Scientists Spot a Super Earth

February 3, 2012

On the look-out to find another habitable planet in our universe, scientists spotted a super-Earth: a planet orbiting its star where liquid water can exist and of about 4.5 Earth masses.

Called GJ 667Cc, the super planet shines 22 light-years from our planet near the tail of the Scorpius constellation. What strikes about the super-Earth is it's current development stage well within its star's life friendly-zone. Also, it is the right size to possibly accommodate life as we know it on Earth. Furthermore, its star is a red dwarf, cooler than the sun and potentially to provide the right conditions for life.

However, astrophysicist Sarah Seager, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, warns not the get too excited about what could actually be possible on GJ 667Cc, “The truth is, we may never know,” she says. “It’s difficult to determine habitability without knowing the planet’s composition, or anything about its atmosphere and how much of the star’s energy is absorbed.”. Nevertheless, neither she can hide her excitement and goes on predicting that “Whatever is going on, this is the start of the next era in exoplanets. We’re going to start seeing super-Earths in habitable zones all the time.”

Is it perhaps the time to start thinking about what our new planet might just look like in a few decades? Yet, no answer can be found.