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February 3 2014

Star next door may host a 'superhabitable' world


Earth may be our home, but another planet even cosier for life could be orbiting the star next door. A detailed analysis of what might make planets suitable for life says that Alpha Centauri B, the star closest to our sun, would be the perfect star to host a "superhabitable" planet a world of islands, shallow seas and gentle slopes, where the conditions needed to support a diverse array of life forms would persist for up to 10 billion years. But the near-paradise would come at a cost to visitors from Earth: the pull of gravity would be about one-quarter stronger than on our home turf.

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