The temperature could be just right for liquid water. And where there’s liquid water, there could be life.
An international team of astronomers from Switzerland, France and Portugal have discovered the most Earth-like planet outside our Solar System to date.
The planet has a radius only 50 percent larger than Earth and is very likely to contain liquid water on its surface. […]
“We have estimated that the mean temperature of this super-Earth lies between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid,” said Stiphane Udry from the Geneva Observatory, Switzerland and lead-author of the paper in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
“Moreover, its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth’s radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky – like our Earth – or covered with oceans,” he said.
“Liquid water is critical to life as we know it and because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extra-terrestrial life. On the treasure map of the Universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X,” added Xavier Delfosse, a member of the team from Grenoble University, France.