Deep-space researchers have located a world which they say has the potential to harbor alien life.
Named LHS1140b, the exoplanet is in the Cetus constellation, 40 light-years away from Earth. It has its own sun in the form of a red dwarf (LHS1140), which the planet circles once every 25 days. Researchers calculate the planet’s age at around 5bn years, and believe that its mass and density and much larger than Earth’s, suggesting a rocky composition with a super-dense iron core.
The most striking feature is that LHS1140b’s orbit places it right in the middle of the planetary system. In other words, the world would receive just the right amount of heat and light to sustain life, just like Earth.
LHS1140b is the latest in a series of newly discovered worlds that could possibly host alien life. In summer 2016, scientists spotted Proxima b, a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the star that is closest to Earth (4.2 light years away). Proxima b also lies in that optimal zone where it would be neither too hot nor too cold for life to exist.
In the future, researchers hope to avail of better equipment to analyze these planets’ atmosphere and surface to determine whether or not life as we know is possible.