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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Second star to the right

There exists already something called the "HabCat", which is a catalog of stars believed to be likely candidates for having habitable planets. It was created by Margaret Turnbull and Jill Tarter, and prior to Felisa Wolfe-Simon's discovery last year that some prokaryotes were playing merry hell with the periodic able and substituting arsenic for phosphorus to build their DNA HabCat listed some 17,000 stars which potentially hosted life as we know it. I have no idea what Iron Lisa's work has done to this number, but I have to guess that it has increased exponentially.

I'm going to limit my list to those stars which are about 12 light years from earth, but as we'll see later in this series, that limit may prove purely arbitrary. In upcoming posts we'll cover each of these candidates in detail, but right now I just want to present the list. The candidates which are bolded are among Margaret Turnbull's top five candidates for habitable stars out of that 17,000. "Travel time" is how long it would take a vessel, in solar years, to reach that star from earth orbit at 5% of the speed of light, which is the maximum attainable by standard pulsed atomic fission, such as Orion would use. "Distance" is in light years.


Proxima Centauri, M5, 4.2, 84
Alpha Centauri A, G2, 4.4, 88
Alpha Centauri B, K1, 4.4, 88
Barnard's Star, M4, 5.9, 118
Wolf 359, M6, 7.8, 156
LaLande 21185, M2, 8.3, 166
Sirius A, A1, 8.6, 172
Sirius B, DA2, 8.6, 172
Luyten 726-8A, M5, 8.7, 174
Luyten 726-8B, M6, 8.7, 174
Ross 154, M3, 9.7, 194
Ross 248, M5, 10.3, 206
Epsilon Eridani, K2, 10.5, 210
LaCaille 9352, M1, 10.7, 214
Ross 128, M4, 10.9, 218
Gliese 866 (A,B&C), M5, 11.3, 226
Procyon A, F5, 11.4, 228
Procyon B, DA, 11.4, 228
61 Cygni A, K5, 11.4, 228
61 Cygni B, K7, 11.4, 228
Struve 2398 (A&B,) M3, 11.5, 230
Groombridge 24A, M1, 11.6, 232
Groombridge 24B, M3, 11.6, 232
Epsilon Indi A, K5, 11.8, 236
DX Cancri, M6, 11.8 , 236
Tau Ceti, G8, 11.9, 238

238 years seems like an awfully long time. Ten generations, even, as we currently count that. But as we will see in a later post, it may be possible for one generation of colonists to depart earth and arrive at Tau Ceti still young enough to start building a permanent colony.

1 comment:

  1. To clarify; the list above is ALL of the stars out to 12 light years from the sun. I'll be paring this list down in the next several posts to get our A-List of possible candidates.