Scientists have finally discovered an Earth-like planet that can host life. And how far is it from us? It's just 150 million light years away.
The planet named Super Earth K2-3d has everything to sustain alien life, say scientists. It has a warm climate similar to that of Earth, the right conditions for having liquid water and a bright star like the sun nearby. And the reason it's called Super Earth is because it is 1.5 times larger than our planet Earth. So what will show us whether there is alien life on Super-Earth K2-3d? The eclipse of the red dwarf star it orbits.
Dr Björn Benneke of the California Institute of Technology told the New Scientist: "If we found any signal, then we would hit this pair extremely hard with James Webb Space Telescope. There's no doubt about that." The James Webb Space Telescope is Nasa's successor to the Hubble telescope, which will be launched in 2018.
Nasa's Kepler space telescope first discovered the Super-Earth K2-3d. Hubble telescope will now study K2-3d, which lies outside our solar system. Its host star is a small red star known as 'EPIC 201367065' which it orbits every 45 days.
All about the Super-Earth K2-3d:
- It is 1.5 times as big as Earth
- It orbits a red star called 'EPIC 201367065'
- Nasa's Kepler space telescope found it
- It is about 150 million light years away from Earth
- It has similar warm weather and right conditions to host water like Earth
- It could be inhabited by aliens
The eclipse is set to take place next year and astronomers are gearing up for it. They will use large telescopes to see if the planet's atmosphere sustains life and look for molecules like oxygen and nitrogen.
Japan's Okayama Astrophysical Observatory has a team of scientists who have made it possible to examine the Super-Earth K2-3d in great detail. Any observations they will make will be when the Super Star is backlit during the eclipse.