A team of experts from the San Francisco State University has released a catalogue of Earth candidate planets. In our search for intelligent life on other planets, it is essential that we find the appropriate environment to support it. This is why the team released the Earth candidate list, which contains 20 planets which are strikingly similar to Earth.
Stephen Kane, associate professor of physics and astronomy pointed out that the catalog identifies all planets that orbit in the habitable zone, close to their parent star.
This study is going to help scientists focus their efforts towards understanding more about the listed planets.
For a planet to be able to support life, as we define it, it has to be in the “Goldilocks zone”. That zone represents a region relatively close to the star, where the temperature is mild enough to give a chance for the existence of liquid water.
Kepler-62f is an exoplanet almost twice the size of Earth. Located 1,200 light-years away from us, it is one of the few planets which could have life-supporting conditions.
Previous computer studies have come to the conclusion that Kepler-62f could support life all year-round, but only if it has a thick atmosphere made almost entirely of carbon dioxide. If it doesn’t meet those conditions, it could still host life temporarily, as it orbits the habitable zone for most of the year.
The 20 planets included in the catalogue fulfill two conditions: they orbit within the habitable zone and they’re made of mostly rock. These are the types of planets which have the best chances of hosting life.
Because the number of planet candidates is almost unlimited, the study is a step forward in finding answers to the jackpot question – “Are we alone in the Universe?”
Last time the Kepler telescope counted, it found over 4,700 planets which fit the profile, out of which 2,300 have been found with a high potential for harboring life.
All of these twenty planets also appear to have large oceans of liquid water. However, because they are located so far away, scientists can’t be sure what the exact composition of these planets is.
Scientists need to do more research in this field and possibly employ better tools than the ones we’re currently using, to one day find a planet which supports life.
Image Source – Wikipedia