Stop describing a planet as ‘Earth-like’ unless it really is
The discovery of a new, possibly habitable alien planet is always met by media coverage marked by sweeping pronouncements about our place in the universe, and even *gasp* alien life.
Wednesday’s announcement of a newfound, possibly Earth-sized planet in a potentially habitable orbit around a star not far from our sun threw that kind of breathless coverage into overdrive.
Publications declared it what could be the finding of the century, speculating on possible alien life just on our doorstep, circling Proxima Centauri, the dim red star closest to our sun. Above all, journalists chose to refer to Proxima b as an “Earth-like” planet, calling to mind oceans, trees and, for most people reading a general interest publication, advanced life. Read more…
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