Space experts are finding a world like Earth we could live on – and it’s not that far away
SCIENTISTS have discovered an Earth-like planet that could be habitable for humans – or even harbor extraterrestrial life.
Known as Wolf 1069 b, the exoplanet orbits a red dwarf star just 31 light-years from Earth.
It rests on the north side of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
It is the sixth closest Earth-like planet.
And it’s a particularly rare find.
Astronomers have discovered more than 5,200 exoplanets in the universe, but fewer than 200 of them are rocky and mountainous like Earth.
And only a dozen of them have the ability to have liquid water on their surface — which is critical to sustaining life on our world.
A group of 50 astronomers from around the world have confirmed the existence of the exoplanet, which they believe could be a rocky world.
About twice the size of Earth, Wolf 1069 b orbits a red dwarf star in the constellation Cygnus.
The exoplanet is in its star’s habitable zone, which means it could also be a rocky water world – similar to our home planet.
“As we analyzed the data from the star Wolf 1069, we discovered a clear, low-amplitude signal from what appears to be a roughly Earth-mass planet,” said Diana Kossakowski, astronomer and lead author of the new research.
“It orbits the star within 15.6 days at a distance that is 15th the distance between Earth and the Sun.”
However, it sits much closer to the Sun than it does to Earth.
But unlike Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun, where temperatures can reach 430 degrees Celsius, Wolf 1069 b is believed to have a much more habitable surface temperature.
The planet receives only 65% of the incident radiant power of what Earth receives from the Sun.
Scientists found that Wolf 1069 also emits much less radiation.
Astronomers believe temperatures could rise to as high as 13 degrees Celsius if Wolf 1069 had an Earth-like atmosphere.
This would keep the water on the star-facing side of the planet liquid.
An Earth-like atmosphere would also protect against high-energy electromagnetic radiation.
While Wolf 1069 is a promising candidate for extra-terrestrial life, or even a back-up plan for humans, there’s a major catch.
Astronomers predict they will have to wait another decade before technology advances enough to start looking for signs of life on the planet.
And red dwarf stars are notorious for scarring nearby planets with massive stellar winds and UV radiation – much like the Sun did to Mars.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/10181467/space-experts-find-world-like-earth/ Space experts are finding a world like Earth we could live on – and it’s not that far away