A new study conducted by Pennsylvania State University and the University of Chicago has concluded that it is highly probable that large amounts of life could exist in the water worlds that are found within our solar system. In fact, scientists have concluded that these ocean planets could even be considered a “sweet spot” for alien life and for a much longer period than was previously thought.
According to the Daily Mail, this revelation means that there is a very good chance that there is life of some kind in these water worlds, and this is exciting news to scientists as a recent study has also confirmed that these water worlds are in abundance, as the Inquisitr reported, with 35 percent of the exoplanets analyzed believed to contain vast amounts of water.
As lead author Edwin Kite noted, “this really pushes back against the idea you need an Earth clone — that is, a planet with some land and a shallow ocean.”
In their new study, Kite and co-author Eric Ford from Penn State created a complex computer model with thousands of planets and then analyzed how they evolved over a period of billions of years.
Kite was surprised to find that a large number of these planets stayed relatively stable for over a billion years.
“The surprise was that many of them stay stable for more than a billion years, just by luck of the draw. Our best guess is that it’s on the order of 10 percent of them.”
Life could exist on the huge number of 'water worlds' in our solar system, researchers have concluded https://t.co/t9eHHV99oY
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) September 1, 2018
The new study found that these planets that are water worlds just happen to be situated in the most perfect spot around their stars. And as their oceans also don’t contain too many elements and minerals from the crusts of their planets, it also helps to maintain just the right level of carbon in the atmosphere.
With regard to their longevity, Kite explained that these water worlds can stay habitable for long periods of time without the same kind of geochemical cycling that happens on our planet.
“How much time a planet has is basically dependent on carbon dioxide and how it’s partitioned between the ocean, atmosphere and rocks in its early years. It does seem there is a way to keep a planet habitable long-term without the geochemical cycling we see on Earth. The simulations assumed stars that are like our own, but the results are optimistic for red dwarf stars, too.”
In a previous study, Harvard University’s Dr. Li Zeng exlained that “it was a huge surprise to realize that there must be so many water-worlds.” Now with the latest research, it appears that these water worlds that are found in sweet spots can exist for astonishingly long periods of time, giving life a true chance to evolve on them.
The new study on the possible existence of life in water worlds can be read in The Astrophysical Journal.