According to a new study, about 10% of the water-rich exoplanets out there in the Universe can support extraterrestrial life. One of the main factors that the scientists took into account was the stability of the rock and water systems. The chemistry of the ocean, the sum of positive charges filtered by the planetary crust, the accumulation of carbon dioxide, and so on, were also taken into consideration.
Modern astrophysics is not limited to estimating how many water-rich exoplanets are out there. A computer model developed in the United States predicts how many of these “water worlds” can grow and sustain life for more than one billion years.
The authors of this new model are Edwin Kite and Eric Ford, affiliated with the Universities of Chicago and Pennsylvania, respectively. Their recently published study argues that extraterrestrial life can exist on many rocky planets, some of which are “very different from the Earth, as some of which may be completely covered with water of hundreds of kilometers deep,” the study’s authors stated.
Water-rich exoplanets can sustain extraterrestrial life even if they orbit red dwarfs
“This really pushes back the idea that you need a clone of the Earth, a planet with some land and a shallow ocean,” Kite said. Additionally, it is revealed that these water-rich exoplanets may be at their optimal point for habitability for longer than scientists previously admitted.
More than a thousand simulations led the two researchers to these conclusions, while they had started from the idea that the host stars of these water-rich exoplanets should be like our Sun for them to sustain life. However, the study’s results are also optimistic regarding the red dwarf stars.
Researchers think that exoplanets orbiting red dwarf systems are promising candidates for hosting extraterrestrial life because these kinds of stars become brighter much more slowly than the Sun, so life has much more time to evolve.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.