Howdy buckaroos (and buckarettes)! For those of you wishing for a life of swash-buckling adventure on the high seas of space, you're in luck! After years of being told by skeptics that our planet is the habitable exception to a cold and barren rule, scientists from the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) and the Carnegie Institute of Washington have discovered the first potentially inhabitable world outside our solar system.
Granted, this isn't the first extra-solar planet found, but it is the first to be right smack in the middle of its sun's Goldilocks zone--the crucial orbit no too far or close to the sun where water can exist in its liquid form. And if there’s something you must know about water, it’s that it is necessary for just about everything needed to support life.
You see, we here on earth take water for granted. It's everywhere. It's in our air, our oceans, and on the floors of subway stops and public restrooms everywhere (urine is 80%+ water). So it's understandable that we don't grasp just how stacked the odds were against us having liquid water. Indeed, just a bit closer or farther in our orbit and the Big Blue would either be a frozen wasteland like Siberia or a barren desert like Death Valley, respectively.
Of course, don't go wanking off to Avatar (again) just yet. Just because it's in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean it has life, it just means it has the potential for it. All of you budding space cowboys and cowgirls out there can still dream, but it is also highly unlikely that the technology to reach this glorious Earth 2.0 will exist in our lifetime (it is a wopping 20 light-years away).
So much for your career as a bounty hunter..
This will never be you.
Still, if this planet is in fact habitable then even if we ourselves are unable to warp drive our way over, we can at least settle one debate that has been raging in the media ever since hippies first started digging holes in the ground and going to town: There is a Plan B.
So yes! we can in fact pillage and rape our planet for years to come, because once it’s spent, we’ll have a perfectly good new one to pillage and rape all over again.