An Earth-like planet is discovered in our solar system
Scientists in Hatfield, England, have discovered what they say is an 'Earth-like' planet. Scientists were looking at two planets, one that is the same size as Earth and one that is in the right place to support life. The one that is the same size is called 'Gilese 581 e' and the other is called 'Gilese 581 d' and is capable of supporting life say the scientists.
"The Holy Grail of current exoplanet research is the detection of a rocky, Earth-like planet in the 'habitable zone,'" said Michel Mayor, an astrophysicist at Geneva University in Switzerland.
Other scientists have called the find 'extraordinary'.
Gliese 581 e is very small; it's only 1.9 times the size of Earth and it is situated too close to a nearby star so the planet would be too hot to support life. It is 20 1/2 light years away from Earth.
Gliese 581 d however could support life as water could exist as a liquid on the surface. Scientists think that it is too large to be made only from rocks and has been called "the first serious water-world candidate".
While Gliese 581 e is too hot for life "it shows that nature makes such small planets, probably in large numbers," Marcy commented. "Surely the galaxy contains tens of billions of planets like the small, Earth-mass one announced here."
Other planets have been discoverd, but for different reasons they were all found unlikely to support life forms.