A Newly Discovered ‘Super Earth’ May Provide Our Best Prospect Yet For Finding Life

In news that Democrats are sure to consider a fallback option in 2020, scientists have discovered a new “super-sized earth” that sits a mere 39 light years away from the planet we call home. Dubbed LHS 1140b, the newest find is thought to be roughly “6.6 times more massive” and about forty percent larger in size.

According to Nature, the most exciting part about the LHS 1140b find is that its atmospheric temperature is similar to that on Earth. This means that oxygen and water are more likely to be present, which would mean the presence of life is much more likely than with planets holding fiery temperatures and gas compositions. The Verge reports that scientists were able to conclude that LHS 1140b is primarily made up of a rocky substance by measuring how it tugged on its star.

Scientists are especially stoked that new telescopes they have been building could conceivably enable them to view the planet’s atmosphere. Further, data that has been compiled since the planet was first spotted in September of 2014 shows that this may be the most earth-like rock in our galaxy yet, USA Today reports:

“With this discovery we have a world similar to Earth in some aspects, and dissimilar in some others,” says Amaury Triaud of Britain’s University of Cambridge, who was not involved with the research. “This is quite thrilling.”

Last week, astronomers announced that they had discovered a water-world type of planet, called Gliese 1132b. Unlike their newest find, that planet has a very un-vacation-destination surface temperature of 370 degrees Celcius (almost 700 degrees Fahrenheit), with hot steam dominating the atmosphere.

(The Verge and USA Today)