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Gliese 581c is too far away, say scientists
With the discovery of Gliese 581c, an Earth like planet in another solar system there is celebration in the astronomical society across the globe. But scientists say making any kind of contact with the new planet is a remote possibility.
A NEW PLANET with features similar to that of the Earth has finally been discovered. A result of man’s long wait to find a sibling for planet Earth.
The Earth-like planet Gliese 581c is 20.5 light years away and located around a star known as the Gliese 581.
The discovery of the new planet has created a lot of excitement among the scientists because of its features similar to our Earth.
The average temperature of the planet has been found to be somewhere between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius. It has therefore also given rise to speculations among the common people that there might be a possibility of finding a conducive habitat in Gliese 581c.
But scientists on the other hand rule out the entire possibility. At the existing rocket science technology level there is no way to reach the planet, they say. The only way to maintain some kind of communication with the planet is through radiation technology and that too if there exists some life form which has superior intelligence compared to human beings.
“See the planet is in another solar system and it is 20.5 light years away from us which means that, to travel to that planet it will take more than 200 years. So making any kind of contacts with the inhabitants (if they happen to exist and are of similar kind of intelligence) is not actually possible. The only way is to use some kind of radiation technology, which is yet to be developed. And this does not seem to be possible in the near future,” says Professor U R Rao, former chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation.
According to Dr. D C V Mallik, Senior Scientist, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, if one has to really progress and discover means to reach Gliese 581c, the present scenario in this very planet of our has to be looked into so that the inhabitants of the planet are alive to do research on the subject.
“What is the need of the hour is that various issues be addressed immediately. We have to see that Nuclear disarmament takes place, we find a solution to global warming; find means to reduce waste of energy etc. If all these burning issues are tackled for the very life form to exist on this earth then only we can think of such far-sighted things as stellar migration,” said Dr Mallik.
The yet unnamed planet is only about one-and-a-half times the size of earth and five times heavier than our earth, according to the team of European astronomers.
Its discoverers are not yet clear if it has a rocky surface like the Earth or if it’s a frozen ice ball with liquid water on the surface.
To make the discovery possible, researchers had to use a very sensitive instrument called HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity for Planetary Searcher) that can measure tiny changes in the velocity of a star as it experiences the gravitational tug of a nearby planet.
Scientists also say that the star Gliese 581 or the sun for Gliese 581c is a red dwarf star, which is much cooler than our sun and is on the verge of death, this makes the possibility of the existence of the planet for quite a long time impossible.
It can be concluded that, as each such discovery takes us a step closer to understanding the development of our own solar system, it also increases manifold the possibility of finding other Earth-like planets. The goal is to ultimately find potentially habitable planets and probe them for signs of life.
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