A Washington State University team led by Dirk Schulze-Makuch has found 24 potential ¨superhabital¨ planets. The term ´superhabitale´ comes from the theory that Earth, the only known place with life in the universe, is not the optimal place for life to develop and thrive. A superhabitale planet is slightly older, a bit warmer, and perhaps has more water than the Earth. This while having a Jupiter-like planet vacuuming the solar system for possible astroids. Moreover, the sun of a superhabitale planet is more stable and has a longer lifespan than ours.
Professor Schulze-Makuch had the following to say: “The study could help focus future observation efforts, such as from NASA’s James Web Space Telescope, the LUVIOR space observatory, and the European Space Agency’s PLATO space telescope.”
There is however a considerable distance of over a hunderd light years between us and these other earth-like planets.
“With the next space telescopes coming up, we will get more information, so it is important to select some targets. We have to focus on certain planets that have the most favorable conditions for complex Life. However, we have to be careful not to get stuck looking for a second Earth because there could be planets that might be more suitable for Life than ours.”
To date, we have found over 4000 exoplanets. Some of these are likely hospital for life, as we know it. These 24 new planets, that might be super habitable, further add to the odds that we are not alone out there.
The scientists conducting the study see that rethinking our anthropocentric view of the universe and life could be crucial in our mission to find what else is out there.
The team looked for planets about 1.5 times as massive as the earth. Due to the increased gravitational pull, these planets would have a denser atmosphere. Moreover, there would be more surface for complex life and ecosystems to develop.
Schulze-Makuch said, “It’s sometimes difficult to convey this principle of superhabitable planets because we think we have the best planet. We have many complex and diverse lifeforms and many that can survive in extreme environments. It is good to have adaptable Life, but that doesn’t mean that we have the best of everything.”