Sunday 18 February 2018

Out of this world – two planets that may harbour ETs

John von Radowitz

A STAR system containing two potentially habitable Earth-like planets is being targeted by scientists searching for extra-terrestrial intelligence.

In the coming months, astronomers will turn an array of radio telescope dishes towards Kepler-62, about 1,000 light years away in the constellation Lyra (seen in the artist's impression above).

A pair of so-called "super-Earths" have been detected within the "habitable zone", the orbital region where temperatures are just warm enough to allow bodies of surface water. One of the planets, Kepler-62f, is thought to have a radius about 1.4 times greater than the Earth's. The other, Kepler-62e, is estimated to be 1.6 times larger.

The planets' parent star is around two billion years older than the Sun, raising the possibility of intelligent life more advanced than it is on Earth.

Dr Gerry Harp, director of the Centre for Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence said: "We expect to complete a meaningful survey of these stars in less than one year. Be sure to check back soon."

Irish Independent

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