contain something special. Her team when scoured one patch of the sky continuously for four years until Kepler-186f was discovered.

This transit method that is used to find bumps in data would make it tough to even find Earth from afar, because it requires the planet “to be aligned edge-wise along the observer’s line of sight, passing between the observer and the star”. Therefore, many of these planets may exist but remain undetected.

I believe completely that there are other planets that can sustain some type of life as intelligent and capable as humans. Maybe some even do already and we just haven’t found them, but I’m interested for science and this study to continue!

One Love (:

The ocean is not your garbage can

“The world does use the ocean as its toilet, and then expects that toilet to feed it,”  M. Sanjayan


Good point! Ever think of that? “Fish supply the greatest percentage of the world’s protein consumed by humans (24) and more than 3.5 billion people depend on the ocean for their primary source of food. In 20 years, this number could double to 7 billion (42)”.

To begin, I would like for everyone to be in agreement that littering is bad. It causes sanitary issues, it’s dangerous for animals, not to mention it’s an eyesore.

So then why do we let so much waste contribute to what we feed ourselves? 80% of water pollution comes from land waste (27). We can literally help the entire world if we stop letting trash, plastics, and chemicals enter our oceans.

You can see how this is becoming a problem.

Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific garbage patch is a giant blob of garbage that’s in a vortex-like movement in the central North Pacific Ocean. I found this picture a couple years ago when my brother first told me about it, and I think it depicts a sort of sadness that’s so real and easy to blame on carelessness.

The garbage patches in our oceans are a secret to many, probably because much of the pollution is not visible from a boat dock. Plastics break down and their dangerous chemicals often lurk just beneath the surface of water, making it tough to calculate the exact size of the problem areas.

The Ocean Conservancy hosts an International Costal Cleanup each year, and not only do they take the time to pick up the trash, they also count it. Here are a couple visuals on what they found in 2012:

TopTenItems_2013_Dever_RevisedLF             Print

Gross. Cigarettes? And so much plastic that can be eliminated easily by using reusable products such as water bottles and bags!!

The thing is, this isn’t something you can brush off because “it doesn’t affect me”. It affects the entire world! Because most of us eat food that comes from the ocean, we are consuming the same harmful chemicals and plastics that marine life consume deliberately or by accident.

One obvious, macroscopic trouble with the garbage in the ocean is that the waste is making the search for the missing Malaysia Flight 370 more difficult. It’s difficult to distinguish, especially from satellite footage, what is airplane and what is massive trash pile.

“It’s like looking for a needle in a needle factory” says Conservation International senior scientist M. Sanjayan on the difficulty of finding the aircraft in the ocean.

Over a third of the world’s population of 7 billion live within 60 miles of an ocean, increasing the chances of their waste finding its way to the oceans.

Print    It’s easy for a seemingly small contribution to make such an influence on marine life, but they often mistake the plastics for food and often times don’t even know they are ingesting the harmful chemicals and broken down plastics that end up harmful to their bodies.

What can you do?

  1. Put a lid on trash cans to prevent wind or animals from spreading waste.
  2. Use a reusable water bottle instead of plastic bottles of water.
  3. Place cigarette butts in an ashtray to avoid them from littering land and water
  4. Get talking! Because not everyone lives near an ocean, it may be easy for the effects to be out of sight out of mind to some people. Remind people that littering not only looks bad, but it eventually comes back to effect them negatively too.
  5. Sustainability is about using less processed materials; take re-used or re-usable canvas bags when you go to the grocery store. They are more convenient for you in the end anyway! Nobody likes those sticky plastic bags (especially the kids at the grocery store bagging your groceries– trust me, I used to be one of those kids; those bags suck!)
  6. Recycle. Take the time to separate items that can be recycled, such as plastics, glass, and cardboard. Some places will give you money in exchange for cans, but if not, it at least saves room for real garbage in your garbage cans. I always thought putting plastic bottles in the trash can took up way too much room.

Also check out BeCause Water, an organized movement for water sustainability.

Peace and clean water.

Drink, drink, drink                    HughTurvey_Xograms_655_LONDON-OXO-EXHIBITION-2014__0000-feat-v2

Let’s talk about some good ol’ H2O.

When I was a child, I thought drinking water was strange. It didn’t taste delicious and it came from the pipes that ran through the ground under me and my brothers swing-set.

I started to get really dehydrated and it would cause problems like give me frequent headaches, or sometimes even cause me to faint.

Finally, I started liking water. I spent money on a nice, new water bottle and tried to finish it every few hours. I began drinking warm lemon water in the morning, and I started feeling better, more energized, more awake and I wasn’t fainting anymore. So, for the next few years I was all about hydrate-hydrate-hydrate.

5 Reasons You Should be Drinking Lemon Water in the Morning

Then I came to college in a teeny tiny town in Iowa where the shower water feels like chlorine and the drinking water tastes like dirt. Great.

Being an athlete, especially during preseason training in the dog days of summer, it is crucial that I am taking in enough water before, during and after exercising. The problem was: it’s tough to drink a lot of water when the water tastes like dirt. Or sometimes chlorine. Or sometimes metal.

So, I stopped drinking so much water. During my freshman year living in the dorms I started to notice things like that the headaches coming back, I was more fatigued than usual, and my skin wasn’t as healthy as it once was. Once I moved into my own apartment, one of the first things I invested in was a water filter and I love it.

Target sells this ZeroWater pitcher water filter on their website.

A well known fact, our bodies average to be made up of 50-70% water. The Earth is about 70% water. Here are some reasons why:

1. You can only survive days without it
The human body will only last 3-6 days without water
2. Water helps to regulate blood pressure
Because blood is on average 92% water, dehydration causes thicker blood which makes it more difficult to pass through the body, therefore elevating the pressure of the blood.
3. Dehydration causes fatigue. Water is energy!
4. Water helps prevent constipation
I know– gross. But water helps to provide fluids for some necessary bodily functions
5. Water improves muscle health
Muscles are made up of about 75% water, so staying hydrated improves muscle strength, control, and flexibility.
6. Lemon water helps boost the immune system
Drinking warm water with lemon in the morning gets you started on your day with a punch of Vitamin C and potassium.
7. Water is good for your brain
“Drinking 3 cups of water before completing a task can increase the brain’s reaction time by 14%”

Here is a wonderful, quick visual about how water affects our bodies

IF YOU ARE THIRSTY you are already dehydrated. Be proactive! Stay healthy and drink *clean water often 🙂

Live well. Drink more water.

P.S. Hammer-Hydrate! Drinking water is especially important when consuming alcohol. A good standard to set yourself is to have a 1:1 ratio. I like to try and drink a cup of water after I finish each alcoholic beverage.

This company does laboratory testing on the cleanliness of water samples