For many years, scientists have been searching for an Earth twin, or Earth-like planet in what they call the “Goldilocks” zone. Now, researchers have finally found a planet that meets this description and it may host life because liquid water might be flowing there, making the planet potentially habitable. The so called “holy grail” planet is very much like Earth in terms of its size. Its level of potential habitability and overall composition make it a perfect planet for hosting alien life. The Kepler telescope has definitely found such an exoplanet in a habitable zone in space, scientists confirm.
Earth’s Goldilocks twin is about 10% bigger than Earth, and it orbits around what’s called a dwarf star in Cygnus, a distant constellation. Earth’s twin takes 130 days to orbit around its star, and scientists say the reason why this planet may host life is because for life to exist, liquid water must be present. Because this planet happens to exist in the “just right” Goldilocks zone, it is not so hot that water would transform into vapor and not so cold that it would turn into ice. Thus, liquid water most likely flows on the planet that scientists have finally found and that means life could exist there too.
Elisa Quintana, the study’s lead author, says that when researchers go hunting for life outside Earth’s own solar system, they look for conditions and attributes of planets that most closely resemble the attributes and conditions of Earth. Quintana says that finding this new Earth-like planet is very significant because it has now been confirmed to exist.
Now that an Earth-like Goldilocks planet has finally been found that may host life, many are asking the question: what might alien life be like? If scientists were to discover that this new planet does indeed have living creatures calling it home, would those beings be mere microbes that are peacefully living out their existence 500 light years away from Earth? Or would they be something much more sinister: slimy green creatures that have a craving for humans’ intestines or brains? Would their books be titled “How to Serve Man” like from that old Twilight Zone episode? While the discovery is exciting, the possibilities might be frightening.
Of course, scientists can’t guarantee that the planet does host life. The study’s co-author, Thomas Barclay, says that just because the planet lies in the Goldilocks zone, it’s not certain that it is definitely inhabited by alien life. However, he says, the temperature on the Earth-like planet provides an environment that is ideal for life because it might mimic the temperatures found on Earth with regard to the climate being perfect for liquid water to flow.
The task of figuring out the planet’s exact composition is challenging, but previous studies have shown that it is composed primarily of rock. An Earth-like Goldilocks planet has been finally found, and it may host life. Will humans soon have to deal with not only other Earthlings but also alien neighbors as well?
By: Rebecca Savastio