Greg Tito | 17 May 2011
French scientists believe that a planet orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581 could sustain life similar to Earth.
Twenty light years away is a small red star. Orbiting this sun are six planets that range in size from slightly smaller than Earth to about the size of Neptune. Several of these planets fall within the star’s “Goldilocks” zone, neither too hot from proximity to the star nor too cold from being too far. If a planet is too hot, all water would be steam but if its too cold then it would be ice, neither of which can support life. Luckily, a group of astronomers from the National Centre for Scientific Research in France believe that the fourth planet – unimaginatively labeled Gliese 581d – is just right.