‘Super-Earth’ Alien Planet May Be Habitable for Life
Astronomers have detected an alien planet that may be capable of supporting life as we know it — and it’s just a stone’s throw from Earth in the cosmic scheme of things. The newfound exoplanet, a so-called “super-Earth” called HD 40307g, is located inside its host star’s habitable zone, a just-right range of distances where liquid water may exist on a world’s surface. And the planet lies a mere 42 light-years away from Earth, meaning that future telescopes might be able to image it directly, researchers said.
“The longer orbit of the new planet means that its climate and atmosphere may be just right to support life,” said Hugh Jones, co-author of the study that has been accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. “Just as Goldilocks liked her porridge to be neither too hot nor too cold but just right, this planet or indeed any moons that it has lie in an orbit comparable to Earth, increasing the probability of it being habitable.”