I can’t quite grasp the breathless excitement of the writer when I find another article that touts the discovery of an amazing Earth-like planet found orbiting some distant star.
Typically the planet in question has qualities that make it tantalizingly similar to Earth – the size, the orbit, the gravity, the composition.
But there’s always a deal breaker.
It’s like searching the city for a new house – there are always so many variables. You may find one that has the right number of bedrooms and the perfect kitchen with a right-sized, sunny yard, but the bathroom is a mess, or there’s mold in the basement, or it’s on fire.
I’m waiting to hear about a distant Earth-like planet that is really like Earth. I want an ocean full of fish and forests with animals and a sunrise worth viewing through an atmosphere I can breathe. Knowing there is a far flung place we can actually go visit would make all the difference in our attitudes about deep space exploration.
Until a reasonable destination planet is found, I’d like to recommend a moratorium on use of the phrase “Earth-like”. In this case the headline should read “Flaming Hellscape Discovered At Safe Distance.”
Is there anyplace like home?