Brian Shrader's Siteseeing Blog

New Earth-like Planet?

Posted April 25, 2007 8:18 a.m. EDT

Astronomers are excited over the discovery of what could be an Earth-like planet, capable of supporting life. 

It orbits a star that's bigger and redder than our Sun, but it may have the right temperature to allow liquid water on its surface, says The Daily Mail of London.

Now, this planet is 120,000,000,000,000 miles away.  That's a long, long way.  As a natural cynic, I'm filing all of this talk about conditions on the planet's surface under "Speculation," which is a thick and largely worthless file. 

So, I need proof.  Send a probe out there to get to the bottom of it.  I did some calculation this morning.  The fastest spacecraft to date is the New Horizons unmanned probe, on its way to Pluto.  It travels around 36,000 mph.  According to my calculations, that would put it near this new planet in about 380,000 years. Check my math.  120,000,000,000,000/36,000.... and there are 8,760 hours in a year (discounting leap years). 

I'll wait.

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WRAL's Brian Shrader blogs about cool video clips and other interesting Web sites. If you have any video you would like to share, please let us know.