As of now, earth is the only planet we know sustains life. And things are getting a bit worrying, as climate change is threating to destroy our homes and food sources. There’s also the risk of nuclear war, which can lead to millions of deaths. It makes us wonder if there are other earth-like planets that can sustain life. Scientists and researchers have been scanning the skies for the same purpose for several decades. And early signs are encouraging, as there do exist earth-like planets in our Milky Way. To understand the possibilities, here’s a look at earth-like planets that humans can colonize.
Gliese 667 Cc – This exoplanet is around 4.5 larger than our planet earth. Being close to its host star and with fast rotation speed, Gliese 667 Cc just takes 28 days to orbit its host star. The host star is a red dwarf, which is significantly cooler than our sun. This planet is located around 22 light years from our solar system.
Kepler-22b – This exoplanet orbits a G-class star that is similar to our sun. However, the host star is smaller and not as hot as our sun. Kepler-22b takes 290 days to orbit the host star, which is not very different from 365 days of planet earth. Kepler-22b is quite far away at 600 light years.
Proxima Centauri b – This exoplanet is located 4.22 light years away. It orbits the host star in the habitable zone. While this is the closest planet that looks promising, it is not certain if it has an atmosphere. Humans will have to rely on specialized equipment to survive on this planet. Surface temperature of the planet is around -39°C, which will be another challenge.
Gliese 180 b – This exoplanet is located within the habitable zone of its host star Gliese 180. It will take around 38 light years to reach this planet. Surface temperature is 39° C, which is livable but quite hot. The host star is a red dwarf.
Luyten b – This is one of the most promising exoplanets, in terms of supporting human life. It is rocky just like earth and is located within the habitable zone of its host star. The host star is a red dwarf named Luyten’s Star. It will take around 12 light years to reach this planet. Luyten b is around three times the size of earth. Surface temperature of -14 °C seems manageable if not entirely comfortable.
While these planets look promising, one of the biggest challenges is to reach these planets. With current technology, it will take thousands of years to reach these planets. Hopefully, scientists will one day find a way to travel faster than speed of light. Till that happens, it’s imperative that we all take steps to save our planet earth. As of now, there’s no plan B.