A new planet has been discovered. What’s new about that? There have been about 2 or 3 hundred discovered so far outside our solar system. This is the first one that is possibly Earthlike. What do we know about it so far? Not much, except that it is small enough to have a rocky core, and it is about the same relative distance from it’s Sun to be in what is called the “habitable zone”. (Technically, it’s slightly bigger than us, its Sun is smaller, and the distance between them is close enough that the planet will always face its Sun much like our moon, but mathematically it all works out about the same).
So what are the possibilities? It’s possible that there is water. It’s possible that the side that always faces the Sun will be baked, and the other side will be frozen. Also possible that the zone between light and dark will be temperate. Also possibly an atmosphere with winds could moderate temperatures around the globe, and all this leads to the biggest possibility of them all –LIFE!
If life is there, what are the possibilities? If it is plant life, it is possible it won’t be green like ours. The solar radiation from the red dwarf star will be different so that plant life could evolve to be black or blue to take maximum advantage of the Sun’s rays… If the life on that planet is mobile, it could have evolved much like ours (since our life is the only kind we know, maybe theirs will be like ours). Life on our planet is very interesting. Almost everything that’s mobile eats or kills other living and mobile things. And worse than that, the most evolved life (us) kills each other on a huge scale periodically, and we eat almost everything alive on the planet thats edible. Now, if alien life is like us, and they are possibly more advanced than us, seems to me we could be in big trouble.
Luckily, although this new planet is in our neighborhood (20 light years away) it will still take Nasa’s fastest rocket about 350,000 years to get there. It would also need a gas tank as big as the Sun. Let’s hope it takes as long for them to get here.