New Solar System Sparks Hope for Other Life

Maybe we're not alone, say astronomers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2008 4:10 AM CST
New Solar System Sparks Hope for Other Life
An artist rendition released by the European Space Agency on Wednesday shows the main bodies of our solar system. "Here we have a system where the two largest planets are similar to the two largest in our own system," an astronomy professor said of a newly-discovered system 5,000 light years away. "This...   (Associated Press)

Excited astronomers say that the discovery of a solar system with strong similarities to our own raises the chances of other life out there. The system has two gas giants similar to Jupiter and Saturn orbiting at a similar distance from the alien sun 5,000 light years away, and rocky, Earth-like planets may exist in closer orbits, reseachers write in the journal Science.

Experts believe the existence of this system could mean there are many similar solar systems to our own out there, and the more Earth-like planets there are, the likelier extra-terrestrial life is, the Daily Telegraph reports. "Once we know that planets similar to Earth are common, it is straightforward to investigate whether these harbor any forms of life," a professor said. (Read more space stories.)

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