Gliese 581g

Via NASA comes the discovery of a ‘nearby’ planet that might have the right conditions for life.

Artist's conception of the lanets of the Gliese 581 System
This artist's conception shows the inner four planets of the Gliese 581 system and their host star, a red dwarf star only 20 light years away from Earth. The large planet in the foreground is the newly discovered GJ 581g, which has a 37-day orbit right in the middle of the star's habitable zone and is only three to four times the mass of Earth, with a diameter 1.2 to 1.4 times that of Earth. Image Credit: Lynette Cook

io9 has another futuristic artist impression of a colony on a similar planet.

The paper:

The Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey: A 3.1 M_Earth Planet in the Habitable Zone of the Nearby M3V Star Gliese 581
Steven S. Vogt, R. Paul Butler, Eugenio J. Rivera, Nader Haghighipour, Gregory W. Henry, Michael H. Williamson

A video by NASA TV:

Some reactions in the media/on blogs:
Science, The Guardian, NY Times, Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, Astrobiology, Wired, TIME, Michio Kaku on Fox News.

Update 20101012: Recently Discovered Habitable World May Not Exist
Update 20110516: First habitable exoplanet? Climate simulation reveals new candidate that could support Earth-like life (Gliese 581d)

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