Astronomers have apparently discovered — for the first time — a planet which is both the correct size and the correct distance from its star to support life. And it’s only (all intended irony) 20 light years away!
Gliese 581g is the first world discovered beyond Earth that’s the right size and location for life.
“Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say that the chances for life on this planet are 100 percent. I have almost no doubt about it,” Steven Vogt, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at University of California Santa Cruz, told Discovery News.
Ever-pessimistic, I await the inevitable debunking of this epochal development. But I’m not as bad as some people on twitter, who believe that we’ll just give up on the planet we currently have as we redouble efforts to reach the new one. Sheesh.
Update 20101014: Another group of astronomers, searching for the same planet, have been unable to find any evidence that the planet even exists. Oh well.