October 17, 2012
NEAREST STAR HAS EARTH-MASS PLANET. “European astronomers have discovered a planet with about the mass of the Earth orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri system – the nearest to Earth. It is also the lightest exoplanet ever discovered around a star like the Sun. The planet was detected using the HARPS instrument on the 3.6-meter telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The results will appear online in the journal Nature on 17 October 2012.” Before you fire up the Jupiter 2, however (don’t forget to debug the robot, and get a new doctor) note that its orbit is closer than Mercury’s, so it’s a bit toasty there.