Yet another planet has been discovered, Alpha Centauri Bb, this one is earth-like say researchers at the Geneva Observatory, and it is relatively nearby, in astronomical terms.
Exoplanet researchers say the new Earth-like planet is located in the Alpha Centauri star system, the nearest star system to our own Milky Way. Estimates put the size of the planet at nearly the same as our Earth, and some speculate it may have a composition similar to Earth also.
But that’s about where the similarities end. One year on Alpha Centauri Bb can be very fast paced, something urbanites might like, but at just 4 days, it will be hard to plan ahead there, and its orbit is only 4% of the distance we are from our own sun, making temperatures hot by most standards.
But in the search for a Mirror Earth — a true twin of our planet, with a balmy, biology-friendly climate — it’s a major step. Not only that said co-discoverer Stephane Udry in a press conference: “Finding a low-mass planet [like this one] means there’s a large probability of finding additional planets, including planets in the habitable zone” — that is, the not-too-hot, not-too-cold region where life might exist.
But is our universe starting to get crowded? We used to think we were alone, alone solitary bubble of life being flung through the universe. Now that astronomers and researchers have discovered more than 2,300 planets in other systems besides our own, naming them went from coming up with unique easy to remember names we have for our eight to the spreadsheet like complex and complicated names that don’t really stick easily.
Now that we have discovered thousands of planets, with a few hundred being close to earth like, it’s not to far fetched to think there is another Earth out there somewhere says Janet Plume, an amateur astronomer.
Finding out for sure what this planet and other are exactly made of, and what kind of an atmosphere they have is the goal of astronomers who are trying build a new space-based optical telescope capable of seeing these far away planets.
Most believe if an Earth-like planet is found and confirmed, and can support life, there would be a groundswell of interest and money to develop transportation technology to get humans there within a human lifetime.