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92% of Earth-Like Habitable Planets Are Not Born Yet

92% of Earth-Like Habitable Planets Are Not Born Yet

by P. H. MadoreOctober 21, 2015

According to a theoretical study published yesterday in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, only about 8% of habitable planets existed at the birth of our solar system, leaving 92% to form over the coming millennia.

Far-fetched as it may seem, the scientists responsible for the report stand behind their reasoning. Speaking to the Global Post, Peter Behroozi, an author of the study, said, “Our main motivation was understanding the Earth’s place in the context of the rest of the universe. Compared to all the planets that will ever form in the universe, the Earth is actually quite early.”

The study’s scientists developed a “family photo” album of all the known planets and studied data from NASA to determine their findings. One thing they were able to point out was that stars were created at a much more rapid rate 10 billion years ago than they are today. At the same time, there is so much leftover gas that planets and stars will continue to be born in our solar system for millennia to come. However, our galaxy, the Milky Way, has used up most of its gas. New stars here are unlikely.

Also read: NASA’s Potential for Alien Life, Kepler-452b: Earth 2.0?


Earth compared to habitable planet Kepler-452b, in an approximate scale.

For an area of study which often involves bleak philosophical musings on the probability of alien life, the notion of habitable planets yet to be born is a streak of hope for future generations. It becomes imaginable that space exploration could become advanced enough that a budding planet might be observed in real-time, and new life forms might be seen as they evolve.

Scientists call any planet which are rocks and orbit in the habitable zone of their star or stars. According to known research, life requires h20. But, again, there is currently an abundance of hydrogen in our galaxy, making it within the realm of imagination that planets like earth will continue to be birthed. Recent findings have determined that the size of planet Earth is par for the galaxy, with as many as 1 billion such planets existing. According to the theoretical study, more are on the way, with the added feature of habitability.

The paper concluded that the universe will continue to expand at such a rate that it will become very difficult to trace back the lineage the way is currently possible.

The observational evidence for the big bang and cosmic evolution, encoded in light and other electromagnetic radiation, will be all but erased away 1 trillion years from now due to the runaway expansion of space. Any far-future civilizations that might arise will be largely clueless as to how or if the universe began and evolved.

Images of Kepler-186f(featured) and Kepler-452b from Shutterstock.

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