There May Be Two Dozen Superhabitable Planets Outside the Solar System, According to Scientists
They’re more than 100-light-years away!
Looking for a safe place to travel on vacation with your family? Instead of an island getaway or road trip across the country, how about any of the 24 recently discovered superhabitable planets in outer space? Astronauts have discovered two dozen planets that are capable of sustaining human life, according to a report published in the journal Astrobiology. The study, which was led by Washington State University geobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch, found that these “super-habitable” worlds are older, larger, warmer, and moister than Earth.
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“With the next space telescopes coming up, we will get more information, so it is important to select some targets,” said Schulze-Makuch in a statement. “We have to focus on certain planets that have the most promising conditions for complex life. However, we
When you title a research paper “In Search for a Planet Better than Earth,” you’re not messing around. Earth, the only place we know for sure hosts life, sets a high bar for all other planets.
Washington State University (WSU) geobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch led a study published in the journal Astrobiology last month. The paper identifies two dozen exoplanets (planets located outside our solar system) that could be “superhabitable” worlds more suitable for life than our own.
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The researchers created a set of criteria for planets to qualify as potentially superhabitable. This list includes an age of between 5 billion and 8 billions years old (Earth is about 4.5 billion years old) and a location within a star’s habitable zone where liquid
According to a new study, the megatooth shark Otodus megalodon was the largest shark to ever swim in our planet’s oceans. O. megalodon is an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 23 to 3.6 million years ago. The exact cause of its extinction is still debated, likely a combination of environmental change and competition with smaller shark species played a role.
Despite its fame in pop-culture, surprisingly little is known about the life-appearance of the megalodon. Sharks have a cartilaginous skeleton that will quickly decay after death. Only their hard teeth survive the fossilization process.
Earth is not necessarily the best planet in the universe. Researchers have identified two dozen planets outside our solar system that may have conditions more suitable for life than our own. Some of these orbit stars that may be better than even our sun.
A study led by Washington State University scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch recently published in the journal Astrobiology details characteristics of potential “superhabitable” planets, that include those that are older, a little larger, slightly warmer and possibly wetter than Earth. Life could also more easily thrive on planets that circle more slowly changing stars with longer lifespans than our sun.
The 24 top contenders for superhabitable planets are all more than 100 light years away, but Schulze-Makuch said the study could help focus future observation efforts, such as from NASA’s James Web Space Telescope, the LUVIOR space observatory and the European Space Agency’s PLATO
“Obviously, we have no idea what really happens when planets collide, because we can’t build planets in the lab and smash them together,” said Jacob Kegerreis, a postdoctoral researcher in a specialist lab at the U.K.’s Durham University called the Institute for Computational Cosmology.
So Kegerreis and his colleagues did the next best thing: They booked time on a supercomputer and used it to run hundreds of simulations of planets crashing into one another — a demolition derby for astrophysics geniuses.
“It’s all about doing calculations,” he told Digital Trends. “There’s no reason you couldn’t do it by hand, it would just take forever. It’s really exactly how video games work. If you’ve got a character — even a 2D one like Mario — and you need them to jump and fall back down under gravity, that means the program has an equation for gravity, and it basically does
The planetary paradigm has shifted so quickly and so radically in the last quarter century that is easy to forget that only a few decades ago, one would be hard-pressed to find any professional astronomer who would stake their careers on the idea that most stars harbor planets. But although the overwhelming majority of stars may harbor some form of planet, not all stars are capable of forming planets.
During the first two decades of looking for planets that circle
Eight months after the space telescope CHEOPS started its journey into space, the first scientific publication using data from CHEOPS has been issued. CHEOPS is the first ESA mission dedicated to characterising known exoplanets. Exoplanets, i.e. planets outside the Solar system, were first found in 1995 by two Swiss astronomers, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, who were last year awarded the Nobel Prize for this discovery. CHEOPS was developed as part of a partnership between ESA and Switzerland. Under the leadership of the University of Bern and ESA, a consortium of more than a hundred scientists and engineers from eleven European states was involved in constructing the satellite over five years. The Science Operations Center of CHEOPS is located at the observatory of the University of Geneva.
Using data from CHEOPS, scientists have recently carried out a detailed study of the exoplanet WASP-189b. The results have just been accepted for
An international team of astronomers, including a group from the University of Warwick, have discovered the first Ultra Hot Neptune planet orbiting the nearby star LTT 9779.
The world orbits so close to its star that its year lasts only 19 hours, meaning the stellar radiation heats the planet to over 1700 degrees Celsius.
At these temperatures, heavy elements like iron can be ionized in the atmosphere and molecules disassociated, providing a unique laboratory to study the chemistry of planets outside the solar system.
Although the world weighs twice as much as Neptune does, it is also slightly larger and so has a similar density. Therefore, LTT 9779b should have a huge core of around 28 Earth-masses, and an atmosphere that makes up around 9% of the total planetary mass.
The system itself is around half the age of the Sun, at 2 billion years old,
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but what about an entire planet made of diamonds?
Newly published research suggests that some exoplanets in deep space largely comprised of carbon could turn into diamonds.
The research, published in The Planetary Science Journal, suggests that these “carbon-rich” planets could have the right conditions, such as water, heat and pressure, to turn the carbon into diamonds. These planets could also form other minerals that are found on Earth, such as silicates and oxides.
llustration of a carbon-rich planet with diamond and silica as main minerals. Water can convert a carbide planet into a diamond-rich planet. In the interior, the main minerals would be diamond and silica (a layer with crystals in the illustration). The core (dark blue) might be iron-carbon alloy. Credit: Shim/ASU/Vecteezy
DWARF PLANET CERES HAS AN ‘ANCIENT OCEAN’ WITH SALT WATER, RESEARCHERS CONFIRM
Researchers have created a new (*checks notes*) fully automated microchip electrophoresis analyzer that could help find organic biosignatures in soil from other planets.
What’s going on:
The researchers — who wrote about their findings in American Chemical Society Analytical Chemistry — developed the analyzer that can be included in a planetary rover, which could (in theory) detect organic life elsewhere.
Current technology — which uses gas chromatography and mass spectrometry — has a limited ability to detect alien life.
“Specifically, it can detect organic acids, even when water, minerals or salts are in the material.
The new “portable, battery-powered ME-LIF instrument” could take a sample and determine if these organic molecules are included, according to a release rom the American Chemical Society.
The researchers said more work will be needed. But tests in the Chilean desert — which was used to simulate the experience on Mars — gave