5 Actually Next Door … it’s Mars!
While Mars ain’t a great place to raise your kids (thank you, John Elton) and in fact is not habitable by multicellular life (as far as we know) it remains the most “earth-like” planet we have yet to discover – and hey, we’ve even visited a bunch of times! Chances are that all the Kepler Cs and Rs and 69s and whatnot are frigid hellholes or fiery hellscapes anyway, so how about a hand for our plucky little red friend, the most earth-like planet we’ve got!
You have your planets, but what about comets? These are The Top 5 Most Amazing Facts About Comets!
Have any objects ever come close to hitting earth? Why, yes, yes they have: 5 Near-Earth Objects Close to Ruining Your Day.
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4 Potential Planets Right Next Door?
While astronomers/astrophysicists have yet to definitively locate any of the planets we’re discussing next, it is entirely possible that a multitude of terrestrial, earth-like and even life-bearing planets exist a mere six or seven light years from earth. Why, that’s only six trillion miles! These potential planets have been “identified” because of nearly 100 red dwarf stars the science community has recently isolated, each of which could harbor a solar system much like our own.
3 Gliese 876 d: Closer to Home
Gliese 876 d may have yet another mouthful of a name, but you be nice: at only 15 light years away, this is one of the closest terrestrial (meaning non-gaseous, like Jupiter or Saturn) planets ever found. G. 876 d is named for the star it orbits, a red dwarf named — you guessed it, Gliese. While it’s not assumed to harbor life based on its likely temperature and various other factors, this planet was the first potentially terrestrial exoplanet ever identified, and for that it remains a winner in our books.
2 Kepler 69c
Another Kepler – OK, let’s be up front about this: Scientists apparently suck when it comes to giving out original names. That’s why this earth-like planet that was discovered a couple of years back has almost the exact same name as the two recently found exoplanets. Also they were all discovered as part of NASA’s Kepler Mission, which is all about finding earth-like planets. This guy orbits just far enough from its star to be in the habitable zone, though it might be rather warm. It’s also around 2,700 light years away from earth, so don’t count on visiting anytime … ever.
1 Kepler 62e and Kepler 62f: Our New Big Brothers?
Just this year, scientists announced the discovery of two planets that may be the most “earth-like” yet! The planets are both in orbit around a “sun-like” star. They are closer to the star than we are to our sun, but their “sun” is smaller than ours, so the planets remain in the habitable zone, where liquid water could exist, potentially paving the way for life. 62e is about 140 percent bigger than earth, and 62f is closer to twice our planet’s size – but don’t feel too bad, they probably don’t have DVR technology.