Meet Gliese 581G: Readers react to our friendly neighborhood habitable-zone planet
Planet-hunters have detected a rocky planet outside of our solar system with the conditions needed to support extraterrestrial life. Buckle up, fellow Earthlings -- it's only 20 light years away!
Meet Gliese 581G. And at just the right size and just the right distance from its sun, astronomers are calling it the first found "Goldilocks" planet of its kind. A Goldilocks planet is a place suitable for life -- not too hot and not too cold, just like the porridge in the Goldilocks fairy tale.
Readers, for their part, are calling the planet their new home:
From the story's reader comments:
- flagwaver asks, "Can I move there NOW?"
- bupdaddy says, "Wake up, Sheeple! What do we know about red dwarf stars' planets? It's the planet Krypton, and it's inhabited by a race of super people with science well beyond ours!"
- anda52kni quibbles with the scienctists, "How do scientists 'know' what is required for extraterrestrial life to exist??? Seemingly, they presume that their requirements for life replicate those of us here on earth. Hypothetically, what if there are 'visitors' to earth, perhaps the reason they do not 'land' is they cannot survive our planet."
And from our cheeky readers on Twitter:
@washingtonpost when do we leave?
And because this is a story about outer space, it's imperative for me to go ahead and pepper you with conspiracy theories: Is it a coincidence that this story unfolded just as rumors cropped up about a United Nations ambassador to extraterrestrials? Are UFOs really a threat to our national security? And should we start making plans to move after we do the courteous thing and welcome Gliese 581G to the interplanetary neighborhood? Time will tell. For now? Eyes to the skies, people.
| September 30, 2010; 1:34 PM ET
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