During the year 2006 McDonal Douglas discovered a successful mode of interstellar travel while working jointly under NASA and the Defense Department. As a result, mankind is able to travel light years. This breakthrough prompted NASA to propose that a deep space unmanned probe be prepared to be launched within a time span of 3 years to either one of the following three stars: Alpha Centauri, Tau Ceti, 70 Opiuchi A or Altair. Now, it is the year 2008 and I have been selected to be a part of an elite group of JPL scientist to research the four recently located terrestrial planets orbiting stars near by. Initial testing done in late 2007 suggested that these planets are all of appropriate size to support life. (Table1) My team's job is to further research these planets and their parent stars. Having done that, our next job would be to determine which planets, if any, could life exist.
It is crucial to be as accurate as possible since JPL intends on offering to split the cost of this mission with NASA by paying $26.8 Billion towards the mission.
Star Name Distance from Earth Est. Planetary Diameter Luminosity (L/Lo) Obs. Orbital Period Alpha Centauri A 1.33 pc 13,000 km 1.51 465 days Tau Ceti 3.47 pc 12,000 km 0.39 225 days 70 Ophiuchi A 5.00 pc 6,000 km 0.398 203 days Altair 5.13 pc 15,000 km 10.0 1500 days Table 1 After receiving our challenge, my colleagues and I proceeded to determine which missing pieces of information were needed to determine if it was possible planetary life on any of the given planets. Next, we established a list of information with facts we already knew and which we thought would help us fill in some missing pieces later on. From this list...