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Super-Earth in 6-Planet System May Have Oceans, Life

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#1


A newly discovered exoplanet joins the small but growing list of worlds other than our own that may host life.

The exoplanet is a super-Earth, having about seven times the mass of our home planet, but orbits its parent star at roughly the same distance as Earth does from the sun. The star, HD 40307, is located about 42 light-years from Earth in the constellation Pictor. It’s what’s known as an orange dwarf star, making it somewhat smaller and dimmer than our sun, but not by much.

Three exoplanets were discovered around HD 40307 in 2008, but a team of European astronomers has reanalyzed data from the star and found the system contains three more worlds. This makes it look much more like our own solar system, with its eight planets.

The farthest planet in the HD 40307 system orbits with a period of about 200 days, a little more than half as long as our year, and is located about 56 million miles from its parent star. (In comparison, Earth is 93 million miles from the sun.) This puts it right smack in the star’s habitable zone — the area around a star where liquid water might remain on the surface.


This super-Earth receives about two-thirds the amount of sunlight that our planet gets. It’s a bit on the cold side, but still warm enough to have oceans and wet weather like on Earth. While scientists can’t confirm that water exists on the planet, follow-up observations may give them more information.

About five other confirmed exoplanets have been discovered orbiting within a habitable zone but many of them are quite close to their parent star. This likely makes them suffer from a phenomenon known as tidal locking, where gravitational forces cause one side of the planet to always face the star. The same phenomenon is the reason why we always see the same face of the moon.

With exoplanets, this means that one half of the planet is probably roasting under the heat of its star while the other side is frozen in perpetual night. Because the new exoplanet around HD 40307 is far enough away from its star, it has a day/night cycle much like Earth’s and therefore is probably much more conducive to life.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/11/superearth-habitable-zone/
 

stinger608

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#2
Interesting for sure. And also being at about 42 light years away makes it a relatively close planet. Of course we do not posses the means to travel there at this time, but what is to say that if the planet does sustain intelligent life forms, they could possibly have the means to travel to our planet?
 

hat

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#3
If they do have the means to travel to our planet, I hope all that happens is we get featured in their version of National Geographic.
 
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#4
I can't wait until we develop technology to visit worlds like these.

Then watch the crews die from new and interesting diseases.
 
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#5
I can't wait until we develop technology to visit worlds like these.

Then watch the crews die from new and interesting diseases.
 
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#6
That would definitely suck...
 

lyndonguitar

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#7
This is awesome, Why don't we just allot more budget for space exploration and less on other non-sense things?

if there are lifeforms there, would it be similar to the one here?, will they breathe and eat the same things???, What would they look like??

life in the universe other than earth is very much possible but intelligent life forms that have human-like reasoning can be very very rare. If there is, then there's a chance that they might become extinct even before they develop the technology to travel to other stars..

However based on the size of the universe, the number of galaxies, stars , planets, objects, and the possibility of a multi-verse. I believe that we are not alone.
 
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#8
I can't wait until we develop technology to visit worlds like these.

Then watch the crews die from new and interesting diseases.
yeah, maybe if we could reach startrek era :D
 
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#9
This is awesome, Why don't we just allot more budget for space exploration and less on other non-sense things?

if there are lifeforms there, would it be similar to the one here?, will they breathe and eat the same things???, What would they look like??

life in the universe other than earth is very much possible but intelligent life forms that have human-like reasoning can be very very rare. If there is, then there's a chance that they might become extinct even before they develop the technology to travel to other stars..

However based on the size of the universe, the number of galaxies, stars , planets, objects, and the possibility of a multi-verse. I believe that we are not alone.
It depends. They say it has 7 times the mass of Earth. This means gravity will be different on such planet. Meaning all the sea lifeforms would be different (adapted to even higher pressure), land lifeforms would probably have larger muscle mass and stronger bones. Not sure if there would be any flying lifeforms (like birds).