Discovered exo planet where there may be life

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An exo planet very similar to Earth was found to orbit a star, in its area of rotation, 40 light years away from us, beyond the Solar System. The existence of life is a possibility.

An exo rocky planet orbiting a red dwarf star has been discovered in its habitable zone, which may be subject to levels of radiation that allow the existence of water in the liquid state a on its surface. This planet, located less than 40 light-years away, is a great planet to consider for the search for signs of life, explained the team of the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences, responsible for the discovery. The Portuguese, Nuno Cardoso Santos, is an astrophysicist at the University of Porto and was part of the international team.

LHS 1140b, the exo planet found to orbit the star LHS 1140, was detected by the MEarth5 observatory through the method of transits, a method that measures the decrease of light that arrives from one star to the passage of another celestial body. Thus, the greater the decrease of this light, the greater the diameter of this celestial body, and consequently the easier it will be to understand whether it is an exo planet or not. Joining this data to many others collected through the method of radial velocities, scientists were able to calculate the density of LHS 1140b and could thus discover that it is a “super” Earth.

This means that it is larger than our planet, but its physical characteristics will be relatively similar. It is also known that the planet has a diameter of almost 18 thousand kilometers (about 1.4 times that of Earth) and a mass 6.6 times that of our planet. Its density is higher than that of Earth, which suggests that it also has an Iron core.

LHS 1140b, orbits its star, ten times closer than the Earth orbits the Sun. One year on this exo planet corresponds to only 25 days on Earth. This proximity does not, however, represent an impediment to life on the surface of the planet. For example, the red dwarf is colder and smaller than the sun, so LHS 1140b only receives about half of the energy that the Earth receives from our star. If it were farther off and there was water on the surface, it would freeze; But if it were closer, it would evaporate. At this distance, water that may exist on the surface can remain liquid and allow the development of life on the planet.

This water may still represent the history of a long geological process in LHS 1140b, and scientific data indicate that there may have been an ocean of magma on the surface of the planet millions of years ago that released water vapor into the atmosphere. This water may have passed into the liquid state after the planet cools down, making it potentially habitable. This whole process must have begun at least 5 billion years ago, the estimated age of the planet. More accurate information can be gathered when the Hubble Space Telescope starts observations to the planet and find out how much radiation hits the LHS 1140b.

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