We technically live in space

Life in space: researchers find 24 extremely habitable planets

Isn't the earth the best planet for life at all? Researchers have now discovered 24 Earth-like planets that have the best conditions for life. Could we live there?

There are said to be very good conditions for life on 24 exoplanets.

Photo: panthermedia.net/draco-zlat

Outside of our solar system there are 24 planetary constellationsthat have a climate similar to that on earth. They are even a lot bigger than our planet. When you hear this message, you think: Let's go! But that should be difficult even for the great visionary Elon Musk. Because the newly discovered planets are light years away.

Scientists have long been concerned with the question of whether there are habitable planets in other planetary systems. These planets outside of our solar system are called Exoplanets.

A Washington State University study found a total of 4,000 such exhibits. Space researchers identify 24 of them as habitable. A huge surprise. Again and again there are amazing discoveries, like traces of extraterrestrial life on Venus.

Space researchers are now going even further: the conditions on the new planets could be even better than on Earth. New telescopes should provide information and find out more about the constellations in space.

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On the trail of super-habitable worlds

One of the researchers is Dirk Schulze-Makuch, who works at Washington State University in the USA. Together with Rene Heller from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen and Edward Guinan from Villanova University in Pennsylvania, USA, he analyzed data from more than 4,500 known planets outside the solar system - always on the trail of habitable worlds. The 24 possible worlds were presented in the specialist journal “Astrobiology”.

According to the study, the planets would be older, larger and possibly also more humid than the earth. In this case, habitable does not mean that there is also life there. But these selected planets show the basis for it. The scientists initially focused on planets that orbit their stars in what is known as the habitable zone. In this zone, temperatures on the surface of a planet are possible for water to flow in liquid form. In addition, they should be rock planets - like Earth and Mars.

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Super habitable planets: how do researchers come to believe?

The team believes that the conditions for life could be much better. But why? This is due, for example, to the fact that the central star of the 24 planets could be more stable and has existed longer than the sun. At ten billion years, it has a comparatively short lifespan. G stars, similar to our sun, could therefore be the fuel before life is created on a planet. The scientists searched specifically for cooler G stars in the data sets - and found them 24 times.

The researchers call the ideal age of the planets between five and eight billion years. Older planets are generally better, but shouldn't be too old either, since they have exhausted their internal geothermal energy. Our earth is "only" 4.5 billion years old.

24 habitable planets: what about the water?

But what about the water? All life needs water. Planets that are slightly warmer than Earth, have more moisture, and have an average surface temperature of around five degrees Celsius could be habitable. After all, we know that there is more biodiversity in warmer and more humid tropical rainforests than in other areas.

Journey of 100 light years

Among the 24 planets, the researchers were able to fully assign most of the above criteria to only one world. This exoplanet is not around the corner, however: a spaceship would have to travel more than 100 light years to relocate people.

"When the next generation of telescopes starts now, it is important to have good observation targets," says Schulze-Makuch.

In the next few years the James Web Space Telescope, the LUVIOR Space Observatory and the ESA Mission Plato will be available.

After the 24 defined super-habitable planets, the researchers assume that there will be many more unknown treasures in space. There are many other super-earths and planets buzzing in our galaxy.

A contribution by:

  • Sarah Janczura

    Sarah Janczura is content manager and responsible editor for ingenieur.de. After an internship with a focus on social media, she worked as an online editor in a digital agency. She writes about technology, research and career topics.