Future Space Exploration

Does the planet Gilese 581c have the conditions necessary for life?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Gilese 581c is a planet a little larger than Earth, orbiting the red star Gilese 581. Scientists believe it has a developed atmosphere and may be completely covered by water -- water being one of the necessities for carbon-based life to start. It is very close to its sun, so it receives radiation in quantities that could be too great for life to form. On the other hand, the star is only 1/50 as hot as our sun, so the temperature on the planet is probably amenable to life. Another factor that could inhibit the development of life is the strong gravity of Gilese 581c -- twice that of Earth. Since Gilese 581c is only 20.5 light years from Earth, in the Libra constellation, we may one day be able to get close enough to find out if there really could be life there.

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