A team of planet hunters led by astronomers at the University of California (UC), Santa Cruz and the Carnegie Institution of Washington has announced the discovery of a planet orbiting a nearby star, Gliese 581, at a distance that places it squarely in the middle of the star's "habitable zone." This would be the most Earth-like exoplanet and the first truly habitable one yet discovered. The research was supported by grants from NASA and the National Science Foundation. "Goldilocks" refers to an exoplanet whose temperatures are "not too cold, not too hot, but just right" to maintain water and support Earth-like life.
Note : The most distant space probe, Voyager 1, was about 14 light-hours away from Earth as of 9 March 2007 (2007 -03-09)[update]. It took that space probe 30 years to cover that distance, and will take over 18,000 years to reach one light-year at the same speed.