How did I miss this?
Articles about Gliese 581c are dated mid to late April of this year. Still for some reason I’ve only learned about it today.
A habitable planet in a Goldilocks orbit around a red dwarf, 20 light-years away. Practically down the block, astronomically speaking.
The orbit is 13 days, and the planet is 50% bigger than earth, and the estimated mean temperature is between 0 and 40 C. It orbits a red dwarf. I don’t know how fast it’s spinning, or on what axis.
There could be water oceans, but even so the likelihood of there being an entire PLANET of potential space, with a surface area more than twice that of earth, boggles the imagination.
Twenty light-years. Let’s assume we can build something that can go 100 times faster than Voyager 1, or 1/6th light year per year. A small craft could be in orbit in 120 years. Assuming there’s a way to send a message that’ll get back to earth, we could be looking at pictures of it taken by a robotic explorer ship there within 140 years.
Of course, I suppose we should get the hang of managing our own planet before we go traipsing off to colonize a new one. But it’s sort of nice to know there may be a Long Shot species survival scenario open to us, if we really make a mess of things on Earth.