Astronomers Discover Two Planets That Could Be Capable Of Human Colonization
Physicist Stephen Hawking claims humans must leave Earth within 100 years or perish. But there’s good news, we may have a couple places to go.
Astronomers at the University of Hertfordshire in England discovered two planets that could be habitable and potentially capable of human colonization.
They are two of four Earth-sized planets orbiting tau Ceti, a sun-like star about 12 light years away from our own sun. Such stars are believed to be the best indicators of Earth-sized planets. The tau Ceti shares a similar size and brightness to the sun and both host multi-planet systems.
“If the outer two planets around tau Ceti are found to be rocky and habitable, through methods such as direct imaging, then the star could be an optimal target for interstellar colonization, as alluded to in science fiction,” the university said.
But don’t pack your bags just yet, there is a massive debris disc surrounding the star which could make the planets open to “intensive bombardment by asteroids and comets,” the university said.
The research, now available online in the Astronomical Journal, also presents a milestone in the search for Earth-like planets. By picking up on minor “wobbles” in the tau Ceti’s movement, researchers found the planets.
‘We’re getting tantalizingly close to observing the correct limits required for detecting Earth-like planets,” said Fabo Feng, the study’s lead researcher and a research fellow at Hertfordshire. “Our detection of such weak wobbles is a milestone in the search for Earth analogs and the understanding of the Earth’s habitability through comparison with these.”