A new study argues that planets similar to Earth could be more prevalent in the universe than it was previously thought.
One of the researchers who contributed to the study stated that the universe is filled with a large number of rocky planets, and many of them may be similar to Earth. The team of researchers crafted a new method that allows them to survey the geochemistry of planets, which are located beyond the boundaries of our solar system. A large number of fragments that came from asteroids and rocky planets were analyzed.
The feat is quite impressive since analyzing the chemical structure of rocks which aren’t from our solar system is quite complicated.
Unlike regular stars, white dwarfs are the burning remains of what used to be stars. They can generate a mighty gravitational pull that attracts heavy elements, among which we can count nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon, to sink towards the inner areas. As the elements start to sink they are no longer visible when regular tools are used.
Previous studies have shown that the massive force generated by the white dwarf can shred an asteroid into fragments that are consumed. With the help of powerful telescopes the team observed traces of materials like silicon, magnesium, oxygen, and carbon, which were visible.
Many will remember that when the iron is oxidized a bond is established between its electron and oxygen in the form of a chemical link. This process is known under the name of oxidation, and it is responsible for the appearance of rust.
The rocks which were observed during the study were similar to present on Mars and Earth when oxidized iron was observed. By using the new method, the researchers can determine the geochemistry of specific rocks and compare it with one of the rocks found on Earth and Mars.
The results were published in a scientific journal.