by Lucinda Kearney and Nora Kubiaczyk
In an incredible partnership, NASA and the Russian space agency have collaborated their data to discover the presence of a new superterranean exoplanet that is said to have the necessary conditions to host or support forms of life.
‘Maxima-724-g’ orbits a red dwarf star inside of its habitable zone at 65 million km distance meaning the planet has the potential to support large oceans. Due to its size, the planet is most likely to have a rocky surface.
Being a superterranean planet means that the size is larger than Earth at (1.87 x Earth-size), with an atmosphere that has a gravitational pull. Average temperatures on the surface would likely be warmer than Earths at an average of 33 degrees Celsius. The planet is one of 23 planets in its newly discovered solar system and is the 5th closest to its star.
According to Dr. Jacobsen at the astrophysics department of Columbia, “this is the most exciting discovery since the first exoplanet Kepler 186-f was discovered.” Due in part to its proximity to Earth which will “make travel to the new planet much more likely.” Whilst Maxima-724-g is still over 350 light years away this will “make engineering intergenerational space ships more viable.”
The space ships that Jacobson is talking about has been widely explored throughout science fiction media, however, members of the MIT astroengineering team have theorized actual machines that could complete this journey.
“It would involve placing participants into a stasis pod of which would halt their biological rhythms essentially ‘freezing’ them in a certain state using complex chemical interactions.”
Whilst access to this technology is not yet viable, several tests have been completed on human test subjects of which suggest that this technology could one day become the norm for interplanetary space travel.
There has however been some backlash from the Catholic community of which has slammed the discovery as “dangerous and lies” and “propaganda” by George Braff - head of the major Divine Saviors Parish District in Kentucky.
These comments come amidst of growing tension between the scientific and religious communities of which have seen protest and counter-protests on the streets of major cities such as Chicago and Dallas.
Whilst we don’t know if these forms will be fully formed aliens capable of self-realization or simple microbial life, the social impacts of revelations relating to alien life will likely see tensions between science and religion grow.
U.S President Trump has also weighed in on the discovery dubbing it “a very good discovery made possible by the very smart people at NASA”.
NASA has not released a formal statement stating that there will probe or manned mission heading to what has been dubbed ‘New Earth’, however sources inside the institution of whom prefer to remain anonymous has stated that “gears are in overdrive and they are putting together plans for an unprecedented mission.
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