While there have been a number of researches and experiments done to find life elsewhere in the cosmos most of which have been unsuccessful but then a new research paper was recently published with the title “In Search for a Planet Better than Earth,” which might just be the shot we have to take in preserving our specie should earth meet its doom somedays in the far future.
Washington State University (WSU) geobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch led a study published in the journal Astrobiology last month. In their publications were two dozen exoplanets which are located outside our solar system that are incredibly habitable for life than just humans alone.
There were sets of criteria that the researchers have set for planets in order to qualify as a potentially superhabitable for human and other life forms. Among the list are things like the age which should be between 5 billion and 8 billion years old where as our Earth is about 4.5 billion years old while the location should be within a star’s habitable zone where liquid water could exist.
Instead of just looking for planets that ae more like earth, the team instead made their search for planets that are more massive. “One that is about 1.5 times Earth’s mass would be expected to retain its interior heating through radioactive decay longer and would also have a stronger gravity to retain an atmosphere over a longer time period,” said WSU in a statement on Monday.
They further applied their criteria to some 4,500 known exoplanets and identified that 24 of them are the closest to fitting the criteria being set. Even though none of the individual planet checked all boxes, they gave a better angle about being hospitable to life forms.
Although they seems very habitable for humans, there are still more to be uncovered about these potential future homes of our species. “Habitability does not mean these planets definitely have life, merely the conditions that would be conducive to life,” WSU said. An even bigger issue is the candidates are all over 100 light-years away which are just too far to ever reach.
The big take away is knowing that there is probably going to be a place that could be suitable in the future when we’re able to build powerful and ultra fast space ships that can reach these planets within an average human lifetime.
Another thing is that we could also direct resources of next-gen space telescopes towards these planets to learn more about them.
“We have to focus on certain planets that have the most promising conditions for complex life,” Schulze-Makuch said. “However, we have to be careful to not get stuck looking for a second Earth because there could be planets that might be more suitable for life than ours.”