GANDHINAGER, WNS: If we thought that Earth is just the perfect planet for human beings to thrive, then we might be wrong as scientists have discovered two-dozen planets that are habitable and perhaps support suitable conditions for the thriving of life forms. The research found out that there are at least 24 Superhabitable planets which may support life better than the Earth.
As per the research conducted by the team led by scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University and published in the journal Astrobiology — researchers have rummaged for the planets which are older, slightly warmer and wetter than the Earth.
In the process, scientists went through observing over 4,500 exoplanets and were able to find out 24 planets based on certain parameters that gave evidences of a conducive environment for life-supporting conditions although no life has yet been confirmed on those planets. Moreover, all these planets are 100 light-years away from the Earth located outside the Solar System.
The scope of life on any planet significantly depends upon the star it orbits. Earth which is 4.5 billion years old, orbits around the Sun that has relatively shorter lifespan of less than 10 billion years while complex life appeared on the Earth only after 4 billion years. The research also suggests that there may be the origin of better life on those planets which are 5 to 8 billion years old and are revolving changing stars with longer lifespan than the Sun at a lower speed.
Scientists further classified these stars into G-stars which have lifespan less than that of 10 billion years and K-stars that are comparatively cooler, dwarf stars with lifespan of 20 to 70 billion years. As a consequence, appearance of complex life may not take place in conducive manner on those planets which are revolving around a G-star as their star may run out of fuel before any substantial form of complex life develops on them. On the contrary, those planets orbiting K-stars may have favourable outcomes pertaining to the appearance of intricate life processes due to longer lifespan of its star.
In addition, mass of the planet was also one of the promising factors to determine evidence regarding life-formation. The research concluded that the planet which is 10 percent larger than the Earth will be having greater area of habitable land with larger mass and would be able to easily retain its interior heating through radioactive decay. This would, eventually make the gravitational force on the planet much stronger and hence it will be able to retain its atmosphere substantially.
Apart from these, Surface temperature also play a crucial role in indicating any life-supporting evidences as it would decide the formation of water, moisture and clouds. Planets having comparatively 5 degree-Celsius higher temperature than the Earth might be suitable for better conditions of life as overall higher temperature with greater moisture can lead to emanation of diverse forms of life as it is also corroborated by Earth’s biodiversity.
Researchers have further claimed that out of 24 superhabitable planets, only one planet has depicted various life-supporting evidences while Scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch affirmed that such a discovery would help in accentuating future observation through NASA’s James Web Telescope, LUVIOR Space telescope and PLATO space telescope.