/‘Super-Earths’ Could Host Alien Life for 84 Billion Years, Study Finds

‘Super-Earths’ Could Host Alien Life for 84 Billion Years, Study Finds

Key idea: Life on a rogue Super-Earth would be difficult, but organisms have been shown to thrive even in very extreme conditions on regular Earth.

Original author and publication date: Becky Ferreira – June 27, 2022

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Life on Earth is around 4 billion years old. We can’t even image a life that’s 20 times older. Yet, it could be out there.

From the article:

A special class of planets could potentially host life for as long as tens of billions of years, according to a new study.

Super-Earths, which are rocky planets that are more massive than Earth but smaller than ice giants such as Neptune, are abundant in star systems across the Milky Way; indeed, our own solar system may be somewhat of an outlier in lacking this type of world.

Now, scientists led by Marit Mol Lous, a PhD student studying exoplanets at the University of Zürich, have presented new evidence that so-called “cold Super-Earths” that orbit their stars at more than twice the distance between Earth and the Sun, “can maintain temperate surface conditions” for up to give to eight billion years, a timespan that “suggests that the concept of planetary habitability should be revisited and made more inclusive,” according to a study published on Monday (June 27, 2022) in Nature Astronomy.

In addition, Mol Lous and her colleagues found that some Super-Earths that are kicked out of their home star systems by gravitational perturbations, or other mechanisms, could potentially maintain liquid water habitats for as much as 84 billion years, because these rogue worlds would not be affected by the death of any host star.

“Here we argue that it should be considered that habitable planets could be very different from Earth, and that we should remain open-minded when investigating such potentially habitable planets,” Mol Lous said in an email. “

Of course, it is also important to remain cautious and not jump into conclusions when considering such ‘exotic’ habitats as we know very little, and a lot can be left to speculation.”

READ the full article here