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- Astronomers have now found two planets that are as massive as Earth and could be habitable.
- Two temperate Earth-mass planets orbiting the nearby star GJ 1002.
- GJ 1002 b and c lie at a perfect distance from their star, which could allow liquid water to form on a planet’s surface if it has the right kind of atmosphere. This zone is known as the habitable zone, just like Earth is in from the Sun.
- Planet b, which has a mass slightly higher than Earth’s, is the closer of the two and its year lasts only 10 days.
- Meanwhile, planet c is about a third more massive than Earth and takes about 20 days to orbit the star.
Trivia: Goldilocks Zone
For a planet has to be "just right", or able to support life, it cannot be so cold that water only exists as frozen ice, and it cannot be so hot that the water all boils away. If a planet’s orbit takes it too close to its parent star then it will be too hot for liquid water to exist, and if it’s too far out it will be too cold. Only planets within a certain range of orbits dubbed the "Goldilocks zone" — or formally known as the "habitable zone" — are thought to be capable of supporting life.
Thus, the Goldilocks Zone refers to the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is just right - not too hot and not too cold - for liquid water to exist on an planet. Liquid water is essential for life.