Scientists discover new planet that could support human life


Published: 2024-05-24 09:56

Last Updated: 2024-07-13 05:54

Gliese 12b’s size compared to earth. (Photo: University of Warwick)
Gliese 12b’s size compared to earth. (Photo: University of Warwick)

Scientists in the United Kingdom have announced the discovery of a new planet that may be able to support human life; the study found that the planet “Gliese 12b” is “the nearest, transiting temperate, Earth-sized planet found to date.”

Estimates suggest that the temperature on Gliese 12b is around 42 degrees Celsius, according to researcher Larisa Ballithorp from the University of Edinburgh. While this temperature may not be entirely suitable for humans, the presence of liquid water on the planet's surface seems possible under these conditions.

A team of scientists, led by Ballithorp, used NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) satellite to examine exoplanets, a process that took them less than a year to pinpoint the location and characteristics of the planet.

According to Ballithorp, Earth-sized planets are rare, and learning more about them could open the door to a deeper understanding of planets in space. Interestingly, the planet Gliese 12b offers an opportunity to study its atmosphere, which could provide valuable insights.

Gliese 12b is 40 light years away, but it would take earth’s fastest spaceship around 300,000 years to reach it, according to Palethorpe.

The next step for scientists is to study the planet's atmosphere to determine if it is similar to Earth's. According to Ballithorp, the planet must have a thin atmosphere to be suitable for life, as planets with thick atmospheres can be extremely hot.

A year on Gliese 12b is 12.8 days on Earth because the planet orbits its star so closely, it is similar in size to Venus and located in the constellation Pisces.