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First ‘Alien Earth’ Planet? Astronomers Predict A Major Discovery In 2013

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The first “Alien Earth” planet could be discovered in 2013.

Researchers have discovered a number of planets within the “Goldilocks zone” in recent years and some researchers believe that they are incredibly close to finding a true “alien earth” planet.

Abel Mendez, who runs the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, told Space.com:

“I’m very positive that the first Earth twin will be discovered next year.”

Finding an alien earth may seem improbable but Space.com notes that researchers have found a number of exoplanets orbiting a sun-like star. Astronomers discovered their first exoplanet orbiting a sun-like star in 1995 and since then they’ve discovered more than 800 more. There are also thousands of potential candidates waiting to be confirmed.

Geoff Marcy, an astronomer from the University of California, Berkeley, said:

“The first planet with a measured size, orbit and incident stellar flux that is suitable for life is likely to be announced in 2013.”

Of course, not everyone is so confident that the first “alien earth” planet will be discovered anytime soon.

Caleb A. Scharf writes at the Scientific American that many of the “earth like” planets that astronomers discovered are not very earth like at all.

Scharf writes:

“When press releases state that a ‘habitable’ world may have been found, the truth is far more complex. Astronomers and astrobiologists tend to use the term habitable as a shorthand for the presence of liquid water on a planetary surface, implying a range of temperatures between the freezing and boiling point of water … So strictly speaking ‘habitable’ includes a range of environments that we would find appallingly hostile, including high-pressure, high-temperature climates and those in a sub-arctic category with thin atmospheres.”

Do you think the first “alien earth” planet will be discovered in 2013? Will we ever discover an exoplanet similar to earth?

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