The most common type of star in the Milky Way is called a red dwarf--these are smaller, cooler, and longer-lived than our sun. There are 160 BILLION of them in our galaxy and 40% of them have Earth-like planets orbiting them at the right distance for liquid water to exist on their surfaces, a condition that is necessary for life.
And astronomers are discovering more perfect planets all the time. Will they soon discover one that harbors intelligent life? GJ1214b, which was discovered in 2009, is a "water world." Daily Galaxy quotes astrophysicist Zachory Berta as saying, "GJ1214b is like no planet we know of. A huge fraction of its mass is made up of water.
"The high temperatures and high pressures would form exotic materials like 'hot ice' or 'superfluid water'--substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience."
GJ1214b is just 40 light-years from Earth, meaning it's a good candidate for studying by powerful new telescopes on the ground.
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