First 'Alien Earth' Planet? Scientists Think 'Earth Twin' Will Be Discovered By 2013

By Melissa Siegel on December 27, 2012 3:17 PM EST

Earth
Scientists believe they are close to discovering a planet similar to Earth. (Photo: Reuters)

The first "alien Earth" planet will likely be discovered next year.

According to Space.com, astronomers have found exoplanets that have one or two features in common with our Earth. However, now astronomers think that the first "alien Earth" planet, a planet truly similar to Earth, will be spotted in 2013.

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"I'm very positive that the first Earth twin will be discovered next year,"  said Abel Mendez, from the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico.

In fact, the Kepler Space Telescope has already found over 2,300 potential planets since March 2009. Scientists estimate that at least 80 percent of these supposed planets could prove to be legit.

For instance, last December scientists found two planets close to the size of Earth that orbited another star, according to Fox News. However, these two planets are not quite "alien Earth" planets because they are likely too hot to support life.

Meanwhile, other planets called "super-Earths" have also been discovered that are much larger than our Earth. According to the Christian Science Monitor, light from one of these "super Earths" was seen for the first time earlier this year. As we previously reported, another large planet made out of diamonds was also studied earlier this year, and one "super Earth" may even be able to sustain life.

Still, numerous scientists are convinced that it is just a matter of time before a real "alien Earth" planet is discovered.

"The first planet with a measured size, orbit and incident stellar flux that is suitable for life is likely to be announced in 2013," said Geoff Marcy, a veteran planet hunter at the University of California Berkeley.

This report on the discovery of the first "alien Earth" planet is nothing new. In fact, the same website reported just last year that scientists were expecting to discover such a planet by 2014.

Marcy even thinks that the first "alien Earth" planet could have large consequences in the future and may even help unite the world.

"The small steps for humanity will be a giant leap for our species," he said. "Sending robotic probes to the nearest stars will constitute the greatest adventure we Homo sapiens have ever attempted. This massive undertaking will require the cooperation and contribution from all major nations around world. In so doing, we will take our first tentative steps into the cosmic ocean and enhance our shared sense of purpose on this terrestrial shore."

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