Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sun-drenched living space, mere light years from your door!

Yep, science, or at least big telescopes, are bringing us ever closer to definitively saying that there is a planet other than our own that could host life. An already-discovered body, Gliese 581d, had been shown to be in the "Goldilocks Zone" of a star about 20 light years away--close enough to the star to be warm but far enough that it's not an inferno.

Now, it seems, 581d might be an even better candidate than we thought:

Nice curb appeal.

Now, French researchers have run computer simulations of the planet's atmosphere, arguing that it is likely to contain high concentrations of carbon dioxide.

They contend that conditions could be suitable for oceans of liquid water as well as clouds and rainfall.

However, Gliese 581d's denser air and dim red light from its host star would make for a murky environment that would be toxic to humans.

So yeah, it's still really far away and the soupy environment (not to mention high gravity) means that it's not really ideal for our particular brand of life. But still, it's interesting. Let's just hope the neighbors are nice....

1 comment:

Pietro Devon said...

at least as nice as we are. ahem.