Home > worlds > Habitable planets: more value for your dollar.

Habitable planets: more value for your dollar.

March 15th, 2009

I’m completely invigorated by the Kepler Mission. This is, of course, because of the fantastic discoveries it’ll make, but also (I’ll admit) because it establishes a crystal clear and present challenge to competitively-minded planet hunters everywhere. If you want to discover the first truly potentially habitable world orbiting another star, then you’ve got, in all likelihood, 3.5 years to do it.

A coveted oklo baseball cap (from a limited edition of five) will be sent to the first person or team that detects an extrasolar planet worth one million dollars or more as defined by the terrestrial planet valuation formula set out in Thursday’s post:

For purposes of definiteness, (1) terrestrial planet densities are assumed to be 5 gm/cm^3. (2) A measurement of Msin(i) is counted as a measurement of M. (3) Teff is computed assuming that the planet is a spherical blackbody radiator. (4) The parent star needs to be on the Main Sequence. (5) If the stellar age can’t be accurately determined, then it can be assumed to be half the Main Sequence lifetime or 5Gyr, whichever is shorter.

Gl 581 c

Gliese 581 c (see here for more details).

The formula is pretty stringent, and is not kind to planets of dubious habitability. Gliese 581c, which I believe is the extrasolar planet with the highest value found to date, clocks in at $158.32. Mars, taking outsize advantage of the Sun’s V=-26.7 apparent magnitude, is worth almost 100 times as much, at $13,988.

In upcoming posts, I’ll put forth some scenarios (spanning a wide range of likelihood) that could produce high-dollar detections during the next three and a half years.

Categories: worlds Tags: ,
  1. March 16th, 2009 at 11:23 | #1

    Do moons count?

  2. March 16th, 2009 at 15:13 | #2

    I think you are undervaluing Mars by using a far too modern value for the planet’s discovery date.

  3. greg
    March 16th, 2009 at 16:05 | #3

    (1) Moons do count.

    (2) Clarification for the pricing formula: Any year prior to 2009 counts as 2009. I don’t think Mars is undervalued — I’d gladly sell it for $13,988. In fact, I think it has negative “habitability” utility in the sense that much more money will be sunk into Mars than it’s capable of returning on investment…

  4. greg
    March 17th, 2009 at 20:31 | #5

    Lab Lemming —

    Nice try. Bernie Madoff, however, has already collected the hat for Venus:

  5. March 22nd, 2009 at 23:07 | #6

    For further clarification, is the logarithm supposed to be base e or base 10?

  6. greg
    September 25th, 2009 at 04:16 | #7

    Base 10.

Comments are closed.