Stop Looking For An ‘Earth 2.0,’ Say Scientists As They Detect An Even Better ‘Superhabitable’ World
Our planet is the best there is, right? Not necessarily, say researchers at Washington State University who have produced a list of 24 planets outside our Solar System that are not only Earth-like, but may even be better than Earth.
The list—which is intended to be a “to do” list for a bunch of powerful telescopes due to go live in the next few years—includes planets that are older, a little larger, slightly warmer and possibly wetter than Earth, and which orbit stars with longer lifespans than our Sun.
The researchers—whose work is published this week in the journal Astrobiology—think the worlds in the list contain some that could be called “super-habitable.” That means they could be places where life could more easily thrive than on Earth.
Cue an MVP—Most Valuable Planet—which is likely to be larger than Earth and easier to detect than Earth-like planets.
If we want to find life elsewhere in the galaxy then “superhabitable” planets may deserve higher priority than most Earth-like planets, say the researchers.
How could another planet possibly be more suitable for life than Earth? To an Earthling with only one reference point, it sounds like a crazy question.
Here’s everything you need to know about the search for “super-habitable” planets where life may not only exist, but thrive.
Where are the ‘super-habitable’ planets?
Sadly, all of the 24 planets are in star systems that are over 100 light-years from the Solar System. The researchers went through the list of the over 4,500 known exoplanets in our Milky Way. They didn’t look for life, but only for the general conditions that would be conducive to complex life—defined as