big news this week from the La Silla Observatory in Chile, which has detected an earth-sized planet in the star system next door, Alpha Centauri. using the HARPS fibre-fed high resolution echelle spectrograph (as you do) the team monitored star Alpha Centauri B over the course of four years, watching for tiny fluctuations that reveal the presence of orbiting bodies. though the planet is far too hot to visit (and not yet 100% confirmed) news of a new world just 4.37 light years away has already got folks discussing the possibility of sending an interstellar probe to the system