With the way resources are depleting on Earth every day, it might be wise to invest in another planet. And according to scientists, there could be a potentially habitable planet around 100 light years away. It is understood that the average life expectancy would be close to 3,158 years. The discovery of such a planet did cause quite a mini storm in astronomical circles.
The planet was discovered orbiting the star TOI-4306. Laetitia Delrez and her team made the discovery. For those who are unaware, this star is about 6.5 times smaller than our Sun. Also, it is about half as hot. This planet has been named LP890-9b or TOI-4306b. When compared to Earth, this planet is about 30% bigger. Interestingly, it manages to orbit its star in just 2.7 days.
According to the census report of 2021, the current life expectancy on average is 73.5 years. But since this new planet revolves around its star in just 2.7 days, this does imply a life expectancy of about 9,943. Imagine living as long as that! This planet was first captured by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite of NASA. This is a space mission that has been known to investigate exoplanets. Again, for those who are unaware, exoplanets are potentially habitable planets just outside our own solar system.
After the primary discovery, the confirmation of this planet was done by SPECULOOS (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing Ultra-cOOl Stars) telescopes. The arrangement for such state-of-the-art machinery was done at the University of Liege. Since these telescopes are quite high-powered, they managed to find another planet- called SPECULOOS-2c.
The Potentially Habitable Planet Lies Amongst the Exoplanets
This potentially habitable planet is a little bigger than the previous planet. Also, it has an orbital period of 8.5 days. Therefore, if you are an average, full-bodied human, you should live for 3,158 years. Interestingly, the star is such a ‘cool star’, that the planet could in fact be seen as a viable alternative. And this information comes despite the planet being as close to its star as Mercury is to the sun.
One of the lead authors of this research, Francisco J. Pozuelos, mentioned, “Although this planet orbits very close to its star, at a distance about 10 times shorter than that of Mercury around our Sun, the amount of stellar irradiation it receives is still low, and could allow the presence of liquid water on the planet’s surface, provided it has a sufficient atmosphere. This is because the star LP 890-9 is about 6.5 times smaller than the Sun and has a surface temperature half that of our star. This explains why LP 890-9c, despite being much closer to its star than the Earth is to the sun, could still have conditions that are suitable for life.”
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The University of Bern, along with the National Centre of Competence in Research conducted the study. While the inner planet might be a tad bit dangerous to live in as it is too hot to hold water, the other turns out to be a perfectly habitable planet. According to Dr. Robert Wells, “This second planet receives about the same amount of stellar radiation as our Earth receives from the Sun and could therefore potentially have liquid water on its surface.” This is definitely quite an anomaly- as exoplanets are inhabitable. One of them discovered just the previous year had a base surface temperature of 2,700 degrees.
Getting There Needs A Lot Of Technology – A Call To Elon Musk?
This scientist has also emphasized the fact that just knowing that this could potentially be a habitable planet is not enough. Scientists would have to conduct a whole range of other experiments to see if you could take a summer vacation there. One also needs to take into account the cost of sending space shuttles to and fro from that planet.
Dr. Wells states, “We should not get ahead of ourselves. Being in the right spot does not guarantee a palm beach. Our neighbor planet Venus, which is, so to speak, a CO2-rich near 500 degrees Celsius pressure cooker, is also near this so-called habitable zone around the Sun. To be able to answer whether this planet can indeed hold liquid surface water or not, we need to learn more about it. This requires detailed observations- for example with the James Webb Space Telescope.”
Also, just because this habitable planet has a life expectancy of 3,158- doesn’t mean we would live for this long in terms of Earth years. Think of it as one born on Leap Year. Even though their birthday comes once in four years- they are still physically and emotionally growing with everyone else. At that point in time- it would simply be nothing but a mark on the calendar. Also, with the planet orbiting the Sun in just over a week, you would need to plan your outfits accordingly. What happens when you bring in your overcoats and mittens to find a glaring hot Sun giving you a tan?
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