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Life in the Universe: Stars

Planets suitable for life in space are rare: few celestial bodies can simultaneously have an iron core, crust, atmosphere, and water in liquid form. However, scientists have already discovered several potentially inhabited worlds. According to González-Espada and Méndez (2016) a star that has reached a record in the number of possibly inhabited planets is the red dwarf Gliese 667C in the constellation Scorpius – three planets. Particular attention is drawn to Gliese 667Cc – an exoplanet on which these scientists assume an Earth-like atmosphere and temperature.

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The star around which the planet orbits belongs to the triple system and the exoplanet is also illuminated by its orange dwarf Gliese 667A and Gliese 667B (Lichtman & Bhattacharya, 2016). According to scientists, Gliese 667Cc receives nearly the same amount of energy that the Earth receives from the Sun (Stevenson, 2019). At the same time, the average temperature is only a few degrees below Earth’s temperature (González-Espada & Méndez, 2016). Thus, it is possible to suggest that in this case, primitive life forms may exist on Gliese 667Cc.

However, there is a possibility that due to the proximity to the triple star system, the magnetic field of the planet was severely damaged, and the stellar wind has ripped water and volatile gases from it. Moreover, there is a hypothesis that life in systems of double and triple stars cannot originate in principle due to the unstable conditions. Another planet’s problem is probably its size: the mass of Gliese 667Ss exceeds the Earth’s by 4.5 times (Stevenson, 2019). Furthermore, this planet is continuously turned to its star by one side, as it most likely turns around its axis at the same time during which it passes a full circle in orbit.

Thus, several exoplanets on which life is possible were found. However, more research opportunities are needed to establish this fact accurately. Telescopes that will allow people to look at potentially inhabited planets may be developed soon (Kaltenegger, 2017). At the present moment, the main task of astronomers is the construction of hypotheses and the calculation of possible options.

References

González-Espada, W., &Méndez, A. (2016). Searching for habitable worlds: An introduction. Morgan & Claypool Publishers.

Kaltenegger, L. (2017). How to characterize habitable worlds and signs of life. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 55, 433-485.

Lichtman, J. M., &Bhattacharya, A. B. (2016). Solar planetary systems: Stardust to terrestrial and extraterrestrial planetary sciences. CRC Press.

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Stevenson, D. S. (2019). Red Dwarfs: Their geological, chemical, and biological potential for life. Springer International Publishing.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Life in the Universe: Stars." December 31, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/life-in-the-universe-stars/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Life in the Universe: Stars'. 31 December.

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