The Goldilocks zone – not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Goldilocks, also known as “habitable zone”, is that sweet planetary orbit Earth holds in our solar system. Science searches the cosmos for planets capable of supporting life as we know it. Star systems with Earth-like planets positioned not too far, not too close, just maybe at a perfect distance to have liquid water and harbor life.
On January 6, astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center announced 8 new Goldilocks planets. Two stand out as the most promising Earth-like discoveries to date. Kepler 438b and Kepler 422b orbit red dwarf stars smaller and cooler than our sun. 438b is 12 percent larger than Earth, orbits its sun once every 35 days, has a 70% chance of being rocky, and resides 470 light years from home. 422b, 1,100 light years away, is a third larger than Earth, orbits its sun every 112 days with a 60% chance of a rocky surface.
Hard as it is to ponder seemingly impossible distance and probability of life, it’s only a matter of time before science announces extraterrestrial life.