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October 09, 2011

Possible sibling of Earth

Last month, astronomers located a planet 36 light-years away from us that falls in the habitable zone of its solar system. The planet, known as HD 85512b, lies in the constellation Vela and is 3.6 times more massive than Earth. Due to its location in the solar system, this planet may contain water at the surface bringing up the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Astronomers did caution, however, that we do not have the telescopes yet to determine if there is water, let alone life. Check out an artist's rendition of HD 85512b, looks overwhelmingly similar to our own planet.

Full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/science/space/13planet.html?_r=1&ref=astronomyandastrophysics

Posted by mhymes at October 9, 2011 07:30 PM

Comments

Very cool article. I wonder how they determine when a planet falls in the habitable zone of its solar system. For example this planet is 3.6 times as massive as our planet, but yet it's sun is smaller and less luminous than ours. Does that mean that the planet is closer to its sun than we are?

Posted by: sjbar at October 10, 2011 04:51 PM

I also find the topic of this article very interesting. The possibility of finding another planet that could possibly harbor life is very exciting. I hope we'll soon have the technology to better determine if life exists on this planet and on other similar planets.

Posted by: ebench at October 12, 2011 12:09 PM

When you hear of discoveries like this one it just makes me think that there has to be more life out there somewhere. There is just so much yet to be discovered and eventually we will find another planet like ours.

Posted by: ouellbre at October 13, 2011 01:26 AM

I think that whether this turns out to be a habitable planet or not, studying a planet so similar to Earth can tell us a lot about our own planet. If it turns out to be uninhabitable, what's missing from that planets atmosphere could tell us about what's crucial to life in Earth's atmosphere. Sometimes I wonder if we're being a little closed minded on what we think life is. We only know what life is defined as here on Earth, so it only makes sense that we search for those features on other planets. Maybe extra terrestrial life doesn't require the same materials or atmosphere that Earth's life requires (okay, getting a little sci-fi here...) Just because a planets may only be similar to Earth and not IDENTICAL, does that mean that the planet is uninhabitable? I don't think so. To Earth life, maybe. To an extraterrestrial life? Who knows.

If life is found on this planet in the future, depending on what stage of life we find (microscopic), it would be really cool if we could watch life develop on such a similar planet. Again, this would give us insights into how life developed on our planet- it would be like watching how everything here came to be. Awesome!

Posted by: vacr at October 18, 2011 01:52 PM

I think that whether this turns out to be a habitable planet or not, studying a planet so similar to Earth can tell us a lot about our own planet. If it turns out to be uninhabitable, what's missing from that planets atmosphere could tell us about what's crucial to life in Earth's atmosphere. Sometimes I wonder if we're being a little closed minded on what we think life is. We only know what life is defined as here on Earth, so it only makes sense that we search for those features on other planets. Maybe extra terrestrial life doesn't require the same materials or atmosphere that Earth's life requires (okay, getting a little sci-fi here...) Just because a planets may only be similar to Earth and not IDENTICAL, does that mean that the planet is uninhabitable? I don't think so. To Earth life, maybe. To an extraterrestrial life? Who knows.

If life is found on this planet in the future, depending on what stage of life we find (microscopic), it would be really cool if we could watch life develop on such a similar planet. Again, this would give us insights into how life developed on our planet- it would be like watching how everything here came to be. Awesome!

Posted by: vacr at October 18, 2011 01:54 PM

What a cool concept. Thinking that their might be life outside of earth is incredibly exciting! It's certainly an exciting find for those hopeful of "aliens".

Posted by: dhurvitz at October 24, 2011 05:15 PM

Other than the possibility of life on this planet, I think it is also interesting to think of the potential of us inhabiting planets like this in the future. I believe inhabiting other planets within our solar system, and even in our galaxy may be crucial to human kind's survival.

Posted by: annaeb at October 29, 2011 02:48 PM

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