In a huge discovery for astronomers and Earth folk alike, there has been a groundbreaking finding: a planet dubbed Earth 2.0 is within our galaxy.
Imagine that: a place where we’d have a chance to start over. There’d be no Tony Abbott or Malcolm Turnbull, no money worries, no troubles of the world. We’d have a clean slate.
Astronomers have spotted a planet that is the closest potentially habitable world humanity has ever seen.
The planet is four times as big as Earth and sits perfectly within the habitable ‘Goldilocks’ zone that would make it able to support life – it’s neither too hot or too cold.
A team of researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), made the discovery using the HARPS spectrograph, which is part of the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6 metre telescope in La Silla in Chile.
“It is a particularly exciting find because all three planets are of low enough mass to be potentially rocky and have a solid surface, and the middle planet, Wolf 1061c, sits within the ‘Goldilocks’ zone where it might be possible for liquid water — and maybe even life — to exist,” said lead study author Dr Duncan Wright in a statement.
“It is fascinating to look out at the vastness of space and think a star so very close to us — a near neighbour — could host a habitable planet.”
So what’s next? Scientists are going to study its atmosphere and explore whether the new planet is truly able to be lived on.
“The close proximity of the planets around Wolf 1061 means there is a good chance these planets may pass across the face of the star. If they do, then it may be possible to study the atmospheres of these planets in future to see whether they would be conducive to life,” said team member UNSW’s Dr Rob Wittenmyer in a statement.
The only catch? It’s 14 light years away! But scientists are working on it.
“It is fascinating to look out at the vastness of space and think a star so very close to us — a near neighbour — could host a habitable planet,” said Dr Wright.
It’s fun for now just to think about what we could do with another planet. Would it give us a second chance? Would we change our ways and learn from how we’ve treated Earth? Or would we fall back into old patterns?