Habitable Planet Found

I'm just back from a meeting at Stanford (I walked, of course) - I still have 2 oak tree (tussock ) caterpillars on my shoulder - and find this exciting news...

Astronomers find first potentially habitable planet, orbiting around Gliese 581, a star 20.5 light years away in the Constellation Libra.

Wow. Even though the star is a red dwarf, scientists believe the average temperature is between 32 F and 104 F - well within the range that human life can exist. One caveat is that gravity is approximately 1.6X 2.25X that of Earth.

Now, the problem is how to get there - and also, keep your mind exercised with something more than Sudoku. I tend to believe that an algorithm will be discovered which unlocks the secret to near-light speed travel or FTL travel, though there are a lot of problems in doing so. The solution will probably be something elegantly simple like e = mc(2). 6:38 PST - Speculation already abounds on the web (and IM) that the planet (if inhabited, which is a big if) could feature (a) short, squat or (b) tall, thin types of people - or that, assuming people from earth made the voyage, what their descendants would look like - certainly speculative.

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