Habitable planet outside our solar system discovered

 

A new home?

 

Located approximately 20.3 light years[1] away from Earth, the Gliese 581 system holds a planet which has been the first to be officially declared as habitable by scientists, according to the Daily Mail.

 

The exoplanet Gliese 581d had previously been ruled out as a habitable planet candidate, but a new computer model, capable of simulating extraterrestrial climate conditions has shown the previous assumption to be wrong. 

 

Yahoo News reports the exoplanet meets key requirements for sustaining Earth-like life, including rainfall and possibly even water oceans.

 

But even though it may be technically habitable, the Gliese 581d would not make a comfortable dwelling for humans.

 

Gravity is twice what is on Earth, doubling the weight of anyone standing on the surface, and the atmosphere is dense with carbon dioxide.

 

With a mass of at least 5.6 times that of Earth, Gliese 581d is classified as a ‘super-Earth’: Emma Kemp (Yahoo News).

 

What does Gliese 581d looks like?  This is an artist’s conception about this planet, available at Nasa.gov.

 

Gliese 581
Gliese 581 System. Image credit: Lynette Cook

 

The Gliese 581 star (a red-dwarf) has about 30% the mass of our Sun.  Scientists believe six planets orbit the Gliese 581 star, as shown in the image below (again, available at Nasa.gov.).

 

Gliese 581 System compared to our own solar system. Image credit: National Science Foundation/Zina Deretsky

 

So, what’s on your mind? Do you think Gliese 581d could be our new home if we keep trashing our planet?

 

May 17th, 2011.

 

TRC


[1] More than 20 trillion kilometres.

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