Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Close, but no Earth 2

A team of European astronomers has discovered two exoplanets that inch us closer to finding Earth's twin around a distant star. Gliese 581 e and d are both about 20 1/2 light years away from here, but e is the smallest exoplanet discovered so far. It's only about 1.9 times the size of Earth, which means its surface could be similarly rocky. It would be a good candidate for life as we know it if only it wasn't so close to its sun. However, Gliese 581 d is in just the right orbital spot to support liquid water at the surface. It's probably too big to be rocky, but it could possibly exist as a sort of water world. [INSERT URINATION CONSUMPTION JOKE/DENNIS HOPPER INSULT/ADMIRING COMMENT CONCERNING JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN'S ASS] More details here.

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