Monday, January 23, 2017
Scientists Are Searching For Life On This Nearby Exoplanet
Wolf 1061, a star system not terribly far from our own, has an interesting planet called Wolf 1061c. While scientists have known about the exoplanet since 2015, Kane and his team discovered that it’s squarely within the habitable zone—the region in the solar system where the atmospheric conditions could support liquid water. That said, Kane said that if there’s any life on the planet, it must be living under hostile conditions—similar to those of Venus—since it’s on the inner edge of the habitable zone, relatively close to its star.
“The Wolf 1061 system is important because it is so close and that gives other opportunities to do follow-up studies to see if it does indeed have life,” Kane said, according to Sci News. His team’s findings will published in the next issue of Astrophysical Journal, though a pre-print is available here.
METI will continue its search for life outside the solar system, regardless of what it does or does not find on Wolf 1061c. But this latest bit of research from Kane and his team makes the planet a much more appealing prospect for further study.
“If we transmitted a radio signal to this exoplanet today, we might get a reply back from tech-savvy aliens in the Wolf 1061 system as early as 2045—a mere blink of the eye on astronomical timescales,” Vakoch said.