A mere 11 light-years away from our Solar System, a newly discovered exoplanet is the second-closest we’ve ever found that’s temperate enough to potentially host and sustain life. The Earth-sized exoplanet was just discovered and scientists are already searching for signs of life.
Ross 128 b orbits the inactive red dwarf star, Ross 128, in the system’s “Goldilocks zone.” This zone is known as the area in perfect distance from a star to support life. The planet is also probably rocky, not gaseous; and it’s at a distance from its star that means the temperature could be hospitable to life as we know it.
It was found using the European Southern Observatory’s High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) in Chile – the most precise instrument of its kind. And it took researchers a long time to nail down. “We started to observe this star in July 2005,” astronomer Nicola Astudillo-Defru of Geneva Observatory told ScienceAlert. “Since 2013, our monitoring started to be more intense, and only after acquiring 157 observations was the signal of the planet strong enough to be detected.”
The researchers were able to discover the planet using the radial velocity method of planet detection. This method differs from the transit method we usually hear about but it shows this technique still has a whole lot of potential for finding new exoplanets.
Here’s what we know about Ross 128 b so far. It’s 1.35 times the mass of Earth. This means it’s most likely a rocky planet since – as far as we know at least, gas planets tend to be giants.
That’s the other point in favour of Ross 128 b being a rocky planet: it’s relatively close to its host star. In fact, it’s 20 times closer to its star than Earth is to the Sun, and completes an entire orbit in 9.9 days.
Why isn’t it too hot for life? Ross 128 is a cool, faint red dwarf. It emits less radiation than our yellow Sun, so Ross 128 b receives only about 1.38 times more irradiation than Earth. Its equilibrium temperature is estimated to be between -60 and 20 degrees Celsius (-76 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). –Science Alert
Ross 128 also has fewer flares than most red dwarfs, such as Proxima Centauri, which has its own exoplanet, Proxima Centauri b. Conditions on Ross 128 b are expected to be much more stable than those on Proxima Centauri b.
We started to observe this star in July 2005. Since 2013, our monitoring started to be more intense, and only after acquiring 157 observations was the signal of the planet strong enough to be detected.”
What we don’t know yet is whether Ross 128 b has an atmosphere – that is something that is best determined by the transit method. But the Extremely Large Telescope, currently under construction and due to see first light in 2024, will be powerful enough to image the planet directly, and hopefully, detect the biomarkers that indicate life.
“We have some ideas about which biomarkers to search for. Of course, it is only based on what we know on Earth,” Astudillo-Defru explained.
Current propulsion and slingshot (partial orbit of a sphere to assist in propulsion) methods would make this a multi-generational trip (to cover 11 light years distance). I don’t expect any road trips real soon.
Fastest spaceship so far is only 36,000 mph. At that rate it would take 240,000 + years to go 11 light years. however, they may have much more advanced technology—-are we sure we want to let them know we’re here?
If “they” are that advanced they have been getting our Radio signals ever since Marconi fired up his equipment and know we are here.
If they were that advanced, we would have detected them by now.
Even if you could go the speed of light they are 11 of our years away.
If you believe that some magic expansion that randomly occurred 13+ billions of years ago, that randomly became Hydrogen with Gravity and all the other cute little particles, that randomly became stars, that randomly created the elements, that randomly created the earth, that then randomly combined to create complex lifeforms and ecosystems, then you believe life is everywhere out there.
Too we haven’t randomly figured out how to exceed a physical constant, the speed of light. So all this search for life in other solar systems is pretty much useless
from a practical point of view.
We are prisoners of time and distance.
How does this improve the cost of beer?
We already have ‘alien life’ right there in the US. Snowflakes, antifa, minority groups, muzzies, gangbangers, hollyweird, etc.
Well if we leave now we can be there to see the aliens in 110,000 years. Let’s send the muslim savages to be humanity’s representative.
this planet was just discovered. humans have probably already ruined its habitat.
If space travel is practical then someone has been watching us. Don’t expect an invitation to come visit any time soon!
You can’t get there from here! At least, not in these bodies.
Tell them we’ll meet them half way.
I wonder if they could use some snowflakes.
I really don’t believe anything science has to say. Humans are just not wise enough to figure anything out beyond serving themselves. Pie in the sky bologna feeding a voracious money pit.
“A mere 11 light-years away from our Solar System, a newly discovered exoplanet is the second-closest we’ve ever found that’s temperate enough to potentially host and sustain life. The Earth-sized exoplanet was just discovered and scientists are already searching for signs of life.”
They wont find any life there except by accident. ALL INTELLIGENT life avoids our mudball lest we infect them with our idiocy vanity stupidity and our viral presence. the acronym “NIMBY” (Not In My Back Yard) did not originate with humanity, but from a deep space radio signal SETI picked up. The intelligent life that sent it stayed clear of us and told us very plainly to stay on our slimy mudball or they will fix it so we will, permanently.
They made a movie about it in 1951…
The Day The Earth Stood Still 🙂
the article is interesting; but, I’m still waiting to learn if intelligent life has been discovered right here on earth. I’ve my doubts.
They’d have more success in finding alien life if they searched in California.
Being 2017, I was expecting endless CNN/MSM stories about how few women and homosexuals are astronomers and how we must not allow any more straight white men or Asians in the field. How we must invest [waste] $1,600 billion on inner city “space ports” so that black children can pretend an empty coke can is their spaceship, and expand the NFL schedule to play sixteen games in Baghdad so they can salute the American armed forces, all at the US taxpayer expense of course.