Home away from home.
What "star qualities" does she look for? Using oar solar system as a model, she evaluated each candidate's age (it takes a long time for life to arise on a planet), brightness (bright stars emit deadly ultraviolet radiation), and composition (stars need to contain a certain amount of metal for planets similar to Earth to form nearby).
Next, Turnbull will trim the list to 30 addresses. Those stars will become the focus of the Terrestrial Planet Finder--a future NASA mission that will look around the stars for Earth-like planets. But don't pack your bags for a stellar trip yet. One top candidate, 37 Gem--the 37th brightest star in the constellation Gemini--is 50 light-years (distance light travels in one year, or 6,000,000,000,000 miles) away!
E.T.: If life exists on other planets it might not look like we'd expect, says Maggie Turnbull.
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|Title Annotation:||Physical/Space; search for stars that might support places sustaining life|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Jan 12, 2004|
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