luni, 16 februarie 2009

The Independent: There's another Earth out there – and we'll find it

Habitable planet could be located in the next four years, scientists say... The first Earth-like planet orbiting a distant star could be discovered within four years, astronomers believe. None of the 300 "extra-solar" planets so far identified beyond our own system is thought to be suitable for life, so the discovery of an Earth-like planet made of rock rather than hot gas or frozen ice would significantly increase the chances of finding the second habitable world, scientists said:

* Astronomers Discover Earth-Like Planet Outside Solar System... Scientists from the European Southern Observatory working in Chile have found a new planet outside our solar system that is more like Earth than any other known planet... Like Earth, the new planet "Gliese 581c" orbits its sun in "the habitable zone." The estimated surface temperature is between minus 3 and 40 degrees celsius -- neither too cold nor too hot for life as we know it. This means there could be liquid water on the planet's surface: