Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Earthlike Planet ; Astronomers Have Discovered A Planet that Could Have Water 116 Million Miles from Earth!!!!

Science News For Kids

This drawing shows the new found planet, which orbits the red dwarf star Gilese 581. On the planets surface, water would probably be liquid. European Southern Observatory.
Does this raise the possibility of extra-terrestrial life? Astronomers led by Stephane Udry of the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland believe that this extrasolar planet has all of the characteristics it would need to sustain life. They believe that, like earth, this small planet has a solid surface and is neither too hot, nor too cold, for water to exist as a liquid. Using a spectrograph the "wobble" of Gilese was recorded and through the pattern of changes in its light. They also found that it is five times as heavy as Earth and orbits its' star every thirteen days. This group of astronomers believe that this planet has a temperature that is probably about the same as those on planet Earth.

Students could create a model for a lander to travel to this new planet and investigate the properties to determine the sustainability of life there. They could work in teams to compare and contrast this planet to the planet Earth.

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