Astronomers have identified an extrasolar planet that is a top contender in the hunt for alien life.
Known as a 'super-Earth', the planet Gliese 163c is about 50 light years away and lies just on the edge of its star's habitable zone. It isn't clear if the planet is a rocky world or a small gas giant but at seven times the mass of Earth it is considerably larger than our own terrestrial sphere. There is a small chance that the planet will pass in front of its star from our perspective which would offer scientists the chance to learn more about it.
"There are a wide range of structures and compositions that allow Gliese 163c to be a habitable planet," said astronomer Xavier Bonfils whose team made the discovery.
"The Planetary Habitability Laboratory (PHL) at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo keeps a catalog of the alien worlds it considers good candidates to host life."
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Source: Live Science
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