Could this be our galaxy’s best bet for extraterrestrial life? Astronomers have recently spotted an alien world the same size and temperature as our own, a mere ’11 light years away’ and claim it may be the ‘closest known home for alien life’.
Astronomers from the University of Grenoble in France have discovered an alien world named Ross 128b, orbiting a red dwarf star, some 11 light years away. According to experts, this not-so-distant planet may be our best bet yet, for finding alien life.
The recently discovered planet is believed to be the same size as Earth, and also an eerily similar surface temperature. Scientists believe this planet may the ‘the closest known comfortable abode for possible life,’ according to a new study.
Despite the fact that it would take us nearly 141,000 years to travel to the planet using our current spaceships, the planet is located relatively close in cosmic terms, only 11 light years away, which makes it the second closest Earth-like planet in our close proximity.
Experts have said that despite the fact that its located 11 light years away from us, the planet is actually moving towards us and is expected to become our closest cosmic neighbor in around 79,000 years.
The planet was spotted by astronomers collaborating with the European Southern Observatory’s High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument, located at the La Silla Observatory in Chile.
Astronomers report that the low-mass exoplanet orbits its star, a weak red dwarf every 9.9 days.
The planet which has already been dubbed as ‘the second Earth’ is believed to be temperate and have a surface temperature very close to Earth.
Ross128 is considered the quietest nearby star to host such a planet.
This discovery is based on more than a decade of HARPS intensive monitoring together with state-of-the-art data reduction and analysis techniques. Only HARPS has demonstrated such a precision and it remains the best planet hunter of its kind, 15 years after it began operations,’ said Study co-author Dr. Nicola Astudillo-Defru, of the University of Geneva in Switzerland.
Lead author Dr. Xavier Bonfils, of Université Grenoble in France, said in an interview with National Geographic: “There wasn’t a ‘eureka’ moment here where we were able to suddenly say, wow, we have a planet. We accumulated data over many years, and only gradually the signal built up and became significant.”
The discovery of Ross128 raises hopes that mankind will soon discover whether or not we are alone in the universe.
The discovery of Ross128 comes after NASA researchers have claimed that mankind will most likely find alien life within the next 20 years.
In a recently published video—How to Find a Living Planet—NASA explains that the discovery of water on distant alien worlds may be a key to finding alien life.
The Space Agency explains in the video that: “No matter where we look, whether it’s a desert or Antarctica or the deepest parts of the ocean or the deepest parts of Earth’s crust that we’ve explored, as long as there’s a tiny speck of liquid water, there’s life.
Interestingly, astronomers are now working to find out whether or not Rss128b is located within its stars habitable zone. The habitable zone of a star is a region in space within which a planetary surface can support liquid water given sufficient atmospheric pressure.