7 Reasons The Discovery Of Kepler 10b Is A Complete Anti-Climax
If you haven’t heard the news today, let us break it to you gently. We’ve found a new planet. When I say ‘we’, I obviously don’t mean the 7 Reasons team – we are still busy trying to find all the lemon pips that fell down the back of the 7 Reasons sofa. So when I say ‘we’, I am obviously referring to those clever astronomer people over at NASA. Today they announced the discovery of Kepler 10b. The smallest planet outside our Solar System and one that is rocky like Earth. Awesome, huh? No, not really. Here’s why:
1. The Name. Kepler 10b? Now I know that the telescope they found this planet with is called Kepler, but that is hardly an excuse. It’s lazy naming. It lacks inspiration. To be honest, it sounds like a planet I wrote about in Ice Planet 2000 (my entry in the Nutley Primary School short story competition in circa 1990). You may have read it. I didn’t. Which explains the spelling mistakes. Anyway, I digress. Kepler 10b is lacklustre and hardly has the naming appeal of other confectionery delights such as Galaxy, Milky Way and Mars. Whoever works in the marketing department at NASA needs to think outside the box a bit more.
2. Distance. Yet another planet that is bloody light-years away. 560 of the gits to be precise. If I want to visit, I’m going to be gone for hundreds and hundreds of years. I’m not going to find a suitcase big enough. And that’s not even the worst of it. As a result of Kepler 10b’s discovery, I have discovered something of my own. The film, Flight Of The Navigator lied to me. In the film, David got to Phaleon (a planet also 560 light-years away) and back within eight years. I have just looked on Yahoo! Answers and people – sensible people with letters after their name – are saying this is bollocks. I can’t quite explain how let down I feel.
3. Heat. If the fact that Kepler 10b is so far away isn’t enough, there is also the fact that it’s bloody boiling over there. I lived in Perth for a few months (the Australian version, not the Scottish one) and my thighs were cramping up as soon as it reached 40 degrees Celsius. I dread to think how I would cope in temperatures exceeding 1,300C during the day. And I burn like McCoy’s Steak and Onion crisp.
4. No Life. Not that there would be much point in me going there anyway, because yet again we find a planet and yet again there is no sign of life on it. Which makes me wonder, are these astronomers really worth the money? If we just wrote the numbers 1-7 in every 7 Reasons post, you’d quickly get bored. It’s time NASA started delivering the goods. They have a year to find life or else we are going to diversify and form Two Observe Seven Space Exploratory Reasons. Or TOSSER for short.
5. Artists Impression. When someone places a shopping trolley in a bath and calls it ‘art’ I have a big problem. Not just because it’s not art – it’s theft and vandalism – but because the creator of the piece automatically becomes an ‘artist’. In my life – and I think it’s almost a given that one day it will be a template on how to live – an artist is someone who creates something that I can’t. And, as I will prove if you need, I am quite capable of stealing a trolley from Tesco and putting it in my girlfriend’s bath. Do you know what else I am good at? Drawing a circle. Especially if I have a glass to draw around. I can even colour it in. I am not an artist, yet the result would look exactly like the picture that heads this post. A picture that is an artists impression. Nauseating.
6. Excitement. Geoffrey Marcy, a pioneer for the hunt of exoplanets said, “This report will be marked as among the most profound scientific discoveries in human history.” Wow! Maybe this isn’t the anticlimax I thought it was. And then I watched this.
The video is narrated by Dr. Natalie Batalha, the Kepler Mission Co-Investigator. Someone, who if Geoffrey Marcy is to be believed, I would have expected to be very, very excited. If this really is one of the most profound scientific discoveries in human history I want to hear Dr. Natalie breathless and panting. This is, after all, what I am like when England take a wicket. But Dr. Natalie doesn’t sound breathless at all. She sounds bored. And then she starts talking about ‘mosaics of 42 detectors’. I do not care about mosaics. I do not. If this is amazing I want to hear screaming. And maybe an impromptu recital of ‘Star Spangled Banner’. Or something by ELO.
7. Earth. Kepler 10b is, “undoubtedly rocky like Earth”. I don’t understand why this is so incredible. I’ve seen Earth. Well, some of it at least. I want to see something new. And not one of those stupid gas planets either. I want a planet that is 100% water. Not ice, water. I want a planet that looks like a sausage. Or, even better, a planet that morphs into a sausage from its 100% water state. This, I have to say, would excite not just me, but the world and Dr. Natalie too. And that makes it worth looking for, doesn’t it?