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Is Newly Discovered Planet Gliese 12 b the Next Earth?

Gliese 12 b (University of Warwick)

Gliese 12 b

Gliese 12 b is a newly discovered planet located not that far from us that could sustain human life. This is according to new research from scientists at the University of Warwick in England.

The research was published in “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.” Gliese 12 b was discovered using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

Dr Thomas Wilson, astrophysicist at the University of Warwick, said, “This is certainly an exciting discovery and will help our research into Earth-like planets in the planets and stars orbiting the Sun.”

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“Planets like Gliese 12 b are very few and far away, so for us, to be able to study just one in depth to learn about its atmosphere and humidity is a rare occurrence,” he added.

NASA explains that Gliese 12 b is a super Earth exoplanet that orbits an M-type star. Its mass is 3.87 Earths, it takes 12.8 days to complete one orbit of its star, and is 0.0668 AU from its star. (AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun so this planet is closer to its star than the Earth is.) Its discovery was announced in 2024. It is located about 32 light-years away from us in the constellation Pisces.

Gliese 12 b is slightly larger than Earth, with a diameter of about 1.4 times that of Earth. The star it orbits, Gliese 12, is a red dwarf star, which is much cooler and fainter than our Sun. As a result, Gliese 12 b receives less radiation than Earth does from the Sun. However, it is still thought to be within the habitable zone of its star, where temperatures could allow liquid water to exist on the surface.

This makes Gliese 12 b a very interesting target for astronomers searching for extraterrestrial life. The fact that it is relatively close to Earth also makes it a good candidate for future study with powerful telescopes, such as the James Webb Space Telescope.

But can Gliese 12 b support human life?

Shishir Dholakia, a doctoral student at the Center for Astrophysics at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia who worked on the new research, explained, “Atmospheres trap heat and — depending on the type — can change the actual surface temperature substantially.”

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