Remember the claims of ET life on an extrasolar planet last year? Readers may recall the outstanding claims and the hype, if only from our article on the subject, in which one researcher was cited as being “100%” sure that it had life on it.1
But it’s likely that not many have heard that the existence of Gliese 581g, the planet where this ET life was so certain to exist, has now itself been called into serious question.
A number of studies and re-analyses have been conducted since the ‘discovery’ of Gliese 581g that have cast significant doubt on Vogt et al.’s interpretation of their data.
A Swiss team presented evidence that suggested Gliese 581g may not even exist.2 Despite finding that the probability for the non-existence of Gliese 581g was small, statistically, the measurements on which it was based were still not significantly different to the background noise in those same measurements. This is enough to cast reasonable doubt on the existence of Gliese 581g, at least for now. The major reason for this uncertainty is that our current technology is at this point stretched to its limit looking for exoplanets the purported size of Gliese 581g. Therefore the Swiss team came to the correct conclusion based on their data. The existence of Gliese 581g will most likely only be confirmed (or not) with more sensitive detection equipment….
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