Astronomers have found the most Earth-like planet they’ve ever seen outside our solar system. It should even have water running on its surface.

The planet orbits a star which is 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra. BBC News quotes astronomer Stephane Udry as saying, “We have estimated that the mean temperature of this ‘super-Earth’ lies between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid. Moreover, its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth’s radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky?like our Earth?or covered with oceans.”

Astronomer Xavier Delfosse adds, “Liquid water is critical to life as we know it.” He thinks this planet may become a target for future space explorations.

Astronomer Alison Boyle says, “Of all the planets we’ve found around other stars, this is the one that looks as though it might have the right ingredients for life. It’s 20 light-years away and so we won’t be going there anytime soon, but with new kinds of propulsion technology that could change in the future. And obviously we’ll be training some powerful telescopes on it to see what we can see. ‘Is there life anywhere else?’ is a fundamental question we all ask.”

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