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Other planets, as a substitute for the earth, we can forget

Mr Mayor, as newly-minted Nobel prize winner, you will feel like another star.
It is really a special Situation. Some of the earlier Nobel prize-I carriers, messages in the meaning of: Bon courage! You wished me much success, in order to survive the next week. (laughs) But I don't want to complain. Overall, it is a very joyful event, to receive the Nobel prize.

you had to wait a long time until it was finally so far.
Oh, no. If you are waiting for the Nobel prize, makes you look crazy.

But did you know that you and Didier Queloz were several times nominated for the Nobel prize.
If one is nominated for the Nobel prize, it does not mean that you can receive it also. There are so many excellent scientists in the world.

you already Have a tailcoat, white vest, white bow tie and shiny black patent leather shoes for the award ceremony next week, worried?
no, I'm going to get in Sweden. Not just for me. My family is here. We have three children, five grandchildren. All come up with, and all male visitors must wear a tuxedo. It is sure funny to see the Teenager in the dovetails. More important than the thing with the dresses and the preparation for the Nobel lecture I think on Sunday is for me.

Was it good luck that you have discovered the first exoplanet?
The discovery of 51 Pegasi b was absolutely not a coincidence. We had developed a new Instrument. It was a combination of the efficiency of this Spectrograph, the observation strategy and the computer's performance, which has led to success.

Already at the end of 1994 they had a first indication on 51 Pegasi b. Why you have not published the same? Don't you trust your data?
no, no. We were absolutely sure that the quality of the data is good. However, we were uncertain as to their Interpretation. Because of the potential Planet was very unusual. He needed only 4.2 days to orbit around its mother star. On the basis of the theory, it was actually excluded that such an object exists.

Could explain the data without a Planet?
Yes, for example, by a strong magnetic activity of the star. This could cause similar fluctuations in brightness, as all of 4.2 days would pull a Planet in front of the star. Therefore, we have decided to postpone the announcement to a year, all of the alternative explanations be ruled out.

When it comes to the quality control of the data, is said to be a little stubborn.
(laughs) you Know, in the decades prior to our discovery regularly putative exoplanets were announced, which proved in retrospect to be wrong. In the long run, very bad for the Image of a group of researchers. Therefore, I have decided that We are not to announce prematurely a bit. It was only when we were able to observe in July 1995, the same phenomenon again, we knew what we had discovered.

"just in our galaxy Alone there are 200 billion stars and many planets. Planetary systems are the rule, not the exception."

The competition, all the American astronomers Geoffrey Marcy and Paul Butler, had to justify in front of the media, not to be faster.
in 1994, had analyzed Marcy and Butler 25 of 56 stars and reported at a conference in Munich that they had not discovered a Jupiter-like planet. The Crazy thing was: the rest of the star, the orbits of exoplanets found actually. But Marcy and Butler had a lot more trouble with the analysis of the data. They said the don't have to do with your Computer is strong enough. Immediately, the computer manufacturer, Sun has provided both a faster Computer available. Then Marcy and Butler have analyzed the data, and two more exoplanets are discovered. The infected were not so already analyzed in the data, but the data is still done.

you Have expected, then, that virtually every star has a planetary system?
no. 51 Pegasi b was a strange object, which was not expected. I absolutely was not able, on this basis, to extrapolate what you would find in other stars.

Meanwhile, more than 4000 exoplanets are known. What does that say about the position of man in the universe?
Alone in our galaxy there are 200 billion stars and many planets. Planetary systems are the rule, not the exception. Which, incidentally, was discussed earlier. The ancient Greek philosophers discussed the diversity of worlds in the universe. Also in the middle ages, there were philosophers who thought so. This is not a new idea. But now it is proven. to answer

the question of our position in the universe, we still need to know whether there are life.
This is currently a big debate. Some argue that There are so many planets. There must be many places in life.

This is not a proof.
of Course not. I'm pretty convinced that the development of life is a normal process that occurs whenever the conditions are right. But this is my opinion, not a science. Many astrobiology Institute to deal with these things.

Some say, the nature can not bring forth life. This life is too complex. to make
the chemistry for life, we are in the universe many planets and a lot of time. In the laboratory it is not possible for us, however. At the Moment, therefore I see only one way to answer the question of life in the universe: We have to observe it in the universe.

Like this could succeed?
You might be searching for in the atmosphere of exoplanets for so-called biomarkers, which show that there life must be. This can be, for example, the oxygen content in the atmosphere. The earth's atmosphere is 20 percent oxygen. This is not normal.

Why not?
Because oxygen likes to react. Oxidation is a permanent part of the oxygen would disappear from the atmosphere. In order to have in the long term, 20 percent of the oxygen in the atmosphere, it needs an active source. The most likely is life.

when do you expect an answer to the question of life in space?
I would say it takes a Generation. But to be honest, I'm not overly optimistic, because it is a very difficult task.

Why?
The luminosity of the star is typically about a billion times higher than that of a planet. It is very difficult, in the light of the star shield, to be able to the planet's atmosphere at all to analyze. It is possible. But it is difficult.

"For me, science is in many ways far more exciting than any Science Fiction."

How can we benefit from this research?
The most direct one realization is to Use: There are no planet B, could be used as a substitute for the earth.

life-friendly exoplanets, it is likely to be quite.
But that's gone too far. In a very optimistic case, a perfectly habitable Planet could be found at a distance of say about 30 light-years. If you were to send a spaceship with the same speed as Apollo 11 there would be a need for travel about eight million years. Exoplanets as a substitute for the earth, we can forget.

We could migrate to Mars.
Mars is a different story. Located in our solar system. But also here it is necessary to note that the worst places on earth, life is still far more welcoming than Mars.

In the Science-Fiction, there are Considerations to transform Mars into a earth.
these are beautiful ideas that have little to do with reality.

you like to read Science Fiction?
Little. For me, science is in many ways far more exciting than any Science Fiction.

In the star of Geneva in Versoix waiting there prevails a high level of activity. At the main entrance to a small Podium is set up. Next door in the Cafeteria, tables will be prepared with champagne glasses. In the afternoon the official opening ceremony of the Observatory for the two physics Nobel prize winner, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz on the stage here. For the Interview Mayor opens the office of Queloz, not just locally. In a corner a cardboard figure of C-3PO, the gold-colored, humanoid robot from Star Wars is.


This Text is from the current issue. Now all of the articles in the E-Paper of the Sunday newspaper, read: App for iOS App for Android – Web-App

Created: 08.12.2019, 20:07 PM

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