Astronomers claim to have found a planet outside of our solar system that is a prime candidate for hosting new life. They are referring to it as a “goldilocks” planet, which means it’s not too hot and not too cold. It sits in what’s known as the habitable zone unlike the nearly 500 other planets outside our solar system that have been found.
It is approximately 3 times the mass of Earth and is much closer to its sun, orbiting every 37 days, and barely rotates, which means one side of the planet is almost always frozen in the dark. Because it’s sun is a low-energy dwarf star, the planet can be closer but still have a moderate temperature, suitable for life.
Temperatures can be as hot as 160 degrees or as frigid as 25 degrees below zero, but in between — in the land of constant sunrise — it would be “shirt-sleeve weather,” said co-discoverer Steven Vogt of the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Known as the Gliese 581 system, it’s about 120 trillion miles away and would take a couple of generations just to reach the new planet. It seems impractical, but in the scope of the universe this is “right in our face, right next door to us.”
It could be a few generations before we have the technology to launch a space mission of that magnitude, but I for one would sign up immediately to be a space colonist.