Astronomers May Have Found A Planet Habitable For Humans

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Astronomers have re-considered the possibilities of two exoplanets orbiting the red dwarf known as Gliese 581. They believe there’s a chance that these worlds may have properties for human habitability. These would-be “second and third Earths” are only 20 light years outside of our solar system and could be targets for a potential interstellar space mission, some day.

Gliese 581 has six planets in its orbit. Scientists say two of those planets are in the “habitable zone,” which means their water could be in liquid-form and their temperatures could be friendly to humans. One of the planets, known as Gilese 581g, receives about the same amount of sunlight as Earth and is 1.5 the size of our world. It’s also “tidal locked,” which means it doesn’t rotate. So one side always faces its sun while the other side remains in darkness.

The planet Gilese 581g was discovered by Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet survey in 2010 and was re-added to the top five exoplanets considered prime candidates for harboring of life. As Abel Torres of Planetary Habitability Laboratory points out

These factors combine to make Gliese 581g the most Earth-like planet known with an Earth Similarity Index, a measure of Earth-likeness from zero to one, of 0.92 and higher than the previously top candidate Gliese 667Cc, discovered last year.

The placement of Gliese 581’s planets has led astronomers to also theorize that three more of its planets could be habitable to life. This makes five out of the six of Gliese 581’s planets habitable, but only two would be habitable specifically for human life. Still, this news is pretty exciting that sooner or later we will find a planet that is a lot like Earth. Our stay in the universe may be about to get less lonely.


  1. so we could travel to a 3rd earth? When we get there will we meet a evil mummy named Mumm-Ra that will try and drive use off the planet?

  2. Have to wonder, if there are advanced alien races out there would they be able to make more than one planet in their solar system habitable

  3. sean blain says:

    Even if they don’t have life on them its a good sign that there good be more plantes like them in the universe and humans may find them some day and I for one wish I could see that day when space is like the seas and oceans and we journey though them 🙂

  4. Bill Glover says:

    If and when we get around the light speed limit barrier 20 light years will be a quick leap. Five such planets in this close proximity already discovered promises countless many more. Seems almost impossible that we are alone. Exciting!

    • Jerry says:

      I am always surprised that this scientist or that scientist or every layman always discounts or ignores ths “AS WE KNOW IT”. Who are we to say that intelligent (more than we are) must have water or oxygen? What makes 99.9% of people think that a civilization built on somethng other than carbon (for example silicone or sulphur or any of the other elements we know) or even some we have not yet discovered is not possible?

  5. REX says:

    It’s all fine and well but you have to concider that it took over 30 years for Voyager 1 to leave the Solar System. Even at Light Speed, it would take 20 years to get there. I don’t expect to ever set foot on one of these planets and I’m only 19.

  6. Deadatomic says:

    Problem is it takes 37200 years to travel one light year with the shuttles we have now so now times that by its actual distance? We are not going there for a long long time. 🙁

  7. Aldo says:

    Pandora isnt on this list?

  8. columbuswasadope says:

    Let’s make sure that we don’t contaminate these new worlds with politicians, lawyers, preachers, and reporters.

  9. stephlmanson says:

    I love how they say “only 20 light years” from Earth. As if it’s no big deal & we could just hop on over there. I’m certainly no mathematician, but if even light – which travels at 186,000 miles per SECOND – takes 20 years to get there, then it doesn’t really matter if it’s a pristine replica of Earth….we’ll never see it.

  10. PC says:

    What’s the point? Some of us will get to travel freely and some will not. Why do you think our Current Society is designed im a “pecking order” mentality?

  11. I won’t be needing the time machine now then? Oh yes, I will. Didn’t read the small print!!!