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Astronomers have found potential life-sustaining conditions on the nearest planet.



In August 2016, astronomers at the European Southwest Observatory (ESO) announced the discovery of an alien planet in a nearby system of Proxima Centauri. This news was the closest rock planet to our solar system, which gave us considerable excitement about orbiting within the stars' residential areas.

Since then, several studies have been conducted to determine if this planet can actually sustain life.

Unfortunately, most studies have pointed to poor residence. While the volatility of the Proxima centaurs and the planets are firmly fixed to the star, life will be hard to survive there.

But for example, in the early Earth life, a new study by a researcher at the Carl Sagan Institute (CSI) shows that life can eventually have a chance to fight Proxima b.

Impression of the writer on the surface of Proxima b turning a red dwarf. (ESO)Impression of the writer on the surface of Proxima b turning a red dwarf. (ESO)

The research, which was recently published on the monthly issue of the Royal Astronomical Society, was conducted by Jack O & Malley-James, researcher and director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University, It was carried out by Lisa Kaltenegger.

Together, they examined the level of initial UV flux that planets orbiting the M-type (red dwarf) stars would experience and compared it to the conditions of the primordial Earth.

The potential residence of red dwarf systems has been discussed by scientists for decades. On the other hand, various characteristics are encouraged. At least they have nothing in common.

Essentially, red dwarfs are the most common type of stars in space, accounting for 85% of stars in the Milky Way alone.

They also have the longest life span that lasts billions of years. Finally, the most important thing seems to be the star that is most likely to host a system of rock planets.

This is evidenced by the tremendous number of rock planets found around adjacent red dwarfs, such as the Proxima b, Ross 128b, LHS 1140b, Gliese 667Cc, GJ 536, and the seven rock planets in the TRAPPIST-1 orbit.

The artist's impression of a planet orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1 with a tiny red dwarf. (ESO)The artist's impression of a planet orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1 with a tiny red dwarf. (ESO)

Red dwarfs, however, cause many hurdles to addiction, but they are also the most variable and unstable. As O'Malley-James explained to Universe Today via email:

"The main barrier to the addictive nature of this world is host-based activity, and regular antananarines can take these planets as high-biologically harmonious creatures, and long-term attacks of X-ray radiation, If you can not fill it quickly, the host's particle flux can cause this planet's atmosphere to be removed over time. "

For generations, scientists have had difficulty with the question of the residence of planets orbiting red dwarfs.

Unlike our sun, this ultra-compact dwarf star of low mass is variable, unstable, and easy to flare up. These sparks emit many high-energy ultraviolet rays, which, as we know, can harm lives and remove the planet's atmosphere.

This puts a considerable limitation on the ability of a planet orbiting a red dwarf to generate life or to dwell for a long time. But as we have seen in previous studies, most of this depends on the density and composition of the planet's atmosphere, not to mention whether or not the planets have magnetic fields.

To determine if life can withstand these conditions, O & # 39; Malley-James and Kaltenegger considered some conditions on Earth about 4 billion years ago.

At that time the surface of the earth was hostile to life as we know it today. In addition to volcanic activity and poisonous atmospheres, landscapes were bombarded by UV radiation in a similar way to M-type stars that are orbiting today.

To solve this problem, Kaltenegger and O'Melley-James have developed a four-surface UV environment, a potential inhabited extraterrestrial near Proxima-b, TRAPPIST-1e, Ross-128b and LHS-1140b, I modeled it. These range from things similar to the present Earth to "eroded" or "anaerobic" atmospheres – those that do not shield ultraviolet radiation well and do not have a protective ozone layer.

An impression of a writer of an extraterrestrial passerby around a red dwarf. (ESO / M. Kornmesser)An impression of a writer of an extraterrestrial passerby around a red dwarf. (ESO / M. Kornmesser)

This model has shown that higher energy ultraviolet radiation can reach the surface as the atmosphere becomes thinner and ozone levels decrease. But the results were interesting when they compared models that were on Earth about 4 billion years ago. As O & # 39; Malley-James said:

"The surprising result was that the level of surface UV radiation was higher than we have experienced on Earth today, but an interesting result is that the UV level for planets around the most active stars is lower than the earth they have all experienced. Earth's life support, so life on the planet of the M-star system may not be so horrible after all. "

In essence, this means that living creatures can be present in neighboring planets, such as Proxima b, despite the fact that they are exposed to a harsh level of radiation. Considering Proxima Centauri's age is 48.53 billion years, about 200 million years have been older than our sun. Potential residence cases may be more interesting.

The current scientific consensus is that the Earth's first living creature appeared a billion years later (3.5 billion years ago) when the Earth was formed. Assuming Proxima b was formed as a debris disc of a round stem immediately after Proxima Centauri was born, it would have had enough time to get an important footing as well as the emergence of life.

The life can only consist of a single cell organism, but it is nonetheless encouraging. In addition to noting that life in our solar system and nearby planets can be very good, scientists offer constraints on what kinds of vital signs can be perceived when they are studied. O & # 39; Malley-James concluded that:

"The results of this study have established a world of single-celled microorganisms (prokaryotes) that have been focused on life on Earth, billions of years ago, with a high level of ultraviolet radiation. This ancient biosphere may overlap most with the following conditions: Because we have an inhabitable planet around the M-star, we can provide the best clues to find life on this star system. "

As always, exploration of life in space begins with the study of the earth because it is the only example of an inhabitable planet. It is therefore important to understand how the earth's geological history has changed, survived, thrived and responded to the environment.

While we knew the only planet that sustained life, the life was remarkably diverse and changed dramatically over time.

Check out the video on the latest research results from CSI and Cornell University.

This article was first published by Universe Today. Read the original article.


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