More Earth Than Earth

A recent study has scientists tepidly excited about possible habitable planets outside our solar system. Not only has the study honed in on 24 candidates in the universe, but also our future homes that are more habitable than Earth.

We’re talking super-habitable exoplanets equipped with properties that are even better suited for life than Planet Earth. These planets possess just the right conditions for liquid water, better conditions for life to evolve for billions of years and they all orbit just the right kind of star that’s not too active or cold.

The study reveals that when it comes to the type of star that is ideal, our sun is not perfect. Labeled a G-type star, scientists say our sun doesn’t have enough life left in it–only about 5 billion years–not much time by universe standards. And scientists point out that in the next 2 billion years it will reach conditions where life on Earth will not be possible anymore. So the study is gravitating more to K-type stars, which can last for 80 billion years, enough time for life as we know it to evolve.

Because the 24 planets are still labeled as “candidates,” scientists are not entirely sure if they’re out there. Only two have been confirmed, only nine are orbiting a K-type star and 16 are more than a few billions years old, meaning they are well-suited to maintaining the necessary conditions. But only five of these have the all-important temperature conditions.

The big downer in the study is that every one of these planets is too far away–more than 100 light-years (each light-year is 5.88 trillion miles). And the most promising–exoplanet KOI 5715.01–is nearly 3,000  miles away. Here’s more on the study and our potentially future home with Anton Petrov.

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