The search for habitable exoplanets was disappointing. Although we have found a bunch of rocky planets orbiting at the exact distance from their star, further investigation so far has largely yielded nothing but barren poisonous rocks, nailed with deadly star-shaped zooms.
But according to new research using computer modeling to investigate the conditions that could exist on different types of exoplanets, there may be places where life is living absolutely – even more so than on Earth.
And all this has to do with the oceans.
"Our work is aimed at identifying the exoplanetary oceans that have the largest domestic and world-wide domestic and active living capacity," explained geophysicist Stephanie Olson of the University of Chicago.
“The life on Earth of the oceans depends on an upstream (upward flow) that returns nutrients from the dark depths of the ocean to the sunny parts of the ocean, where photosynthetic life lives. More replenishment means more nutrients, which means more biological activity. These are the conditions you should look for exoplanets. "
Olson and her team used software called ROCKE-3D, developed by the NASA Goddard Space Research Institute, to model rock exoplanets. They simulated a number of different exoplanets to explore what would be most likely to develop and maintaining life based on ocean circulation.
They found that denser atmospheres combined with lower rotational speeds and the presence of continents produce higher rates of growth.
is a surprising conclusion, "says Olson. [1
We know that the salty oceans are probably there, beyond the solar system. In addition to Earth, we know that Mars was once quite watery, for example. And there are moons here – the numbers of Europe, Enceladus, Callisto and Ganymede among the large moons in the solar system that appear to have liquid oceans.
These close worlds do not meet the criteria set by the study, although Mars is dry and has a thin whisper of atmosphere, and the moons listed also have no atmosphere; we are also currently not sure of their continental status.
But there are far more exoplanets in the galaxy than there are moons in the solar system. Last year, scientists estimated that up to 35 percent of all known extrasolar planets larger than Earth should be rich in water.
So far, the first criterion in the search for habitable exoplanets is whether the planet is in a "habitable zone" – where temperatures are not so hot that the liquid oceans evaporate, nor so cold that they freeze.
some parameters that could be used in future searches and may even inform the development of tools optimized to detect these parameters.
"In our search for life in the universe, we must focus on the subset of habitable planets that o will be most conducive to large, globally active biospheres, "Olson said," because these are the planets where life will be easiest to find – and where undetectors will be most important. "
The study is presented at the Goldschmid Geochemistry Congress in Barcelona.