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Space & Astronomy

Earth-like worlds may exist in nearby system

By T.K. Randall
March 28, 2015 · Comment icon 36 comments

Alpha Centauri is the nearest star system to our own. Image Credit: NASA
There could be two potentially habitable planets in a binary star system just 4.3 light years away.
In cosmological terms Alpha Centauri is right on our doorstep, a binary star system that could one day become the destination of the first ever interstellar space mission.

Now astronomers believe that they have identified an even more tempting reason for us to go there in the form of what could be a pair of Earth-like planets in orbit around the smaller of the two stars, Alpha Centauri B.

While these two distant worlds are probably too hot to support life themselves, their presence could indicate that there are more planets in the Alpha Centauri system just waiting to be found.
"If you see one planet, the chance is there are other planets in the system," said Brice-Oliver Demory of the University of Cambridge.

To date more than 2,000 planets have been detected in orbit around distant star systems and more are being found all the time. Once the next generation of planet hunting telescopes are up and running we may even be able to confirm the existence of other worlds that are much like our own.

Perhaps one day we may even be able to go and visit them.

Source: New Scientist | Comments (36)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #27 Posted by Hammerclaw 9 years ago
"Earthlike planet" means a rocky terrestrial type planet in a star's goldilocks zone, not a planet necessarily harboring life.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
not a planet necessarily harboring life. No one said it was. However such a planet would be a logical place to look for life.
Comment icon #29 Posted by Hammerclaw 9 years ago
No one said it was. However such a planet would be a logical place to look for life. The logical place to look for life as we know it is where there is liquid water. In the one example of a solar system we have to study, that seems to be mostly outside the zone. There are so many unlikely circumstances that have to occur to have a water world in the zone.To have a relatively stable biome and a large moon to tidal stress the core to keep it active and producing a magnetic shield against the solar wind for billions of years is not something that could be very common. It probably has happened els... [More]
Comment icon #30 Posted by russ117044 9 years ago
4 light years. It might as well be 1000. If we are to make this journey in any way viable, we HAD BETTER FINE A FASTER WAY OF GETTING THERE. Evan 100 years is absurd. Right now, the best we have would take 12, 050 years just to go one way!
Comment icon #31 Posted by DieChecker 9 years ago
4 light years. It might as well be 1000. If we are to make this journey in any way viable, we HAD BETTER FINE A FASTER WAY OF GETTING THERE. Evan 100 years is absurd. Right now, the best we have would take 12, 050 years just to go one way! Viable is a relative term. Modern humans want everything NOW, NOW, NOW!!! There was a time when a craftsman would spend a month on a piece of furniture. Or, when a farmer that wanted broccoli had to grow it himself. Or, people who wanted free land had to travel 2000 miles or 3 or 4 months time.
Comment icon #32 Posted by psyche101 9 years ago
Viable is a relative term. Modern humans want everything NOW, NOW, NOW!!! There was a time when a craftsman would spend a month on a piece of furniture. Or, when a farmer that wanted broccoli had to grow it himself. Or, people who wanted free land had to travel 2000 miles or 3 or 4 months time. Agreed, 100 years might be a long time, but I bet it will be much longer before we devise faster space travel. Imagine if we sent something in 1970 with Nuclear Propulsion, we would already be one third the way there. If we do manage to build something faster, those developments are probably going to co... [More]
Comment icon #33 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
I also agree with DirChecker. Just a few centuries ago people were prepared to design and start building cathedrals that they knew would take generations to build. The architects knew they would not live to see their designs come to completion, the workers knew the same. If we could channel that philosophy into our scientific endeavours, rather than complain that money is being wasted because there have been no results in two years, then imagine what e could achieve... and not just in space exploration. The problem is that we live in a world where we want instant gratification and where are po... [More]
Comment icon #34 Posted by joc 9 years ago
A space vehicle traveling at the speed of light is a snail's pace when you compare it to the vastness of space. There are no space vehicles that travel at the speed of light....only Light travels at the speed of light. ...and yes...when one is talking literally billions and billions of miles traveled at the speed of light....yeah Edit: that was supposed to be billions and billions of light years of traveling at the speed of light.....uh...nevermind....
Comment icon #35 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
A space vehicle traveling at the speed of light is a snail's pace when you compare it to the vastness of space. Oh yes! More than 100,000 years to cross our galaxy. 2.2 million years to reach the nearest large galaxy. Many billions of years to reach some of the galaxies that Hubble is observing. If life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then the one thing it cannot have is a sense of proportion. - From the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Comment icon #36 Posted by Hawkin 9 years ago
There are no space vehicles that travel at the speed of light....only Light travels at the speed of light. Duh...ya think


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