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6 Exoplanets Humanity Could ALMOST Colonize

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Finding a new Earth is hard. These contenders were so close, but sadly humans cannot live on molten lava or plasma water…yet.

HD 189733b aka "The Trickster"

HD 189733b aka "The Trickster"

Distance from Earth: 63 light-years.

Deal breaker: Despite being the first exoplanet astronomer's have determined the true color of -- using the Telescope Imaging Spectrograph to measure changes in the color of light from the planet before, during and after a pass behind its star this is no Earth-2 -- this is a no go. The blue color comes not from the reflection of water, but an atmosphere of silicate particles. Combined with temps of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, it possibly rains glass -- sideways -- through 4,500-mph winds.

Via: NASA, ESA, M. Kornmesser

Fomalhaut b aka "The Ninja"

Fomalhaut b aka "The Ninja"

Distance from Earth: 25 light-years.

Deal breaker: Considered a rogue planet, it has an elliptical orbit that takes about 2,000 years to complete. No big deal, except it is continuously traveling through a huge cloud of debris surrounding its star, making it difficult for astronomers to see, but more importantly meaning huge chunks of ice rock pelt the surface in a never-ending barrage.

Via: ESA; Hubble, M. Kornmesser; and ESO, L. Calçada and L. L. Christensen

UCF-1.01 aka "The Hot Potato"

UCF-1.01 aka "The Hot Potato"

Distance from Earth: 33 light-years

Deal breaker: At just two-thirds the size of Earth, it is one of the smallest exoplanets ever discovered. However, it's hanging out so close to its star that, should it be made of the same composition as our home planet, the ground is literally hot lava. Hot molten lava that burns.

Via: NASA/JPL-Caltech

HD 209458b aka "The Steam Room"

HD 209458b aka "The Steam Room"

Distance from Earth: 150 light-years

Deal breaker With its impressive tail, this dying planet appears more like a comet. In reality, it is the first of a purposed new class of dead planets -- called chthonian planets -- where the atmosphere is evaporating at such a rate to be seen from space. In this case hydrogen and oxygen are being ripped from their planet at almost 22,000 mph in temperatures exceeding 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Awesome to look at, not to live on.

Via: ESA/Alfred Vidal-Madjar/NASA


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