Tuesday, April 24, 2007

First Potentially Habitable Planet Outside the Solar System Found

Born Libra - Hope?...Maybe I really am from anther planet!?

A multi-national team of Swiss, French and Portuguese scientists have discovered the first potentially habitable planet outside of our solar system. It is estimated to have a radius 50% bigger than the Earth, so gravity on it would be about twice as strong as it is here, and it orbits a red dwarf called Gliese in the constellation Libra.

The exoplanet is 14 times closer to its star than the Earth is from the Sun and so its year is only 13 Earth days long. The good news is that since the red dwarf is “smaller and cooler than the Sun, (one third of the mass), the plan­et lies in a hab­it­a­ble zone. I wonder how many days of summer would that be?

"Av­er­age tem­pe­r­a­tures on the planet lie be­tween 32 to 104 de­grees Fahren­heit " said St├ęphane Udry of Switz­er­land’s Ge­ne­va Ob­serv­a­to­ry, lead au­thor of a pa­pe­r re­port­ing the re­sult. “Mod­els pre­dict that the plan­et should be ei­ther rock­y—like our Earth—or cov­ered with oceans,” he added

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

The find was pos­si­ble thanks to an in­stru­ment known as a spec­tro­graph on the Eu­ro­pe­an South­ern Ob­serv­a­to­ry’s 3.6-meter tel­e­scope at La Silla, Chil­e.

Great…. Anther planet for humans to destroy… I hope extraterrestrials are working on a force field or at the very least an extraterrestrials brain wave scanning system. Than again, if they are already scooping us out for potential galaxy trade, than I, for one, will welcome the new class M planet overlords.

"You expect us to sit up here for a week while probes have all the fun?"

- Enterprise/Strange New World - Tripp (Commander Charles Tucker)

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