Perhaps the search for habitable planets is slowing down now

Perhaps the search for habitable planets is slowing down now

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Searching for potentially life-bearing planets This has now reduced considerably.

Scientists have been hoping for a long time Theoretically The most common type of star in our universe, called M dwarfs, can host nearby planets with carbon-rich atmospheres suitable for life. But in a new study of a world orbiting an M dwarf 66 light-years from Earth, researchers found no indication that such a planet could sustain an atmosphere.

Without a carbon-rich atmosphere, the planet would be unlikely to host life. After all, carbon molecules are the building blocks of life. The results don’t bode well for other types of planets orbiting M dwarfs, said Michelle Hill, a planetary scientist and doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside.

“The radiation pressure from the star is so great that it can squeeze out the planet’s atmosphere,” Hill said. Recorded on the University website.

M dwarf stars are unstable, emit solar flares, and shower radiation on nearby celestial bodies.

But relatively large planets orbiting M dwarfs were expected for years to be in a Goldilocks environment, hot enough for their young star to stay warm and large enough for their atmospheres to cling to it.

according to A new studyAdvertisements The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

A similar phenomenon occurs in our solar system: Earth’s atmosphere deteriorates due to explosions from its nearest star, the Sun. The difference, according to the study, is that Earth has enough volcanic activity and other gas-emitting activity to compensate for the loss to the atmosphere.

However, the study looked at the dwarf planet M. Giga 1252BInitially accreted, “could contain up to 700 times more carbon than Earth, with no atmosphere,” study co-author and UC Riverside astronomer Stephen Cain said in a press release. But then it fades and decays.

GJ 1252b orbits less than a million miles from its star, called GJ_1252. The study found that the planet experiences an extreme daytime temperature of 2,242 degrees Fahrenheit (1,228 degrees Celsius).

The planet’s existence was first suggested by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Reconnaissance Mission, or TESS. Astronomers say the nearly 17-year-old Spitzer Space Telescope zoomed in on the region in January 2020, 10 days ago. Spitzer is permanently inactive.

The investigation into whether GJ 1252b has an atmosphere was led by University of Kansas astronomer Ian Crosfield, and included a team of researchers from the University of California, Riverside, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of California, Maryland, and the Carnegie Institution. Science and Max Planck. Institute for Astronomy at McGill University, University of New Mexico, and University of Montreal.

They examined Spitzer’s data for signs of emission, or signs that a bubble of gas might surround the planet. As the telescope passes the planet behind its star, Hill said, it allows researchers to “look at the starlight as it passes through the planet’s atmosphere,” providing a “spectral signature of the atmosphere,” or lack thereof.

Hill added that he wasn’t surprised to see no sign of Joe, but he was disappointed. It searches for moons and planets in “habitable zones,” and its results make it intriguing to look at worlds orbiting M dwarf stars.

Researchers hope to get a clearer picture of these types of planets using the James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful space telescope to date.

The web will soon take notice Trappist-1 system“It’s also an M dwarf star with a cluster of rocky planets around it,” Hill noted.

“There’s a lot of hope that it will be able to tell us whether these planets have atmospheres around them,” she added. “I think fans of M dwarfs are holding their breath right now to see if we can determine whether these planets have atmospheres around them.”

However, there are still plenty of interesting places for habitable worlds. In addition to looking at planets far away from M dwarfs that could potentially retain atmospheres, there are still about 1,000 Sun-like stars relatively close to Earth, according to the UC Riverside website about the study. . .

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