Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New "Earth Like" Planet

Astronomers in Europe have found the first planet outside of our universe that may be habitable. Apparently this is a very big deal and is "a significant step on the way to finding possible life in the universe". According to the Associated Press scientists say

"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."

The planet is about 20 light years away which means someone needs to find the secrets to warp speed if we ever want to visit it. It's also unclear as to whether the planet has an atmosphere. And if it does what kind of atmosphere is it?

I've always been fascinated by the possibility of other kinds of life. It's common for us as carbon based life forms to assume that other life must also be carbon based. What would a creature that evolved in a nitrogen dominant atmosphere look like? It's also assumed that water is pivotal to life since that is the case here on Earth. What if there are life forms who thrive on some other compound - like sodium or chlorene? I'm not a scientist, but I think it's within the realm of possibility seeing as how vast and complicated space really is.

It's worth saying that Mars is also in the category of Earth-like planets and we have yet to find life there. Though I have heard some theories about there being underground life on Mars which make great fodder for sci-fi stories but are less than credible.

All things considered this is pretty cool stuff.

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