The universe is so vast and unexplored that Earth may just be like a grain of sand in an ever-expanding and vast desert. We have yet to find any traces of life in any of the planets on our solar system. The resources on Earth are limited so having a backup plan couldn’t hurt.
According to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, we may have found five star systems capable of supporting life. The researchers, belonging to the University of Washington and New York University Abu Dhabi, used a newly developed mathematical framework to determine if these star systems have a Habitable Zone or not and they do!
A Habitable Zone is a region of space where liquid water can form and remain on the surface of the planet. Just like Earth as water is very important for any life to thrive, that is, for human-like life forms. The star systems under observation are Kepler-34, 35, 38, 64, and 413. One of the systems named Kepler-64 has at least four stars orbiting each other at its center. But while the others have only two each, all are known to host at least one giant planet equal to or larger than the size of Neptune.
According to Nikolaos Georgakarakos, author of the study and research associate at NYU Abu Dhabi, “Life is most likely to evolve on planets located within their system’s Habitable Zone, just like Earth. Here we investigate whether a Habitable Zone exists within nine known systems with two or more stars orbited by giant planets. We show for the first time that Kepler-34 -35, -64, -413 and especially Kepler-38 are suitable for hosting Earth-like worlds with oceans.”
Professor Ian Dobbs-Doxon of New York University Abu Dhabi, who was also a study co-author, said that “We’ve known for a while that binary star systems without giant planets have the potential to harbor habitable worlds.”
This discovery paves the way for more research and observation as more and more planet scouting telescopes are developed.