Saturday, May 28, 2016
Earth-like planet that ‘could be habitable’ discovered
If we use up all the earth’s resources and predictions of a global warming Dooms Day type-scenario do come true, there might be a get out clause.
Scientists have found an Earth-like planet orbiting a star that could have the conditions suitable for life.
There is a catch though, it’s 1,200 light years away, so unless we invent a way of prolonging our lives drastically, it might remain a pipe dream for now.
The planet has been given the memorable moniker Kepler 62f (or home if things don’t work out here) and is about 40 per cent larger than the Earth.
It is the outermost of five planets circling a star that is smaller and cooler than the sun and computer simulations suggest it is could be habitable.
To put the discovery in context some 2,300 ‘exoplanets’ have been identified outside the solar system, but of those only a couple of dozen orbit the ‘habitable zones’ around stars.
Plus Kepler 62f would need a thick layer of carbon dioxide to in its atmosphere to keep water from freezing – but that is something us humans are specialists at creating.
Lead scientist Dr Aomawa Shields, from the University of California at Los Angeles, told the Independent: ‘We found there are multiple atmospheric compositions that allow it to be warm enough to have surface liquid water.
‘This makes it a strong candidate for a habitable planet.
‘This might help melt ice sheets formed at other times in the planet’s orbit.’