NASA’s quest for habitable planets similar too Earth continues, with a growing list of planets that could sustain alien and human.
There are now a total of 50 exoplanets far beyond our solar system, that are of interest to astronomers and astrophysicists across the globe.
In the search for exoplanets, the key goal is to find worlds that sit in the habitable “Goldilocks Zone,” a region that is neither too close nor too far from a star, but just close enough to sustain liquid water.
For years Nasa considered the habitable zone to be a “remarkably small” portion of space. But research in the field proves the conditions needed to sustain life are much broader than initially presumed.
“Scientists have found microbes in nuclear reactors, microbes that love acid, microbes that swim in boiling-hot water.
“Whole ecosystems have been discovered around deep sea vents where sunlight never reaches and the emerging vent-water is hot enough to melt lead. The Goldilocks Zone is bigger than we thought.”
Here are some of the most exciting exoplanets that could host life.
Astronomers and scientists manning the powerful Kepler spacetelescope made a startling discovery in October 2017, when they uncovered 20 new and potentially habitable planets.
Among the most exciting of discoveries is exoplanet KOI-7923.01.
The planet is roughly about 97 per cent the size of Earth and has an orbital period of 395 days – the only caveat is that it is likely covered in a cold tundra, similar to Siberia.
But the planet is still warm enough to maintain liquid water, a prerequisite needed for sustaining life.
Nasa’s Jeff Coughlin believes the discovery of KOI-7923.01, has the potential for a future space colonisation mission.
He told News Scientist: “If you had to choose one to send a spacecraft to, it’s not a bad option.”
But the list of Kepler’s discoveries could contain more hidden gems within its records. The telescope observed an incredible 150,000 stars between 2009 and 2013.
In fact, the 20 selected planets were chosen from a pool of 8,054 “Kepler Objects of Interest”, which were then whittled down to 4,034 exoplanet candidates.