Our planet is in trouble. Global warming is a serious issue. The polar caps are melting, the ocean levels are rising, and things are getting worse. Not to mention the fact that the Amazon rainforest is burning, and our planet depends on the rainforest for oxygen. This has plenty of people worried, considering this is our home. A recent discovery could mean that the future of mankind has hope. Recently NASA discovers potentially habitable super-Earth located in nearby solar system.
31 Light-Years Away
The planet that has been discovered is about 31 light-years away. To help you understand the distance a bit better, one light-year is equal to six trillion miles. That means that the new planet is about 186 trillion miles away. That is really, really far.
Since no human on Earth has ever been that far from our home planet, it wasn’t discovered by a human. NASA used its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to see what was on the planet. NASA is calling the planet a super-Earth or exoplanet GJ 357 d, and they believe that it can harbor life. TESS may be a small satellite, but it is very strong, and it has enormous reach. According to Lisa Kaltenegger, an associate professor of astronomy and a director of Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute, the discovery is fantastic. She knows what she is talking about because she is also a member of the TESS science team. Knowing that the planet is there, Lisa wants to know more about it.
What Do We Know About the Planet?
So far, we know that the exoplanet GJ 357 d receives the same energy from the system’s star, GJ 357, the same way that Mars gets it energy from the sun. The condition of the planet’s atmosphere is still unknown; however, further studies have been planned. Astronomers believe that if the atmosphere is dense, that liquid water could possibly form on the surface.
According to Jack Madden, a doctoral candidate at Cornell, early versions of this model have built to determine what it could be like. Merely knowing that liquid water could possibly exist on the surface of the planet has scientists excited about finding ways to detect signs of life. Could there be living things on this newly discovered planet?
If the planet has no atmosphere, it is assumed that it has an equilibrium temperature of -64 degrees Fahrenheit, and it would weigh at least 6.1 times the Earth’s mass. It is also believed that the planet orbits GJ 357 every 55.7 days. If there are signs of life on the planet, it would answer the question that has been on everyone’s mind for thousands of years. We may not be alone in the cosmos.
What NASA would love to know is whether or not this planet would be habitable. Is it possible for the people of Earth to live on this new planet? Would we be able to begin a civilization there? Unfortunately, NASA doesn’t think that TESS is powerful enough to give us the information that we would need.
With the technology we have today, it would be impossible to get to the new planet. It would take about 20,000 years. Since the average human lives to be between 65 and 85 years old, it would be impossible for a human to get to the new planet.
The only way that we could ever hope to get to the new planet is if modern technology was built, that could travel hundreds of times faster than the spaceships that NASA currently uses. It could be hundreds of years, if at all before we have this kind of technology.
Save Our Planet
Since this is one of the first planets that we believe could sustain life, but we can’t get there, we need to protect Earth now. It is up to everyone who lives on this planet to do everything that we can to protect the planet from any further damage. Many countries are already working together to stop the loss to the Earth and slow global warming. Unfortunately, not everyone is convinced that global warming is a real thing. There is new data every day to prove that global warming is real and that it is destroying our planet. Since we may never have a chance to reach GJ 357 d, we should protect our home. Just because we can’t get there, it doesn’t mean that astronomers and NASA are going to stop trying to learn what they can about this planet. If there is a chance that we can finally answer the question about being alone in the universe, NASA will figure it out.