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Gliese 581d Is So Hot Right Now. (Plus The Best Messages From Earth)

By 05.19.11

Last time we wrote about the possibly-habitable exoplanets orbiting red dwarf star Gliese 581 was back when we were possibly lie in the habitable zone.  581c lies in a questionably-habitable spot, while Gliese 581d is smack dab in the Goldilocks zone.  This means the planet, which is 20 light years away, could hold liquid water and sustain life.  That doesn’t mean there’s definitely water there, but it’s a start.  Using computer modelling, Robin Wordsworth and her colleagues at the Institute Pierre Simon Laplace were able to determine the planet could stay warm enough to host liquid water if there is enough carbon dioxide in its atmosphere to create a greenhouse effect, trapping heat overnight.

Two years ago, when it was first hypothesized that Gliese might have a habitable exoplanet orbiting it, a science magazine in Australia (COSMOS) asked readers to send in messages for the theoretical inhabitants of one of these exoplanets.  GOOD compiled several of these messages, and here are some of our favorites:


Richard, Australia: “Please understand any messages from politicians (our leaders) do not represent the rest of us. This is an Earth tradition.”

Dr. Okowon Falafalokoronko, Nigeria: “Sir. Let’s make a deal together. I have inheritance of $25m which I need help to release.Please send your interplanetary BSB a/c details. Thankyouplease.”

Hubert Xiao, Australia: “Well, this is what we know.[Please don't laugh if we're wrong]- E=MC^2 F=ma W=Fd F=G[(m1m2)/R^2] Speed of light = 2.99792458*10^8 m/s Hope it helps!”

Admiral Ackbar, Yemen: “IT’S A TRAP!”

Tamasin, Australia: “If you come to Earth look into: music, the beach, ice cream, hugs, family, love, dancing, cheese, trampolines, friendship, books and dreams. Just for a start.”

Petr Flešar, Czech Republic: “Long live Dave Grohl. Long live Foo Fighters. Long live Czech beer. Let’s rock!”

Erik K. Veland, Australia: “Apologies in advance for most of these messages. They are an example of our primitive humour.”

Several more COSMOS reader submissions available at GOOD.  Pictures via EgoTV, who have more artist renderings of the Gliese system.


TAGSCOSMOSEXOPLANETFRANCEGLIESE 581GLIESE 581DGLIESE 581GROBIN WORDSWORTHSpace

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