Super Earth DISCOVERED – Closest Ever Planet Which Could House Intelligent Life FOUND

A SUPER-EARTH with the credentials to support alien life forms has been discovered just outside our solar system.

Hot on the heels of Earth 2 – another planet discovered this summer which has the potential to harbour life – Wolf 1061c is the closest planet outside our solar system which could hold alien life.

By Nerti U. Qatja | @nertiqatja | @VOP_Today

Dubbed Earth 3, it is more than four times the mass of Earth. The large planet is still small enough to be rocky with a solid surface, but a year there lasts just 18 days.

It also orbits the Red Dwarf sun within the “Goldilocks zone” meaning its temperature would be just right to hold liquid water so life could potentially develop within its oceans if it has any.

In July NASA held a historic press conference revealing it had founder a “second Earth” using the Kepler telescope.

NASA graphic showing notable exoplanets found by Kepler

Kepler 452b was thought to be rocky and in the Goldilocks zone, but was 1,400 light years away – 100 times further than Wolf 1061c is.Wolf 1061c is just 14 light years away in the in the constellation of Ophiucus, orbiting the sun called Wolf 1061.It is one of three planets orbiting the star found by Australian astronomers.

Lead study author Dr Duncan Wright of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), said: “It is a particularly exciting find because all three planets (b, c and d) are of low enough mass to be potentially rocky and have a solid surface.

“The middle planet, Wolf 1061c, sits within the ‘Goldilocks’ zone where it might be possible for liquid water – and maybe even life – to exist.

“It is fascinating to look out at the vastness of space and think a star so very close to us – a near neighbour – could host a habitable planet.”

There have been a number of other planets found orbiting stars that are closer to us than Wolf 1061c, but they were not rocky and in the Goldilocks zone, meaning the chances of any life were remote at best.

But there are differences to our solar system as Wolf 1061 is a smaller and cooler star than our sun.

The orbits for the planets are also much shorter with b, c and d going around the star in 4.9 days, 17.9 days and 67.2 days respectively.

Their masses are at least 1.4, 4.3 and 5.2 times that of Earth, respectively.

Kepler-10 system, home to two rocky planets. In the foreground is Kepler-10c, a planet that weighs 17 times as much as Earth

The biggest outer planet (d) is just outside the habitable zone, but is also likely to be rocky, while the closest (b) is too near he star and would be too hot for life as we know it.Dr Rob Wittenmyer, co-author of the report, said: “The close proximity of the planets around Wolf 1061 means there is a good chance these planets may pass across the face of the star.”If they do, then it may be possible to study the atmospheres of these planets in future to see whether they would be conducive to life.”