A newly discovered planet sitting in a solar system just 39 light years away has been dubbed one of the best targets for finding alien life, scientists have said.
A team of scientists that discovered the exoplanet were quoted by the USA Today online news as saying that the planet LHS 1140b is believed to be a rocky “Super-Earth”.
According to the scientists, the exoplanet sits right in the middle of its solar system’s habitable zone – the orbital region where it is neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist.
An exoplanet or extra-solar planet is a planet that orbits a star other than the Sun.
Over 2,000 exoplanets have been discovered since 1988. Specifically, 2,098 planets in 1,342 planetary systems, including 509 multiple planetary systems existed as of March 24, 2016.
The scientists said: “The joint exercise revealed a small dim star circled by a small tubby planet, nearly seven times more massive than Earth and probably made in good part of rock.
“Such rocky world seems a better bet for hosting life than do the puffy gas planets orbiting other stars.
“The temperature is very mild and similar to what earth experiences today; that means the potential for liquid water on the planet’s surface.”
They said astronomers had found roughly 20 earth-sized planets that might support liquid water, adding that many are so far away that it would be a challenge to get to know them.
To date, more than 3,500 exoplanets have been discovered in over 2,600 planetary systems.