24 planets discovered that can possibly sustain life
Bhubaneswar: Following a new study, researchers have claimed that there are at least 24 other planets that are potentially ‘super habitable’.
Recently, a study by Washington State University scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch was published in online journal Astrobiology which said that Earth is not necessarily the best planet in the universe. The scientist, in his publication, elaborated the characteristics of potential ‘superhabitable planets’, including planets that are older, little larger, warmer and wetter than the Earth and how they make it ideal for nurturing complex life-forms in them.
Schulze-Makuch, a geobiologist worked with astronomers of Heller of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research and Edward Guinan of Villanova University to identify 24 super habitable planets out of 4,500 exoplanets beyond our solar system. The enlisted planets are more than 100 light years away. However, Schulze-Makuch said that further studies and observations from NASA’s James Web Space Telescope, the LUVIOR space observatory and the European Space Agency’s PLATO space telescope could help them understand the habitation possibilities in those far-off planets better.
From what we know, Earth-the blue planet is around 4.5 billion years old. It took almost 4 billion years to favour evolution and survival of complex life forms in it. Researchers now argue that the ‘sweet spot’ for life in any planet is between its age of five to eight billion years.
Besides the search for cooler G stars, researchers are now looking at K dwarf stars that could be cooler, less luminous and less massive than the sun as they possess longer lifespans of around 20-70 billion years. This will allow more than enough time for the formation and evolution of life in the planets.
As per the study, some of the essential characteristics that make a planet superhabitable are:
- Size and Mass: A bigger planet means more habitable land. That would ensure stronger gravity to retain atmosphere for longer period of time.
- Water: It is a sacred component. More water means sufficing moisture, humidity that ensures warmer temperature thus letting thriving of more biodiversity.
After extensive study, the researchers concluded that the shortlisted 24 planets don’t actually possess all the criteria necessary for habitation. However, one out of them does show four of the major characteristics, thus showing potential to be the next, more comfortable planet supporting habitation.
Worth mentioning that Schulze-Makuch was quoted in the journal saying that many existing life-forms can survive extreme conditions and that’s a good thing but that doesn’t mean we have the best of everything.