Recently NASA found another extra solar planet but this one is special. It's in the "Goldilocks Zone." The Goldilocks Zone is a region around a star that can support life. It's not too hot, not too cold. Its just right for liquid water on the surface. The new planet, Kepler-22b, is supposed to be in this habitable zone.
I wouldn't be sending colonists there even if we could. I think Kepler-22b is a poisonous, toxic, hellhole. My guess is not only typical, but probable in this case. Let's look at NASA's diagram comparing the Solar system with the Kepler-22 system.
Kepler-22b is 2.5 times as large across as the Earth and 15 times as massive. Pilots black out at 9 Gs, so you couldn't even stand up and stay alive on this planet. If it was as far from its own star as Mars is to the Sun then I would be much more optimistic. Unfortunately it's in the other direction. Not only is it more than double Earths size, it's closer to its sun as well. Not good. Kepler-22 is supposed to be slightly dimmer than our sun but I don't think its enough. A planet that big, that close to a star like ours, is going to be an oppresive smothering choking hell hole. (like the ideal government of the left)
Venus is a little smaller that the Earth but being so close to the Sun it has had a runaway greenhouse effect. It's too hot for any ocean. The atmosphere is a soupy poison. All the probes we've sent are now melted slag.
Atmospheres make a big difference. Mercury is not even close to being habitable but because of a quirk of its axial tilt part of Mercury is in perpetual darkness. Without any atmosphere at all, its been theorized that ice could form on Mercury. There isn't a single ice crystal on Venus because of its thick humid atmosphere. Not even at the poles.
It's very likely Kepler-22b is a super sized, super terrible, version of Venus. Its not an earth like planet. Not even close. When you look at the actual press release from NASA it says "scientists don't yet know if Kepler-22b has a predominantly rocky, gaseous or liquid composition." They have no idea if Kepler-22b is habitable or not. In fact Kepler-22b is just one of over 40 extra solar planets that might be habitable if they are very very lucky.
So how do we go from that to the hundreds of articles from so-called science journalists declaring the discovery of "Earth's Twin." Google it. Its amazing. They are like a school of fish. Each individual a dummy but they swim together. No wonder they are into collectives. Not an original thought to be found in the lot of them.
There is something directing the group think however. Its what I'll call Social Engineering License. You've heard of poetic license and artistic license? Artists and poets can break the rules of grammar or accepted practice to make a point or enhance meaning. I believe science journalists take queues from the PR departments at places like NASA or NOAA to bend the truth such that it influences general public thinking.
Lets look at an example close to home. The Toronto Star headline is "A new Earth? Eerily familiar planet ‘a phenomenal discovery’". The article makes many fantastical claims that are purely unreasonable speculation. The claims get the headlines. When you take skeptical position scientists, whatever the discipline, will then reply that they need more research. They need more money.
A related article in the same newspaper claims Kepler-22b has:
a comfy 21 C surface temperature;
a rocky surface;
Where does that come from? 21 Celsius eh? 600 light years out and the Toronto Star knows the surface temperature is 21 degrees C (with light showers expected later in the day). You can disagree like I have, but the skilled progressive will lead you into a discussion of climate, atmosphere, and the greenhouse effect.
It's fallen out of fashion but Venus' runaway greenhouse effect used to be one of the scary scenarios for a man-made runaway greenhouse effect. It was one of my favorites because it allows the skeptic to point out that the Earth has had both hotter global average temperatures than today and higher CO2 levels (sometimes during ice ages). If the greenhouse effect was going to runaway it would have done so already at many different opportunities in Earths natural history. The key difference between Venus and Earth, obvious to anyone but a eco-minded green priest, is that Venus is closer to the Sun. The Sun drives climate morons. -Directly and indirectly.
This is why science news is skewed to outlandish and often nonsensical claims. You have the scientists who want to ensure a steady flow of grant money on one side and you have journalists on the other side who aren't there to report but to influence and change for their social engineering ends. Both of them bend the truth for their own agenda. They tell a 'white lie' for a 'good cause.'
We see this Social Engineering License effect in things as harmless as astronomy. The Climategate and Climategate 2.0 emails explicitly show this effect in areas of science that have great social implications like Anthropogenic Global Warming. Climate Scientists are very political. Many of them want massive global taxes and global government to administer and enforce it. Science journalists concerned with Global Warming are on a moralistic mission to implement global socialism. Social Engineering white lies masquerade as science for political ends with the moral justification of saving the earth.
-Oh and NASA doesn't know if Kepler-22b is a rock, gas, ice or ocean planet, but they provide a picture of it. Would you like to buy a few acres of land there?