Fly Me To The Exoplanet

Though astronomers are still awaiting concrete evidence, theoretical arguments suggest that many exoplanets should be able to maintain an atmosphere as massive that of Earth. Pictured is an artist's impression of a hypothetical planetary system.

Though astronomers are still awaiting concrete evidence, theoretical arguments suggest that many exoplanets should be able to maintain an atmosphere as massive that of Earth. Pictured is an artist’s impression of a hypothetical planetary system.

Whoa, things have really gone tits up on Planet Earth if with all seriousness people talk about habitable exoplanets, having babies on Mars, and new scientific theories lead to a massive boost in the hunt for alien life.
Future of humanity

Astronomers have been focusing largely on Earth-like planets around distant space for traces of alien life. However, some exoplanets might have the ability to hold water and are believed to be locked in a rotation around their sun with only one side facing the sun. But the new research shows that exoplanets rotate around their stars and have day-night cycles just like the Earth. The new theory might state that there are increasing chances of finding life on these celestial bodies.

“Planets with potential oceans could have a climate that is much more similar to Earth’s than previously expected. If we are correct, there is no permanent, cold night side on exoplanets causing water to remain trapped in a gigantic ice sheet.” (Jérémy Leconte, a postdoctoral fellow at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) at the University of Toronto.)

Dr Leconte also said that the new understanding of exoplanets’ climate will pave the way for answering more questions about whether these planets are capable of supporting life.


Kepler-16b is unique as it orbits two stars. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Kepler-16b has something the other exoplanets cannot offer: a double sunset! The exoplanet, discovered in 2011 by the Kepler spacecraft, is unlikely to be habitable but could provide a unique travel experience. The Saturn-size planet may be a gas giant and too cold to sustain life, but it’s still exciting.

“Given that most stars in our galaxy are part of a binary system, this means the opportunities for life are much broader than if planets form only around single stars. This milestone discovery confirms a theory that scientists have had for decades but could not prove until now.” ( William Borucki, principal Kepler investigator.)


NASA’s travel poster for HD 40307g, which could be a “Super-Earth” or a “mini-Neptune.” NASA/JPL-Caltech

There is plenty of mystery surrounding HD 40307g. The exoplanet is one of six orbiting the star HD 40307 and is in the star’s habitable zone. HD 40307g is eight times more massive and at least twice the size of Earth. It’s located 42 light-years away in the constellation Pictor. Its composition and atmosphere are still unknown; it may or may not be rocky. The planet receives almost as much light as Earth and is not tidally locked, meaning it is likely to rotate like our planet.

Hopefully NASA will keep the exoplanet travel bureau going and create posters based on new exoplanet discoveries. Two candidates could be Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b. The exoplanets are likely to be rocky and were found in the habitable zone of their respective host stars.


In separate research, astronomers said they believe there are two unknown planets waiting to be discovered well beyond Pluto. They claim these planets are changing the position of objects away from Neptune, causing them to behave in strange ways.  These objects, known as ETNOs (Extreme Trans-Neptunian Objects), describe minor worlds such as Pluto that orbit the sun at a greater average distance than Neptune.


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