Most Earth-like planet fit for habitation, but neighbour might be

London, November 4 : Researchers have found that the most Earth-like planet discovered so far, Gliese 581, is not quite in the right place to be habitable.

They have, however, suggested that the bigger Gliese 581d in its neighbour may be habitable.

Ever since the planet’s discovery in April, scientists have been busy using atmospheric and geological models to work out with more accuracy the size and location of the habitable zone around the red dwarf star Gliese 581.

Franck Selsis at the Astrophysics Research Centre at the University of Lyon and his colleagues modelled what the atmosphere of an Earth-style planet would be like at different distances from the star.

The researchers have found that the planet Gliese 581c is too hot to support life.

“Gliese 581c is probably hotter than Venus. We would never say Venus is a second Earth,” Nature magazine quoted Selsis as saying.

He, however, said that Gliese 581d might just make it into the right region from the star.

In another work, Werner von Bloh at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and his colleagues modelled the geology of these planets to assess how that would generate different atmospheres in different locations.

The model assumes that both Gliese 581c and Gliese 581d have the same geological composition as Earth, and have a carbon cycle.

Bloh’s analysis also shows that Gliese 581c is too close to its star to be habitable, but Gliese 581d might be able to support some primitive forms of life.

Selsis and Bloh’s studies will be published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. (ANI)