Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Planet, a Turning Point

We've found a planet orbiting the Sun's nearest neighbor, Alpha Centauri B. It's orbiting way too close to harbor life, but scientists are murmuring about the likelihood of a yet-undiscovered world located in the "habitable zone", at an orbit more akin to Earth's.

This is not huge astronomical news, given that we've already found some 842 extrasolar planets, and are finding more all the time. But this may represent a turning point for humanity. If a planet is found within that habitable zone, human imagination will turn toward Alpha Centauri B, previously thought of as nothing more than just another flaming gas ball. Now it's starting to look like the next destination.

Even at the dizzying speed of our Voyager spacecrafts, it's a 40,000 year journey. But now there's fresh impetus to develop some of the interesting proposed means for human-viable interstellar travel.

No comments:

Blog Archive