Astronomers rank planets that may sustain life in a study published in the Astrophysical Journal.
Our solar system contains almost 4,600 planets. Almost 1,700 of them vary in size from a big Earth to a little Neptune. This ranging size means that the planet is capable of supporting human life.
Astronomers at the University of Washington’s Virtual Planet Laboratory tried to establish which of them are more suitable to support human life. In their attempt, they ranked the planets in order to see which of them is most Earth-like.
Rory Barnes, one of the study’s authors, declared in an interview that “the basic idea is: given the little bit of information we’re given about a planet, which one is the most likely to host life?”
A planet called KOI 3456.02 resembles very much the Earth both in size and in the pleasant habitability and is expected to be confirmed. From the already officially confirmed planets, Kepler-442b, which was found in January this year, seems to be the most habitable planet.
This attempt was not the first of its kind. A similar study has been made by the University of Puerto Rico, but Barnes claims his index is different in that it tries to discover not only the Earth-like planets, but also star types and dimensions.
Concerning the planet occupying the first position in this rank, KOI 3456.02 is thought to have a longer rotation period than the Earth; it’s also a little bigger and is 90% suitable to live in.
This rating does not necessarily mean that a planet will or could hold life. It simply means that planets are capable of holding water and other elements that could support human life.
Jeff Coughlin, a scientist, claimed that this index is one of the most detailed.
Over the last two decades, thousands of such exoplanets have been identified, mainly with NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope.
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