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Whoa, There’s A New Earth-Like Planet Super Nearby

A mere 39 light-years away.

Humans haven't been quite the stewards of our environment we'd hope to be. We don't have the best track record of being nice to the Earth, or each other, for that matter.

But good news: Scientists at MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research have found a new exoplanet that's roughly the size of Earth 39 light-years away from us. Believe it or not, that's actually pretty close -- according to the Kavli Institute, it's the "closest exoplanet to Earth ever discovered."

Alas, setting aside the issue of distance, humans won't be able to destroy colonize this innocent planet, called GJ 1132b, because it's approximately 500 degrees Fahrenheit. "Because of its scorching temperatures, GJ 1132b most likely cannot retain liquid water on its surface, making it uninhabitable for life as we know it," the Kavli Institute reports. "However, scientists say it is cool enough to host a substantial atmosphere."

Another deterrent for human habitation? GJ 1132b is "tidally locked," meaning it has a "permanent day and night side," which sounds kind of metal but also terrifying.

Researchers say GJ 1132b could help point them in the direction of finally finding life beyond Earth. "If we find this pretty hot planet has managed to hang onto its atmosphere over the billions of years it’s been around, that bodes well for the long-term goal of studying cooler planets that could have life," Zachory Berta-Thompson, a postdoc in MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, said. "We finally have a target to point our telescopes at, and [can] dig much deeper into the workings of a rocky exoplanet, and what makes it tick."