Sorry, Pluto—your place has been taken already. A new planet has been discovered, orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581. Don’t tune out just yet—this isn’t just another piece of space debris. It’s a planet with at least three times Earth’s mass that falls in the Goldilocks Zone, or the prime distance from its star to sustain liquid water.
It’s Perfectly Situated For The Adventurer…’s Imagination
The planet’s position in the star's Goldilocks Zone (not too close, not too far—get it?) and ability to sustain liquid water means that it also has the possibility of sustaining life. But, as scientists like to remind us, the fact that it could sustain life doesn’t mean that it does, or even that it’s habitable for the weaklings that are humans. Seeing as the planet about is 20 light years (200 trillion kilometers) from Earth, we probably won’t relocate any time soon.
I Want To Go To There!
Now, we can predict your next thought: “I want to visit! How much will it cost?” (Okay, that’s our next thought.) Space travel—and space property—is one of the costliest gifts out there. A trip to the International Space Station, which might as well be next door, goes for a cool $20 million. A quick jaunt to the Moon, which is more like the corner drugstore, will set you back five times that. So how much could it possibly cost to visit metaphorical New Zealand? No one has put forth a price, but it’s definitely beyond our budget. If we’re that enamored with the celestial, we might as well stick with naming a star, for $49.95 (plus shipping and handling).
Tell us in the comments: Big news or big snore?