90 light years is so close

By now you may have heard of the discovery of a new planetary system that looks a whole lot like our own. It’s 90 light years away, but as a wise man once said, “that’s peanuts to space.” Seriously, 90 light years is the kind of distance we’ll be able to travel in a few months (relative) once we get the basics of interstellar flight taken care of.

Even better, seeing a solar system like our own so close to home makes it even more likely that we’ll find one with Earth-like life sometime fairly soon. That’s why I like reading this:

ESA is leading the way with its Darwin mission to analyse the atmospheric composition of Earth-like planets. This flotilla of six space telescopes will launch in around 2014.

How very 21st century!