The European Southern Observatory recently announced that they have discovered three “Super-Earth” exoplanets orbiting the star Gliese 667C. These planets are several times bigger than Earth and closer to their star but the star that they orbit isn’t as hot as our sun, which allows for liquid water to exist on its surface. These planets right now represent the best possible hope for humans to colonize another planet outside of our solar system due to their solid crust and them being in their star’s “Goldilocks zone”. We can’t tell whether or not the planets have large amounts of liquid water or if they have an atmosphere we can breathe from here but they have that potential. Though in in cosmic terms these planets are close to our sun, at 22 light-years away don’t expect us to be sending any people over for a closer look soon. A spacecraft traveling at the speed that Voyager 1 is moving would take about 382,000 years to reach these planets and Voyager 1 is the fastest moving spacecraft ever made by humans.
Still the best long term hope for the continued survival of humanity is to colonize outer space. No matter what we humans do, the continued warming of the sun will make the Earth too hot to support life in about a billion years and the only way for humans to survive that fate is to colonize other planets in outer space. We just made one of the first steps towards that reality by finding three potential planets that our descendants can eventually colonize and that is incredibly exciting.
They’re orbiting that big star in the middle
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