Planet-Hunter Searches For Second Earth
Probe to investigate distant solar systems
Goldilocks' zones may be site of extraterrestrial life
The hunt for a second Earth began in earnest yesterday with the launch of a space probe that will peer beyond the solar system to distant planets
warmed by the faintest of stars.
At 2.23pm UK time a modernised soyuz rocket tore into the sky over Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying Corot, the first space telescope
designed to find habitable planets orbiting stars in remote solar systems.
The mission, which will take place over a two-and-a-half-year period, will look for rocky worlds about twice the size of Earth that lie in what space
scientists call habitable zones, the Goldilocks regions of space in every solar system where heat from the nearest star is neither too hot nor too cold
to sustain liquid water - believed to be the essential ingredient for life.
Ian Sample, Science Correspondent
Thursday December 28, 2006