Will the First True ‘Alien Earth’ Be Found in 2013?

Will the First True ‘Alien Earth’ Be Found in 2013?

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The first truly Earth-like alien planet is likely to be spotted next year, an epic discovery that would cause humanity to reassess its place in the universe. While astronomers have found a number of exoplanets over the last few years that share one or two key traits with our own world — such as size or inferred surface temperature — they have yet to bag a bona fide “alien Earth.” But that should change in 2013, scientists say.

Whenever the first Earth twin is confirmed, the discovery will likely have a profound effect on humanity. “We humans will look up into the night sky, much as we gaze across a large ocean,” veteran planet hunter Geoff Marcy told SPACE.com via email. “We will know that the cosmic ocean contains islands and continents by the billions, able to support both primitive life and entire civilizations.” Marcy hopes such a find will prod our species to take its first real steps beyond its native solar system.

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