December 9, 2022
Super planets are larger, more common, and more habitable than Earth

Super planets are larger, more common, and more habitable than Earth

Astronomers now routinely discover planets that orbit stars outside the solar system – they are called planets. outer planets. But in the summer of 2022 in the northern hemisphere, teams working on NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) found some intriguing planets orbiting in the habitable zones of their parent stars.

Another reason that super-Earths are ideal targets in the search for life is that they are easier to detect and study than Earth-sized planets. There are two methods astronomers use to discover exoplanets. One is looking for the effect of the planet’s gravity on its parent star, and the other is looking for a brief dimming of the star’s light as the planet passes in front of it. Both detection methods are easier with a larger planet.

Super habitable planets

More than 300 years ago, German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz argued that the Earth was “the best of all possible worlds.” Leibniz’s argument was intended to address the question of why evil exists, but modern astrobiologists have explored a similar question by asking the question of what makes a planet hospitable to life. It turns out that Earth isn’t the best of all possible worlds.

Due to Earth’s tectonic activity and changes in the brightness of the Sun, the climate has changed over time from boiling ocean to freezing cold across the entire planet. Earth has been uninhabitable for humans and larger creatures for most of its 4.5 billion year history. The simulation indicates that the file The long-term habitability of the land was not inevitableBut a matter of luck. Humans are literally lucky to be alive.

Researchers have created a file Feature List Which makes a planet very conducive to life. Larger planets are more likely to be geologically active, a trait that scientists believe will boost biological evolution. Thus, the most habitable planet would be approximately twice the mass of the Earth and have between 20% and 30% more in size. It would also have oceans shallow enough for light to stimulate life up to the sea floor and an average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. It would have a thicker atmosphere than the Earth’s, which would act as an insulating cover. Finally, such a planet would orbit a star older than the Sun to give life more time to evolve, and it would have A strong magnetic field protects you from cosmic radiation. Scientists believe that these traits combined will make the planet habitable.

By definition, a super-Earth has many of the attributes of a super-habitable planet. So far, astronomers have discovered Twenty Earth-like exoplanets Which is, if not the best of all possible worlds, theoretically more habitable than Earth.

Recently, there has been an interesting addition to the inventory of habitable planets. Astronomy scientists The discovery of exoplanets began who went expelled from their star systemsAnd there could be billions of them wandering the Milky Way. If the giant Earth was expelled from its star system and had a dense atmosphere and a watery surface, it could It preserves life for tens of billions of yearsmuch longer than life on Earth can last before the sun dies.

One From the newly discovered super-Earth, TOI-1452b, it may be covered by a deep ocean and aid life. Credit: Benoit Gougeon, University of Montreal, CC BY-ND

Detecting life on super-Earth

To detect life on distant exoplanets, astronomers will look for biosignatures, which are byproducts of biology that can be detected in a planet’s atmosphere.