All I have to say is that I hope Lance Bass is prepared for the journey because "alien Earth" discoveries are becoming more and more commonplace these days, and let's be real, soon enough we're going to need to send an astronaut-trained former boy band member there to check them out. Some scientists are hopeful that 2013 will bring the first, true proof of an Earth-like planet, an Earth twin, if you will, and I don't think you need to be the gay best friend of Kathy Griffith to appreciate this revelation.
Abel Mendez of the University of Puerto Rico is convinced we'll find Earth's long lost twinsie in the next 12 months. Time to start packing!
How great would that be. Think of all the space you could have to yourself. And ocean-front property would be so cheap, considering, you know, no one's there.
Or is someone there?! I digress.
Other researchers aren't as convinced of this Earth twin as Prof. Mendez. Astronomer Caleb Scharf says that just because there are exoplanets situated in Earth-like atmospheres, it doesn't mean they're going to be anything like our fair planet.
"Earth-like" and "habitable" don't necessarily imply there are oceans and mountains and valleys and strip malls. What it means, exactly, is that the planet has the capability to sustain liquid water, and that the atmospheric pressure isn't so great that the water turns to vapor. Many scientists argue that much, much more info is needed before we go calling anything an Earth-like twin.
I don't know about you, but I'm going to wait until some celebrity makes an announcement about alien-Earth before I decide what to believe. Maybe Ben Affleck's got something to say, or perhaps Richard Branson's building something to take us there? To meet our thinner and more stylish Earth twins? Fingers crossed.
In the meantime, though, better keep reducing, reusing and recycling on this here Earth because so far, it's the only one we've got.
Excited about an Earth-like planet?
Photo via NASA/Flickr