NASA’s Kepler mission has been cruising through the solar system, taking snaps of the galaxy for six years now. In all that time, it’s netted over 1,000 confirmed planet discoveries and a whole lot of pretty swag grams.
Several other planets quite a bit like Earth have been found before now, but Thursday NASA announced it’s found a dead ringer (relatively speaking) called Kepler-452b. In a statement, the space organization said, “Kepler-452b fires the planet hunter’s imagination because it is the most similar to the Earth-sun system found yet.” Of course, the first question on most world and science leaders is: “but can you gro weed on it doe?”
What makes a planet Earth-like anywho?
To answer that first we’re going to have to look at just what makes 452b (or, as we call it, TwoBee for short) so much like Earth.
Astronomers got what they call the “Goldilocks zone” for planets, for real. If a planet is too close its sun, their water’s too hot and it evaporates the fuck out of there. If a planet is too far away from its sun, the water’s too cold to hold and it remains in a solid ice state, which is not great for any kind of life form that we know about. But if a planet isn’t too close or too far, then it’s just right for water in its liquid state. Boom. Awesome.
That covers the porridge part of the analogy. As for the bed part of the Goldilocks story, if a planet is too big or too little it doesn’t count as all that Earth-like. But old TwoBee has a diameter of about 1.5 times Earth’s, which is pretty close. Scientists also say there’s good chance it’s a rocky planet just like the prison world Scientologists call Teegeeack and everybody else calls Earth.
Where the alien dro at?
The Kepler telescope can see up to 3,000 light years away from our solar system, but it can’t actually check out their surfaces all that well yet (weak!). But here’s what we do know about alien vegetation so far…
- We might have to grow weed out of thin air, literally.
- Some astrobiologists think the best chance for growing plants on alien planets is a process known as aeroponics, where you essentially grow plants in a maintained misty cloud. It’s used on Earth, though not much, for cultivating weed here and there.
- Weed might grow red, yellow, or even black on another planet.
- Weed could actually determine the entire terrain of the planet.
- Vegetation shapes the landscape and air of a given planet. It’s because of mass vegetation here on Teegeeack that the land got cut up into rivers and a lot of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere got soaked up, dropping our temperature for about 450 million years until we started cutting down all the plants and pumping CO2 in to set things back to the way they’re supposed to be, unsustainable for life. But getting cannabis in on the ground floor of Twobee could mean a whole evolution of kush-based life forms on a space colony in the distant future where our grandkid’s grandkids ESP their weed guy to say, “Yo, Zeezox, you got any of that yellow aeroponic?”
Artist’s concept of twobee above via NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle