For many years now, humanity has been concerned with climate change, global warming, the destruction of our planet or, in other words, the apocalypse. So, naturally, some of us have been looking for alternatives of living, which is on other planets, of course. And scientists have found a nearby planet, at about 470 light years from Earth to be precise, that has the highest similarity to Earth, according to the “Similarity Index”. However, they have recently discovered that despite the similarities, we will not be able to simply move out there. So, what makes the earthlike planet uninhabitable?
The planet, called Kepler-438b is similar to Earth in size and temperature, but it is also very close to its star, closer than the Earth is to the Sun. As on any other star, superflares occur every few hundred days, but they are about ten times more powerful than the ones coming from our sun. Although the actual superflares might not have such a great impact on the planet Kepler-438b, there are other phenomena such as a coronal mass ejection (CME) that can strip away any atmosphere from the planet. And zero atmosphere equals zero life on that said planet.
A coronal mass ejection happens when a great amount of plasma is fired away from the sun and scientists are sure this is most likely to happen on other stars as well. Now, the atmosphere is essential for life on a planet because it helps create and develop life. Without it, the planet is no longer protected and can be subject to UV and X-ray, which are extremely damaging to life. In order to keep its atmosphere and avoid being irradiated, the planet should have a magnetic field similar to the one of Earth. However, researchers do not have this information yet.
And it seems that scientist did not worry for nothing. According to the newest researched published yesterday, November 18, 2015, in the journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Kepler-438b, the planet considered most Earthlike is uninhabitable due to radiation from its parent star, after having its atmosphere stripped away as a result of radiation from superflares.
In conclusion, since we don’t have anywhere else to go so far, we should be taking more care of our planet until scientists can find an inhabitable planet or they decide we can move on Mars.
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