“Super-Earth” Alien Planet 42 Light-Years Away From Earth May Be Habitable To Support Human Life

Nov 08, 2012 12:28 AM EST | Matt Mercuro

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A runner makes his way along a trail in front of the "super Moon" in Phoenix, Arizona.
(Photo : Reuters)

Astronomers have discovered what they believe to be an alien planet that just might be capable of supporting human life. Sounds like a sci-fi movie right?

The new found "Super-Earth" planet has been called 40307g and is located just 42 light-years away from our planet Earth. A team led by Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire is also claiming that the planet is in the proper location where water may actually already exist according to The International Business Times.   

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"The longer orbit of the new planet means that its climate and atmosphere may be just right to support life," said Hugh Jones, the author of the study from the University of Hertfordshire in England in a press statement. "Just as Goldilocks liked her porridge to be neither too hot nor too cold but just right, this planet or indeed any moons that it has lie in an orbit comparable to Earth, increasing the probability of it being habitable."

The fact that it is only 42-light years away means that telescopes will eventually be able to locate the planet where scientists of the future will be able to fully examine the planet. NASA has yet to reveal when a telescope will be developed with capabilities of seeing that far into space.

"Super-Earth" is one of three planets that astronomers discovered recently and was first found by the European Southern Observatory using an 11.8 telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile according to Space.com. The telescope was able to pick up the tiny orbiting planet, but they currently can't maximize the view of the telescope any larger. They're hoping that sometime in the future scientists will have the capability to examine the planet in more depth.

The 40307g planet may be a rocky planet like earth according to Tuomi. He's stated to Space.com according to Yahoo that knowing the limited amount that we know right now, it's about a "50-50" chance that the planet is rocky and contains water.

The current generation may never know if the planet is safe for human's to live on, as most experts predict it could take decades before they're able to determine anything. That is unless more of an urgency is placed on space study by the government.

"Discoveries like this are really exciting, and such systems will be natural targets for the next generation of large telescopes, both on the ground and in space," David Pinfield of the University of Hertfordshire, who was not involved in the new study, said in a statement.

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