Do Earth-like Exoplanets Represent Something Common? What A Study Suggests

The Universe is unimaginably big, even bigger than Trump’s speeches when he talks about his wealth. We can understand how big our Universe is only by describing its sizes with mathematics since human comprehension can’t even fathom the tremendous distances between galaxies or clusters of galaxies.

Therefore, in a Universe that has at least 93 billion light years in diameter, as scientists estimated it, there’s enough chances to find in it almost anything. Why not even Earth-like planets with a major potential of sustaining life?

New UCLA study says Earth-like planets may not be something unusual

We all know that the planets from our own solar systems are very different than Earth. Scientists led by Alexandra Doyle who is a graduate student of geochemistry and astrochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), came up with a new method to analyze the geochemistry of planets outside our solar system for the study, which was published in the journal Science this week.

Co-author Edward Young, UCLA professor of geochemistry and cosmochemistry, said in a statement: “We have just raised the probability that many rocky planets are like the Earth, and there’s a very large number of rocky planets in the universe,”

Finding a white dwarf star is the key

The scientists studied elements very common in rocky planets: calcium, iron, oxygen, silicon, magnesium, and aluminium.

“Observing a white dwarf is like doing an autopsy on the contents of what it has gobbled in its solar system,” Doyle said.

“They are Earth-like and Mars-like in terms of their oxidized iron. We’re finding that rocks are rocks everywhere, with very similar geophysics and geochemistry,” she added.

“If extraterrestrial rocks have a similar quantity of oxidation as the Earth has, then you can conclude the planet has similar plate tectonics and similar potential for magnetic fields as the Earth, which are widely believed to be key ingredients for life,” said co-author Hilke Schlichting, UCLA associate professor of astrophysics and planetary science. “This study is a leap forward in being able to make these inferences for bodies outside our own solar system and indicates it’s very likely there are truly Earth analogs.”

The analyzed data was collected mostly by the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, according to UCLA.

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