Much More Exoplanets Could Host Life Than Scientists Initially Thought

One of the ultimate goals for many space agencies is to find intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe, but the right question is the following: is humanity prepared for an encounter with an advanced species? Surely aliens have to be out there, somewhere, giving how large the Universe is.

Of course, skeptics would always ask why aren’t aliens here already if they exist. But let’s not forget that alien life doesn’t necessarily have to mean those little green men that we’ve all seen in sci-fi movies. Nobody has ever seen worms or bacteria maneuvering a spaceship, for instance. And second, the distances between planetary systems are most often way larger for even the speed of light to travel them during a human lifetime.

Up to seven Earth-like planets in the absence of a gas giant

A study led by the UC Riverside astrobiologist Stephen Kane brings an unprecedented claim: life could be so common throughout the Universe that some stars could have up to seven Earth-like planets if there’s no gas giant like Jupiter or Saturn around. The habitable zone (aka the Goldilocks zone) is the main attraction point in any solar system for astronomers. This area allows for liquid water to exist, which is a key component for life as we know it on our planet.

Stephen Kane began his study by focusing on the nearby solar system named as Trappist-1, as it possesses not one, but three Earth-like planets. Kane declared:

This made me wonder about the maximum number of habitable planets it’s possible for a star to have, and why our star only has one,

It didn’t seem fair!

The research team created a model system for simulating planets of various sizes as they orbit their stars. Their conclusion was that there’s possible for some stars to host as many as seven planets in the habitable zone and that a star like the Sun could potentially be supporting six planets that have liquid water.

Kane also suspects that Jupiter limited the habitability of our solar system due to its huge mass. The gas giant’s mass is about two-and-a-half times that of all the other planets from our solar system combined. The scientist also said:

It has a big effect on the habitability of our solar system because it’s massive and disturbs other orbits,

But the ambitions of the astrobiologist Stephen Kane do not stop here. He wants to further search for additional stars that have only small planets revolving around them. NASA telescopes will have to capture direct images of these cosmic objects. Kane also admits that there are many questions left unanswered regarding how favorable conditions for life on Earth evolved over time. He issued an even more interesting statement:

By measuring the properties of exoplanets whose evolutionary pathways may be similar to our own, we gain a preview into the past and future of this planet—and what we must do to main its habitability.

As UFO’s are constantly being reported by citizens from all over the world, they don’t necessarily have to be flying saucers controlled by little green men with pointy ears. UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object, which means that people could be dealing with any object that was not yet identified, such as a meteor or any other kind of space debris. Some widespread speculations dated from about half a century ago claim that astronomers have already encountered hostile alien civilizations living on the Moon. This could explain why NASA never went to the Moon again since 1972 with the Apollo 17 mission. Gene Cernan, Ronald Evans, and Harrison Schmitt were the members for that last flight.

The new study was published recently in the Astronomical Journal.

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Cristian Antonescu

About the Author: Cristian Antonescu

With a strong passion for astronomy since he was little and hundreds of articles written about this field, Cristian is a reliable writer who keeps the website up-to-date with news about the wonders of the Universe.

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