Feeds

Exoplanet ranking suggests INTERSTELLAR WAR imminent

Too late to recall idiotic message beamed at alien star

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

An international team of boffins has ranked the various extra-terrestrial planets and moons known to humanity in order of ability to sustain life. It's bad news for the human race, as the planets of the Gliese 581 star system are near the top of the list: and if an intelligent race is present there, we have already mortally offended it.

Artist's conception showing the inner four planets of the Gliese 581 system. GJ 581g, potentially habitable, is in the foreground. Credit: Lynette Cook/NSF

TURN IT DOWN! Right, that's it. Warm up the strategic tachyon accelerators, Commander. Set beam intensity to 'eradicate'.

The new habitability study has involved the collaborating scientists devising two different indexes for rating worlds, in proper scientifiction style*. We now have the Earth Similarity Index (ESI), showing how much like Earth a body is, on which Earth is 1, Mars is 0.7 and our Moon is 0.56.

The scientists have also worked out a Planet Habitability Index (PHI), based on such things as planetary magnetic fields, atmosphere, likely local temperatures etc. Titan, icy natural-gas slush moon of Saturn, scores high on this at 0.64.

But, very worryingly, the planets of the dim, red M-class star Gliese 581 - lying just 20 light-years away in the constellation Libra - score high up the listings in both systems. Under ESI, the exoplanets Gliese 581g, d and c are the next three most habitable known worlds after Earth: and they are also well up under PHI.

Normally this would not be cause for alarm, but - as regular readers of Reg exoplanet coverage will know - should there be intelligent aliens at Gliese 581 they will soon have an intense and well-justified grievance against us.

This is because back in 2008 the management of the doomed teenybopper social-networking portal Bebo, for reasons which seemed good to them at the time, collected a huge and infamous compilation of web-2.0 content from their site's users, addressed at possible aliens resident at Gliese 581. They then hired the unscrupulous Russian astronomer Alexander Zaitsev to beam this horrendous guff-blast at the red star from a powerful Ukraininan radar telescope.

Sample comments offered as humanity's possible first messages to a powerful and sophisticated alien culture:

Our bodies are made of bones ... We have senses. Smell, Taste, Sight and Touch. Without any of these things, we wouldn't live.

I love Television. We watch animated cartoons and real-life drama on it. I could sit and watch Television all day.

Hi im nicole ... someday i would love to appear on the west end stage, in a hit show.i also wouldnt mind doing a few television programs whether it is as a extra or a main part i dont mind i would love to appear on doctor who as i love it. anyway laters.Nicole x

All these, and many other foulnesses such as pictures of cats, boy crooners, amusing vegetables etc, are on their way unstoppably towards Gliese 581 and will arrive at that star system in March 2029. Even if the aliens have not yet developed star travel, planet- or sun-smasher missiles, world-volatilising krenon rays etc, this will surely be a powerful spur to the development and instant employment of such weapons against the civilisation which could, unprovoked, commit such an interstellar solecism.

Truly these are worrying times. The new rankings are published in the journal Astrobiology. ®

*As E E "Doc" Smith would say, "Earthlike to ten decimals".

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.