What will happen when Earth is gone? Everyone at one point in their lives has asked themselves this question. Well, some people have been searching for the answer to that
question for a majority of their lives as well.
In La Silla, Chille at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) a team of scientists have been using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARP), which is an instrument that searches for spectral signs to show a star is wobbling due a gravitational pull, to search for planets.
According to MSNBC, these findings were presented to the public via a paper submitted to “Astronomy and Astrophysics,” and were then explained in complete detail at the Extreme Solar System conference in Moran, Wyoming which started on September 11 and ran until September 17.
Their results were astronomical! They discovered 50 new alien planets, 16 of which are super Earths. Super-Earths are planets that have masses greater than Earth’s, but are smaller than the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. One of the super-Earths even has a possibility of having water on its surface. In their research, scientists find out about a planet known as HD 85512b; it orbits a star within the habitable zone. This zone is where a planet must orbit in order to maintain water on its surface. In other words, it is relatively in the same place as Earth is in regards to our Sun.
One of the authors of the study and exoplanet habitability expert Lisa Kaltenegger had this to say about HD 85512, “[it’s] a very exciting planet because if it is rocky; it will be the second confirmed planet that is within the habitable zone of its star.” The first planet which was found to be habitable was Gilese, also known as 581d which was found in orbit of a red-dwarf star.
The habitable zone is one Astronomical Unit (AU) , the distance from our sun to the Earth; therefore any planets that falls between 0.2 AU and one AU have the chance of being hospitable to a water based species. In other words, in a few thousand years, the human species might have a few more vacation spots.Tweet