Man has always been curious about the true meaning of his existence, of his position in the Universe. But what has always fascinated him above all is the probability that our galaxy harbors other forms of life. For this to be possible, there would have to be planets with characteristics close enough to those of the Earth to be potentially vital.
Thanks to data collected by the retired Kepler Space Telescope, we now know that not only does this kind of environment exist, but there are approximately 300 million of them.
Indeed, astronomer Steve Bryson of NASA’s Ames Research Center explained that these worlds may well prove to be perfectly habitable. In their quest for one of these exoplanets, scientists obviously refer to the only one that has already proven itself; Earth.
The three inevitable questions for this analysis are: is it rocky in nature? Does it revolve around a harmless star? And is its orbit safe from extreme hot and cold? But the most important thing is how many exoplanets fulfilling these three conditions are in the Milky Way.
For this, the experts based themselves on the results of the original Kepler mission carried out between May 2009 and May 2013. Of the 4034 exoplanets identified at the start, only 2300 have been confirmed. However, some tiny planets have escaped the eye of astronomers.
Over time, the smallest ex-planetary transits attenuating the star’s light have been mistaken for stellar variability.
This problem could be solved with the Robovetter software, for stars orbiting less than 500 days, but according to the team, even exoplanets with much longer orbits are also likely to be favorable for biological development.
This method of determining a star’s Goldilocks zone is actually based on the radius of the planet and the flow of photons.
Planetary scientist Ravi Kopparapu of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has claimed that, so far, the physical distance between a planet and its star, so as to achieve a temperate climate, has been the only parameter used to tell whether that – here can be populated. He added that in light of Gaia’s new information, he and his colleagues had now changed their approach.
Thus, they selected only the exoplanets whose mass varied between 0.5 and 1.5 times that of ours, and stars with temperatures ranging from 4800 to 6300 Kelvin. According to their results, there would be around 300 million.
This kind of research is of interest for the development of future expeditions to find traces of living creatures in our solar system and elsewhere.
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