Finding life on another planet shouldn’t be something too difficult if we take a brief look at the multitude of galaxies existing out there. Furthermore, each of those galaxies should have hundreds of billions of stars, which means an even stunning number of exoplanets.
Although our current technology is far from allowing us to travel to other solar systems, astronomers still have the possibility to assess the composition and conditions of other planets remotely. Therefore, scientists have found another planetary system where we could see some green counterfeits of us.
The star Lacaille 9352 (aka GJ 887) enters the scene
The newfound GJ 887 star is located only about 11 light-years away from us, and it hosts two exoplanets that could be rocky just as Earth. Although this distance is like a blink of an eye for the Cosmos, it’s way more than astronauts could travel during a human lifetime.
Sandra Jeffers, who is an astrophysicist at the University of Göttingen in Germany, confirms the obvious:
These planets will provide the best possibilities for more detailed studies, including the search for life outside our Solar System,
There is also a clue for a third terrestrial exoplanet that orbits the GJ 887 star at a greater distance. And this means the planet could be temperate, meaning neither too hot nor too cold for not allowing liquid water to exist on its surface.
The GJ 887 star is about half the mass of the Sun, and it qualifies for a red dwarf star. Red dwarfs are the most common stars in our Milky Way galaxy. However, GJ 887 is a special kind of red dwarf star: the cosmic object has very low starspot activity, and the brightness is uniform.
Astronomers had been studying the star for three months using the European Southern Observatory’s High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher instrument from the La Silla 3.6 metre telescope in Chile.
The study was published in Science