Exoplanets News

Mashable: Quit promoting just any new planet as Earth-like

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From science writer Miriam Kramer at Mashable:

Yes, it’s amazing that this possibly rocky planet is orbiting a star just 4 light-years away, possibly close enough to one day launch a mission to, but there is still so much we don’t know about this brave new world.

Plus, Proxima b is far from being a twin of our planet.

Scientists aren’t sure what kind of atmosphere it has or even if it’s able to support a magnetic field, two things that it would need to sustain habitability in orbit around its active, flaring star.

We simply don’t know if it can support water, life or much of anything on its surface at all.

Beyond the inaccuracy in this particular case, calling a planet “Earth-like” without knowing if it actually is, threatens to give members of the public a false sense of just how unique (or average) our Earth is.More.

In other words, hold off on the “land rush” before you give the industry a bad name.

Three thousand exoplanets have been found but Earth is a sample of one. It’s hard to drw statistical conclusions from a sample of one.

See also: Physicist Rob Sheldon on the new Earth-like planet Avoid joining the land rush just now.

and

“Behold, countless Earths sail the galaxies … that is, if you would only believe …

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