Press Conference on Gilese 581 e, JENAM 2009 meeting
Well, I’ve arrived at the University of Hertfordshire, where the JENAM 2009 meeting is taking place. Dr. Henri Boffin from ESO and Michel Mayor are giving a press conference on the discovery of an Earth type planet inside the habitable zone, where liquid water could exist. The planet is called Gilese 581 e, and is a member of the family of planets that have been discovered recently (Gilese 581d), which orbit a red dwarf star.
There were many journalists, including reporters from the BBC and ITN wanting to know “what does this discovery mean for us, what does this mean?” Well this discovery means that this is the first time we have found a planet which, although it is seven times bigger than the Earth, could harbour liquid water which is necessary for life as we know it to exist on other planets.
So, in a nutshell, as Michel Mayor explained, in a couple of years, with the advancement of detectors and instrumentation, on future and current observing facilities, researchers are confident that they will find earth like planets the same size of Earth circling other planets within the habiatable zone of some of our neighbouring stars.