Sci-fi fans, a planet similar to Earth may be closer than we could have ever imagined. An international team of scientists has determined that Tau Ceti, the star that is most similar to our Sun and closest to the Earth, may have a habitable planet in its orbit.
The planet, which is five times the size of Earth, lies in Tau Ceti’s “habitable zone.” That means that the distance of the planet from the star allows for temperatures to be at a level which would allow for life like we see on Earth. Of course, that doesn’t take into account for the increased gravity. This system is 12 light years away, which in the grand scheme of things is equivalent to a few blocks in the city which is the Universe.
While those jumping ahead may wish to see this as a potential outpost for colonization, scientists are expected to use this discovery as a way of perfecting planetary detection in the future. What else is on the horizon out there? What is the likelihood that this new planet has life on it? How did the scientists find it in the first place?
Charles Beichman, Executive Director of the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at the California Institute of Technology