Feeds

Exoplanet ranking suggests INTERSTELLAR WAR imminent

Too late to recall idiotic message beamed at alien star

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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".

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.