Thursday, 30 September 2010

New Planet Discovered

Our galaxy, for those who don't know, contains roughly 100 billion stars (this is a conservative estimate, many sources put that number at closer to 300 billion). Around these 100 billion stars are even more planets, probably upward or close too a trillion. Now of that trillion it is estimated that around 200 billion planets sit within the "goldilocks zone" of their solar system, the "goldilocks zone" being a term coined to mean the band around the sun wherein the conditions are just right for life to exist (termed goldilocks because the conditions are "just right"- conclusive proof that scientists don't have a sense of humour).

 That means that life is likely to exist on 200 billion other planets within our galaxy alone, the reason why I'm telling you all this? So that you will suspend your disbelief when I tell you that scientists have discovered the exo-skeleton of a planet that is very much like Earth.
Pictured: What the planet almost certainly doesn't look like.

Before today precisely zero potentially earth-like planets have been discovered (with the slight exception of gliese 581c), hence why there is so much excitement surrounding the finding of this new planet, dubbed gliese 581g.

It differs from Earth in several ways though, most majorly its average temperatures are believed to range from between -12C and -31C; and the fact that unlike Earth, this alien world has one side always facing its sun and the other side constantly in the dark. This means that in-between the two sides, between shadow and light, there could be an area where life could potentially thrive.

In all honesty I would find it hard to believe that there isn't life on gliese 581g, if the planet has an atmosphere similar to ours and if it has been around for the last few billion years as scientists believe then life will almost certainly exist there, albeit most likely in a much different state to how it would be on Earth.

The planet lies 20 lightyears away, a relatively small distance comparative to our galaxy, it is therefore estimated that it would take a man-made craft travelling at 50,000km/hr a mere 20,000 years to reach the planet. So no chance of meeting any extra-terrestrials in our lifetime then D:

On second thoughts maybe that's not such a bad thing

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  1. Heard about this today, and was actually quite amazed and a bit weary of it at the same. Firstly i was a bit amazed that this was so close to our planet that we have only just noticed it, but secodly i thought when we start experimenting on the planet are we going to disturb the nature and life that is currently on that planrt? We are quite good at screwing things up.

    Itd be great to find some life on there too, but thats just wishful thinking

  2. still wondering why the fuck they called it goldilocks. that shits gay

  3. If there is any life on it, it certainly isn't on the land. I can say that with conviction.

  4. An excellent discovery indeed. Another planet to trash when we're done with earth.

  5. well humankind is gonna have to leave earth if it wants to survive thats gonna way past our lifetimes though

  6. It's kind of exciting that they've found a planet similar to Earth.

    We'll have to wait and see what else they can come up with.