New Planet Discovered Perfect for Life
Scientists at the University of California, led by Professor Steven Vogt, have discovered a planet in the ‘goldilocks’ zone, that is, at the precise right distance from its closest star to support water in liquid form and thus life, mimicking conditions right here on earth.
The planet, dubbed Gliese 581g, after its red dwarf star Gliese 581, differs from Earth in many ways. At 3 times the mass of Earth, it also orbits its own star in just under 37 days. It is also tidally locked to its star, meaning, the same side of the planet is always facing the sun. This leaves one side in perpetual sunlight and the other in perpetual darkness, akin to the Earth’s moon. Life would thrive on the line between shadow and light, where the most comfortable temperatures would be found.
Outside of that zone, temperatures range from blazing hot on the exposed side, to freezing cold on the dark side of Gliese 581g.
Not a problem, says Professor Vogt, “Any emerging life forms would have a wide range of stable climates to choose from and to evolve around, depending on their longitude,”
At a mere twenty light years away, the newly discovered planet is right in our intergalactic backyard. Controversy struck when NBC anchor Brian Williams signed off last night saying “It’s just nice to know that if we screw this place up badly enough there is some place we can all go.” The statement caught the attention of David McConville, science educator at Elumenati.
McConville was concerned Brian’s statement might encourage people to be casual with conservation and environmental stewardship here on earth. So he released this acid-induced rebuttal featuring a deranged pig character in a Suess-like utopia, reminding us once again that some scientists are often operating on a completely different level than the rest of us.
A group of Swiss astronomers announced yesterday that they couldn’t actually find the planet themselves. Professor Vogt at University of California explains, “”It’s really hard to detect a planet like this,” Vogt said. “Every time we measure the radial velocity, that’s an evening on the telescope, and it took more than 200 observations with a precision of about 1.6 meters per second to detect this planet.”