- Two candidate planets match all criteria ‘exactly’
- 47 others – including 15 expoplanets and 20 exomoons might be habitable
- First attempt to combine scientific scales for judging habitability
Nasa’s Kepler mission has been finding new worlds at an incredible rate over the past year – but scientists have been identifying ‘exoplanets’ for nearly two decades.
Now scientists have started a systematic ‘index’ to categorise which planets might be ‘habitable’ – and so far, we’ve found 47 planets and moons that might fit the bill.
The Planetary Habitability Laboratory (PHL) of the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo (UPR Arecibo) judges candidates by where they sit in their solar system, and what type they are. Most of the 700 planets so far detected are no-go zones – but 47 look promising.
Over 700 exoplanets have been detected and confirmed with thousands more still waiting further confirmation by missions such as NASA Kepler.
Most of these are gas giants, similar to Jupiter and Neptune, but orbiting very dangerously close to their stars.
Only a few have the right size and orbit to be considered suitable for any life.
‘One important outcome of these rankings is the ability to compare exoplanets from best to worst candidates for life,’ says Abel Méndez, Director of the PHL and principal investigator of the project.
The catalog uses new habitability assessments like the Earth Similarity Index (ESI), the Habitable Zones Distance (HZD), the Global Primary Habitability (GPH), classification systems, and comparisons with Earth past and present.
According to Méndez, ‘New observations with ground and orbital observatories will discover thousands of exoplanets in the coming years. We expect that the analyses contained in our catalog will help to identify, organize, and compare the life potential of these discoveries.’
The catalog lists and categorizes exoplanets discoveries using various classification systems, including tables of planetary and stellar properties.
One of the classifications divides them into eighteen mass and thermal categories, creating a table similar to a periodic table for exoplanets. Additional resources of the catalog will include scientific visualizations and stellar maps of exoplanets.
Only two confirmed exoplanets so far match the criteria for habitability in the catalog, Gliese 581d and HD 85512b – both of which are Earthlike. However, the catalog identifies over 15 exoplanets and 30 exomoons as potentialkthabitable candidates.
Future observations with new instruments, such as the proposed NASA Terrestrial Planet Finder, will be necessary to confirm the suitability for life of any of these candidates.
‘I hope this database will help increase interest in building a big space-based telescope to observe exoplanets directly and look for possible signatures of life,’ says Jim Kasting, an expert on planetary habitability science from Penn State.
(AUTHOR’S NOTE: As each day passes, it seems that we continuously get inundated with news and info regarding ‘new planets’, ‘new worlds’, ancient aliens, etc al, and all it’s doing is front-loading us with the notion of the return of the ancient Sumerian gods, as referenced in Genesis 6, otherwise known as fallen angels.
Please be wise to this, as “mens hearts shall fail them for what is to come UPON the earth”, Luke 21;26.
They WON’T come in PEACE.)
“Keep your nose to the ground and your eyes to the sky and don’t fall for the greatest lie.”