Super-Earth Could Support Life, Scientists Say
If Canada isn’t far enough away from the Tea Party for you to comfortably set up residence, take heart- scientists have located a planet they believe can support human life, the Associated Press reports.
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has discovered a few “Super-Earths” using their exoplanet-hunting telescope- 16 of the planets to be precise, among 50 alien planets. But one of the planets in particular, the unassumingly named HD 85512 b, has some Earth-like qualities that indicate we can one day shove an American flag in its soil and start pumping SUV emissions into its atmosphere.
HD 855512 b- which sounds remarkably like a new TV model- like Earth, orbits its star in what’s known as the “habitable zone,” an area in which water can hang around as a liquid without freezing or turning to steam.
In a statement, HARPS [High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher instrument] team leader Michel Mayor of the University of Geneva said:
“The harvest of discoveries from HARPS has exceeded all expectations and includes an exceptionally rich population of super-Earths and Neptune-type planets hosted by stars very similar to our sun. And even better — the new results show that the pace of discovery is accelerating.”
Exoplanet habitability expert Lisa Kaltenegger commented to press about the significance of the discovery:
“I think we’re in for an incredibly exciting time. We’re not just going out there to discover new continents- we’re actually going out there to discover brand new worlds.”
The new Super-Earth is also spacious- about 3.6 times the size of actual Earth.