Earth may not be the best planet in the universe at all. Researchers have identified dozens of planets outside the solar system that may better meet our needs on Earth. Their stars may even outperform the sun.
A study by scientists at the University of Washington describes just such planets. The top 24 planets most suitable for life are not far from 100 light-years away. New telescopes, on which both NASA and ESA are actively working, will allow us to observe them.
“The new telescopes will allow us to obtain more data, so we need to select target objects: we need to focus on specific planets that have the most suitable environment for the existence of complex life forms,” said study author Dirk Schultz-Masuk.
Researchers have begun searching for planetary star systems where Earth-like planets may have been located. Our sun has a small cycle compared to life. It took nearly 4 billion years for life forms to form on Earth, and sun-like stars called G stars may run out of fuel before complex life develops.
In addition to G-stars, researchers have also observed K-dwarfs that are slightly cooler, less massive, and less luminous in our sun. K stars live very long – from 20 to 70 billion years. This time will allow the planets revolving around them to form such complex forms of life as on Earth. However, these planets should not be too old. The Earth is 4.5 billion years old, however, researchers say the ideal age for life is between 5 and 8 billion years. Size and mass are also important: the planet, which is 10% larger than Earth, will have more habitable land. And those planets that have 1.5 times the mass of Earth will have stronger gravity to hold the atmosphere longer.
As for water, it is crucial for life and, according to researchers, even a small amount of it will be useful. It should be noted that among the 24 selected planets, none of them meets all the requirements at once.