An international team of astronomers has discovered an exoplanet in the star Gliese 932’s “habitable zone” that might be able to support life. The planet is known as Gliese 832c and is 16 light-years away from Earth.
A “super-Earth” at least five times as large as the planet earth, it orbits around its host star every 36 days. The host star is a red dwarf that is much dimmer and cooler than the sun so Gliese 832c receives as much stellar energy as the Earth, despite being closer to its parent.
Director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo says that Gliese 832c is one of the three most Earth-like exoplanets yet discovered.
The exoplanet was discovered by a team from the University of New South Wales in Australia, led by Robert Wittenmyer, after they noticed the tiny wobbles that the planet’s gravity induces.
Meanwhile, as more exo-planets capable of supporting life are being discovered, the New Horizons Message Initiative (https://www.newhorizonsmessage.com/) hopes to persuade NASA to upload a crowd-sourced message to the New Horizon spacecraft’s memory, following a successful Pluto encounter in 2015. The form and content of the message are yet to be determined, but will probably consist of pictures and, possibly, sounds. This is a project to create and implement that message.