Photo: REX USA/NASA GOES/Rex.
As the climate-change debate rages on, we can only wonder what will happen if the doom-and-gloom prognosis being pushed by many scientists comes true one day. Will the Earth become uninhabitable? If so, where do we go?
Thanks to a few intrepid astronomers at Harvard, we may be a step closer to our answer.
The planet is called Kepler-10c, and according to the astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who made the discovery, it is twice the size of and 17-times heavier than our own.
"This is the Godzilla of Earths!" Harvard astronomer Dimitar Sasselov said in a statement. "But unlike the movie monster, Kepler-10c has positive implications for life."
According to the scientists, planets that are primarily made of rock usually become gaseous when they get to this size, but that didn't happen to Kepler-10c, making it a major anomaly. "Our first thought was that we couldn't really believe it," said astronomer Xavier Dumusque, who made the discovery.
Now that it's been revealed to be a dense amalgam of solids, rocks, and trapped water, does that mean Kepler-10c can one day be inhabited by human beings? Scientists have established that in order for a planet to be deemed livable, its mass must nearly mirror Earth's, and be a similar distance from its own sun.
Unfortunately, the conditions on this new mega-planet are way too harsh for us, with temperatures reaching four times those of Jupiter. Its discovery does, however, suggest we may need to reconsider planets previously thought to be uninhabitable.