Barely a month goes by without news of new planets being discovered around distant stars. In the few months planets orbiting stars much closer to home have been discovered – our next door neighbours in galactic terms while multi-star systems, with planets, have also been discovered. As yet though we have not discovered a planet which closely resembles our own Earth.
That’s not to say we haven’t found planets orbiting inside their star’s “habitable zone”, or the goldilocks zone as it is also known, but so far these planets have been quite unlike our own. It is only a matter of time though before we discover a planet that closely resembles Earth and some scientists think it will happen in 2013.
In an article posted on Mashable several leading astronomers state their belief that we are getting closer and closer to discovering an Earth type planet which is capable of supporting life as we know it. With exo-planets being discovered all the time their stance isn’t necessarily unrealistic but could be described as overly optimistic.
“I’m very positive that the first Earth twin will be discovered next year.” – Abel Mendrez of the Planetary Habitability Lab at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo
Technology has vastly improved since the first confirmed exo-planet was announced in 1995 and since then nearly 1000 new worlds have been discovered! The NASA Kepler Space Telescope is one such resource being used to discover new worlds; it has spotted several in the habitable zones of stars.
Science fiction is, of course, littered with ‘Earth’ type worlds; Kobol or Caprica for example from Battlestar Galactica or Bajor from Star Trek: Deep Space 9 or numerous worlds from Doctor Who. In reality though at the moment it would seem that ‘Earth’ type worlds are a little more rare than science fiction would have us believe.
But who knows maybe in 2013 we will discover one orbiting a nearby or distant star….