The newly discovered planet resembles Earth in terms of size and proportions

The newly discovered planet resembles Earth in terms of size and proportions

The discovery of Gliese 12b gives new hope for the possibility of finding temperate planets on which life can exist, near Earth.

Gliese 12b differs from many other discovered exoplanets in that it is a rocky planet that humans might be able to live on. It is relatively close to Earth, as it is only 40 light-years away from us, making it one of the closest habitable planets.

Although current technology requires about 225,000 years to travel to the planet, its proximity gives scientists a unique opportunity to study it in more detail.

Excited astronomer

Astronomer Haakon Daly points out that even if we are not facing a trip to Gliese 12b any time soon, the discovery is very exciting.

“Obviously it wouldn't be impossible to go there right away, but it's interesting to find a planet so close to us. Astronomically speaking, it's in the middle of the neighborhood,” he says.

The planet orbits a small red dwarf star about 27 percent the size of our Sun.

Gliese 12b is far from its star where liquid water could exist, which is crucial to the possibility of life. But scientists do not yet know whether the planet contains liquid water or an atmosphere.

Without an atmosphere, its surface temperature is estimated at about 42 degrees Celsius, making it hotter than Earth but colder than Venus.

The size of Gliese 12b corresponds to the temperature between Earth and Venus, which is also an important factor.

Small planets often do not have enough gravity to maintain an atmosphere, while larger planets can have a huge atmosphere and a strong greenhouse effect.

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According to graduate student Larissa Palethorpe, who contributed to the study, Gliese 12b could help us understand why Earth remains habitable while Venus is not.

Researchers now plan to use NASA's James Webb Telescope to study molecules in the planet's atmosphere, if it has one. This would involve capturing bright starlight through the atmosphere and could provide further insight into the planet's potential to support life.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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