Star Trek fans across the globe, there is hope yet. It seems that scientists have been able to locate an exoplanet capable of supporting life in the exact spot that the Star Trek movies claim the planet Vulcan is located.
Scientists have found a planet orbiting the star HD26965 that seems to have water on its surface. The only issue is that the planet is some 16 light years away from Earth. Another name for star HD 26965 is 40 Eridani A. This is the same name used for the star that orbits Spock’s home world. So scientists confirmed the existence of Spock’s home planet. Well, at least a planet located in the exact same place.
The History of HD26965
During the year 1966, the same year Star Trek premiered, the HK project started collecting information about distant stars. One of those stars happened to be 40 Eridani A, one of the stars in a triple-star system. During this time, they observed another star called Epsilon Eridani, which was also considered as the Vulcan’s star. This star is also used in various other works of science fiction in the role of a distant alien home world. The choice came down to these two stars, but eventually, due to being four billion years old, similar to Earth, 40 Eridani A was chosen. Epsilon Eridani, on the other hand, was only one billion years old, and because of that, any planets in its vicinity did not have enough time to evolve advanced life forms.
What Does Science Say?
According to researchers, this new super-Earth is located 16 light years away and it is considered the closest super-Earth orbiting another star similar to the Sun. This super-Earth is twice the size of our Earth and it needs 42 days to complete a full revolution around its star.
But, the term super-Earth does not mean the planet is in anyway similar to the conditions on our Earth. It just means that the planet has a higher mass than our Earth, but a lower one than Uranus for example. For all the researchers know, the newfound Vulcan can be a rocky planet similar to Earth or a gaseous planet like our solar systems Neptune.
Until more data is obtained there is no way to determine whether the planet is inhabitable. The TESS satellite from NASA is taking a closer look at the planet later this year and hopefully, more information is available then.