Earth meets its match

01.11.21: HUMANITY RECEIVED the shock of its life today with the discovery of an extra-solar planet that may support living beings.

The planet, almost the exact double of the Earth, was found near star 47 in Ursa Major by ESA's Darwin and Nasa's Terrestrial Planet Finder.

The unmanned space observatories, both of which are orbiting the Sun near Jupiter, have also detected the 'spectral signature' of oxygen in the atmosphere of the planet.

'Oxygen is an unstable gas that must be constantly replenished,' said a Darwin scientist. 'Its presence has only one plausible explanation ? life.'

Exobiologists are speculating about what kind of life is on the new planet, already being called Eden. But the consensus is that it is most likely to be in the form of primitive micro-organisms. The race is now on for a detailed image of the planet, perhaps via a robot probe. 'It is every biologist's dream: another biology to study,' said the scientist. MC

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