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Newly Discovered Planet May be Suitable for Life

A couple of months ago, astronomers announced that they had discovered a new planet that might be capable of sustaining life. They got the star right?a brown dwarf called Gliese581?but they picked the wrong planet. Gliese 581c is too hot to support water or life, but its neighbor, Gliese 581d, might be perfect for both.

In Space.com, Ker Than quotes astronomer Manfred Cuntz as saying, "This planet is actually outside the habitable zone. It appears at first sight too cold. However, based on the greenhouse effect, physical processes can occur which are heating up the planet to a temperature that allows for fluid water." In other words, if this newly-discovered planet ALSO goes through global warming, life may arise there.

According to a British astronomer, intelligent life definitely exists on other planets. In the Guardian, Ian Sample writes about a recent report to the British government by astronomers that assure us that "the first evidence of primitive alien life, such as microbes and vegetation, will emerge within 10 years, with more substantial finds following future space missions." He quotes astrophysicist Michael Perryman as saying, "If there's intelligent life out there, they sure as hell know we're here."

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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