NEW YORK (CBS Tampa) – We’re getting closer to finding an Earth-like planet orbiting another sun, says an astronomer closely tied to the search for life outside our solar system.
Frank Marchis who works for the SETI Institute, a nonprofit organization that is exploring the mystery of life in the universe.
He spoke to Mother Jones shortly after last week’s detailed image of the planet Beta Pictoris b.
The photo, from the Gemini Planet Imager, uses technology that will lead the future of the hunt for exosolar objects.
The new imager, mounted on a huge telescope in Chile, allows astronomers to directly view planets orbiting other stars.
Marchis says this new class of observation platforms have an advantage over space-based telescopes because they can scan deeper and wider.
Computers can negate the effects of atmosphere and the Earth’s rotation.
With these clearer, sharper images, Marchis predicts it won’t be long before we find other planets capable of supporting terrestrial life.
“Imagine one day, we’re going to be able to see seasonal effects on these planets and be able to see if there is a biosphere on these planets,” he says. “So the search for Earth-like planets, the search for an Earth 2.0 is very close. I think in 10 or 15 years we will have an Earth 2.0 candidate. “