Scientists Find ‘Habitable’ Planet
Posted on Apr 25, 2007
A team of scientists has discovered what could be the first habitable planet outside the solar system. More information is needed before an accurate assessment can be made, but researchers have suggested that planet 581c has a temperature range of between 32 and 104 degrees, and could contain vast quantities of liquid water.
One scientist said of the discovery: “On the treasure map of the universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X.”
AP via Yahoo:
WASHINGTON—For the first time, astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for “life in the universe.”
The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away. But the star it closely orbits, known as a “red dwarf,” is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun.
There’s still a lot that is unknown about the new planet, which could be deemed inhospitable to life once more is known about it. And it’s worth noting that scientists’ requirements for habitability count Mars in that category: a size relatively similar to Earth’s with temperatures that would permit liquid water. However, this is the first outside our solar system that meets those standards.
Planet 581c orbits its sun about 20 light-years from our solar system.