A team of scientists led by Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a geobiologist at Washington State University (WSU), has identified more than two dozen exoplanets that may be more life-friendly than Earth. According to the Kaipler mission, these super-liveable world conditions may be better suited to sustain life for longer than our planet.
One of the main problems plaguing modern science is the existence of life elsewhere in the universe. While no direct evidence of such life has been found, exoplanet search missions like Those of Capeler have changed many of our minds about how planetary systems are formed and provide scientists with a way to think about life outside the solar system without relying so much on guesswork and speculation.
Some of the more than 4,000 exoplanets found so far are considered habitable, although this is a somewhat misleading term. These livable planets usually refer to a rocky planet, in the correct orbital region around its star, at a moderate temperature enough to allow liquid water to exist on its surface without freezing or boiling.
Now, researchers at Washington State University have refined the search to produce 24 candidate exoplanets that are not only habitable, but also likely to be more habitable than Earth. Located more than 100 light-years from the sun, these exoplanets are exoplanets screened from the archives of exoplanets of interest to CapeLer because they have properties that may make them better able to sustain life.
One thing researchers believe makes a planet more habitable is its star. The usual assumption is that orbiting a G-shaped star like the sun would be the best place to find livable planets. However, such stars have a life span of only about 8 billion to 10 billion years. The K-dwarf will be cooler and smaller than the sun, but it will have a life span of 70 billion years — allowing life to appear and develop for longer.
Another factor will be size and quality. Part of the reason the Earth is habitable is that it is large enough, geologically active enough to have a protective magnetic field, and has enough gravity to retain the atmosphere. According to the team, if a planet were 10 percent larger, it would have more surface area to live on. If it is 1.5 times the mass of Earth, its interior will retain more heat from radioactive decay, will remain active for longer periods of time, and will maintain a longer atmosphere.
In addition, if a world is 5 degrees Celsius warmer than earth and has more water, it will enjoy the biodiversity of tropical rainforests in most parts of the planet.
None of the 24 planets found had all these features, but one had four key factors, the team said. In any case, the 24 planets are likely to be the focus of future telescope research.
“Sometimes it’s hard to convey the principle of super livable planets because we think we have the best planets,” Schulze-Makuch said. “We have a lot of complex and diverse life forms, and a lot of life bodies that can survive in extreme environments. It’s good to have an adaptable life, but that doesn’t mean we have the best of everything. “
The study was published in the journal Astrobiology.