Despite remarkable technological advances in astronomy and space exploration, the search for a new home for humanity, the so-called ‘Earth 2.0’, has not yet come to fruition. However, several candidates have been explored in recent years, one of which may have better living conditions than our planet: Kepler-442b,
Discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope in 2015, the planet is twice the mass of Earth and 30% larger (which is why it is considered a super-Earth). is located as well 1,194 light years Of our house
Kepler-442b is less than half the distance from its star than Earth, but its star is slightly cooler than the Sun, so it should be hot.
That is why, since its discovery, it was already considered potentially habitable. But why is it different from other planets that have been discovered?
most promising world
In the same year of their discovery, a team of scientists developed a new habitability index for exoplanets (planets outside our solar system), with the aim of determining which worlds should be prioritized for future missions. Should go, for example, the current James Webb Space Telescope.
Until then, the habitability of an exoplanet was estimated by its distance from the host star and its temperature, which determined whether the celestial body was within the so-called habitable zoneThis makes it possible for a planet to have liquid water on its surface.
But the team led by Rory Barnes of the Virtual Planetary Laboratory at the University of Washington felt those parameters weren’t enough.
In addition to the habitable zone, he proposed to add data such as Shape (If it’s huge, it’s probably not as rocky as Earth); obsession of its class, which determines whether the planet receives unequal or equal amounts of energy from its star throughout the year; and his albedowhich is the amount of light reflected from its surface (the more reflective, the cooler it gets).
It was established that the maximum habitability score would be 1.
Applying all the parameters together to Earth, it got a score of 0.829. However, it was not the highest rated: when they evaluated Kepler-442b, it scored 0.836. confirmed exoplanet with the highest habitat index,
a perfect star for life
In early 2020, a study by researchers at Villanova University, Pennsylvania, concluded that K-type stars, or orange dwarfs, have the best characteristics to host habitable planetary systems.
It turns out that Kepler-442b’s host star, Kepler-442, is an orange dwarf, 40% smaller than the Sun.
According to the results, presented at the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, orange dwarfs emit more benign levels of radiation and have up to four times longer lifespans than G-type stars like the Sun. Therefore, their slow evolution allows your living areas to be more sustainable.
“These stars would allow time for the evolution of highly evolved life on planets,” said a NASA statement.
Although all these data are very promising for the exoplanet Kepler-442b, its remoteness has made it difficult to study in detail. Therefore, experts hope that operational space telescopes such as TESS and Webb will soon provide us with information about its atmospheric composition and its surface.
Until then, the appearance of some visions of this world will remain more of a wish than a possibility.