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Hayato
Apr 26th, 2007, 10:35 AM
WASHINGTON, April 25: European astronomers have spotted what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet outside our solar system, with balmy temperatures that could support water and, potentially, life.

http://www.dawn.com/2007/04/26/images/top01.jpg

They have not directly seen the planet, orbiting a red dwarf star called Gliese 581. But measurements of the star suggest that a planet not much larger than the Earth is pulling on it, the researchers said in a letter to the editor of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

“This one is the first one that is at the same time probably rocky, with water, and in a zone close to the star where the water could exist in liquid form,” said Stephane Udry of the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland, who led the study.

“We have estimated that the mean temperature of this super-Earth lies between zero and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid.”

The discovery came thanks to a highly sensitive instrument at the European Space Observatory’s facility at Silla, Chile.

Most of the 200 or so planets that have been spotted outside this solar system have been gas giants like Jupiter.

But this one is small.

“Its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth’s radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky, like our Earth, or covered with oceans,” Udry said in a telephone interview.

“Because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extra terrestrial life.”

It appears to have a mass five times that of the Earth’s.The new planet is 14 times closer to Gliese 581 than the Earth is to the Sun. But because Gliese 581 is so cool, the planet is not scorched by solar radiation. It zips around the star at express speed, making just 13 days to complete an orbit.

The research team includes scientists credited with the first widely accepted discovery of a planet outside our solar system, in 1995.

Many teams are looking for planets circling other stars.

They are especially looking for those similar to our own, planets that could support life.

That means finding water.

X MARKS THE SPOT: “Because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extra-terrestrial life,” Xavier Delfosse, a member of the team from Grenoble University in France, said in a statement.

“On the treasure map of the universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X.”

Gliese 581 is among the 100 closest stars to Earth, just 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra.

A light-year is the distance light travels in a year, about 10 trillion kilometres.

It is smaller and dimmer than the sun, so the planet can be close to it and yet not be overheated.

http://www.dawn.com/2007/04/26/top11.htm

Didn't see a thread on this yet :)

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Apr 26th, 2007, 10:37 AM
How interesting... I would finally see my cousin Louie from Roswell over there..

CooCooCachoo
Apr 26th, 2007, 10:49 AM
They actually never spotted the planet :p

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Apr 26th, 2007, 10:54 AM
light has mass... and light bends... who knows what the heck is going on something that is a light year away..

Wigglytuff
Apr 26th, 2007, 12:13 PM
light has mass... and light bends... who knows what the heck is going on something that is a light year away..

well its hard for you to know what the is going on when you didnt read the article now isnt it.

ElusiveChanteuse
Apr 26th, 2007, 12:51 PM
well,i have a question here.
even if we really found some planets where human can live,so what?
how we are going to reach that place?i bet we're gonna spend millions/billions of dollars(i think).so why not we just spend the rest of our life here on this earth?wasting those $$$ doesn't benefit us anyway.;)

Sam L
Apr 26th, 2007, 12:53 PM
well,i have a question here.
even if we really found some planets where human can live,so what?
how we are going to reach that place?i bet we're gonna spend millions/billions of dollars(i think).so why not we just spend the rest of our life here on this earth?wasting those $$$ doesn't benefit us anyway.;)

Intellectual curiosity.

Mateo Mathieu
Apr 26th, 2007, 01:58 PM
well,i have a question here.
even if we really found some planets where human can live,so what?
how we are going to reach that place?i bet we're gonna spend millions/billions of dollars(i think).so why not we just spend the rest of our life here on this earth?wasting those $$$ doesn't benefit us anyway.;)
Yeah, spend this money on the natural environment instead :D

Scotso
Apr 26th, 2007, 05:35 PM
Simply living isn't enough. Sure, we could spend all our money to make sure people have the necessities, but would that make everyone happy? No. Humans are naturally curious and it's something we should cultivate. It's what has let to such great leaps in technology and medicine, and has improved the quality of life the world over. So, no, it isn't "wasting" the money.