Since 1995 with the discovery of the first exoplanet, scientists and astronomers have been intrigued by the possibility of finding a planet exactly like Earth, in terms of temperature, geological makeup, and distance from its sun. We might be closer to finding Earth’s twin because scientists believe this discovery may come in 2013.
According to Blastr.com, scientists have discovered more than 800 exoplanets since 1995 but a majority of them were Jupiter-like planets with hostile environments that are not suitable for human life. But with recent discoveries of the Tau Ceti star and the Alpha Centauri sun, the possibility of finding an Earth-like planet is very likely. Abel Mendez of the Planetary Habitability Lab at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo said, “I’m very positive that the first Earth twin will be discovered next year.”
With technology like NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, scientists are now able to detect exoplanets that are further away from their suns, which would place them in a “habitable zone” to sustain life like Earth.
Astronomers have narrowed down the field to nine exoplanets that have the capability to potentially sustaining primitive life or even house advanced civilizations. According to Kepler team member Geoff Marcy, “The first planet with a measured size, orbit and incident stellar flux that is suitable for life is likely to be announced in 2013.”
It’s one thing to discover a planet that is exactly like Earth but it’s another to actually make contact with the life forms on that distant exoplanet. While it’s exciting to hear that scientists are as close to discovering an Earth-like planet in 2013, it’s going to be a long while before we can actually travel there. Needless to say, we will soon know if we are alone in the Universe.