Gliese 581g Planet Can Support Life Just Like Earth?

Posted by on Sep 30th, 2010 and filed under Featured, Tech Stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Is it possible to have a planet capable of having the same characteristics as planet Earth and can support life?

Well, the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey team led by astronomer, Steven Vogt, whose mandate is to look for planets outside the solar system, says that it’s possible. Finally for more than ten years of surveying a lot of planets from the different star systems across our galaxy, the team, composed of professors, scientists and students from the University of California and Carnegie Institution of Washington had spotted a planet lying on the habitable zone(also called the Goldilocks zone) of its star.

The planet, named Gliese 581 g, was observed to have a distance from its parent star, Gliese 581, less than that of Earth’s distance from the Sun – Gliese 581g only takes 37 days to orbit its star. However, it has a great potential according to NASA scientists to possibly support life similar to our planet.

The planet was detected using data collected from the Kech 1 telescope (which detects planets from other star systems) in combination with Doppler spectroscopy (method used to look for extrasolar planets’ distances from the star in their system) at La Silla Observatory in Hawaii. The planet was observed to have three or four times the mass of the Earth and could possibly hold liquid water which probably could support life.

As of now Gliese 581 g is the only planet outside our solar system observed to have the potential to support life. Vogt unofficially named the planet Zarmina, which is the name of his wife. NASA and the National Science Foundation of the United States of America had been funding the research since the 90’s. Anyway, the planet is 20.5 light years away from earth. So even if life is possible in Gliese 581 g, it would take generations before humans could get there.

(image credit: NASA)

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