Astronomers Discover 3 Planets That May Support Life

Astronomers Discover 3 Planets That May Support LifeAstronomers announced that they’ve identified a star system with up to seven planets — three of which could potentially host life — 22 light-years away.

‘Habitable zone’

The likelihood that conditions could support life on at least one of those planets, given that there are three terrestrial-mass planets in the habitable zone of one system, is “tremendous,” according to at least one scientist. The “habitable zone” is the area near a star in which a planet can theoretically hold liquid water. In our own solar system, Venus is close to the inner edge of potential habitability, while Mars is closer to the outer edge.

The discovery is the largest number of “habitable zone” planets ever found within a single system, said Guillem Anglada-Escude of the University of Gottingen, Germany, who led the team of astronomers. The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. The findings are only the latest in a recent string of identifications of planets that may host life.


‘More exciting discoveries’

The three planets orbit a star called Gliese 667C, part of the triple-star system Gliese 667. They are between four and eight times the mass of the Earth, making them ”super-Earths.” The planets are likely either rocky or water worlds, meaning they’re entirely covered in water. These particular planets also appear to be “tidally locked,” meaning the same side of a planet is always facing a star. That means one side of the planet always gets light and the other hemisphere is always in darkness.

Because they are so far away, the composition of the atmospheres of all of these planets outside our solar system remains unknown. Whether life truly roams or swims out there is still to be seen. Still, Anglada-Escude says the existence of star systems packed with potentially habitable planets, and the diversity of planets that Kepler has found, suggest there are more exciting discoveries yet to come.

Do you think the astronomers are very close to finding another planet that is truly habitable for us? Feel free to share your speculations with us!

Source: Elizabeth Landau | CNN

Image: Sci Tech Daily

Mars One Now Looking For Applicants For One-Way Ticket To The Red Planet

Mars One Now Looking For Applicants For One-Way Ticket To The Red PlanetA Dutch company called Mars One began looking Monday for volunteer astronauts to fly to Mars. Departure for the Red Planet is scheduled for 2022, landing seven months later in 2023. The space travelers will return … never. They will finish out their lives on Mars, representatives from the nonprofit said.

‘Build a colony’

The company announced a casting call for candidates at a news conference in New York City. Anyone 18 or older may apply via video but there is an application fee — $38 for U.S. applicants. The money will fund the mission.

Mars One wants to build a colony that will be able to grow with an ever-expanding crew. The group has a plan for testing the technology that would transport people and things. The group wants to launch a supply mission that will land on Mars as soon as October 2016.

Once selected, a group of 40 astronauts will undergo seven years of training. The flight to Earth’s neighbor, with its barren red desert landscape and thin carbon dioxide atmosphere, sounds almost worse than a lifetime on it. The crew of four will be cooped up on a rocket for seven months with a limited supply of food and water.


‘Decades-long reality show’

Mars One plans to fund the mission partly from the sale of technology developed during the mission, CEO Bas Lansdorp said. Media coverage will provide the main funding for the mission, Mars One said. Publicity is key, and the media event begins now with the casting of the astronauts.

Lansdorp said that after consulting with media experts and ad agencies, he’s confident life on Mars will remain a hit for decades on Earth and will be able to weather any financial crisis or war on Earth. If all goes well, Earthling television viewers can look forward to a decades-long reality show, though Lansdorp said the astronauts will be allowed to turn the cameras off at times.

Are you willing to leave your life on Earth and reside in Mars permanently? Do you think this project will be a hit?

Source: Ben Brumfield and Elizabeth Landau, CNN

Image: The Weather Network