Does life on other planets exist? Can we – the humans of Earth live on other planets? This is a question asked and researched so often. To answer this, let’s take a step back and learn about the discovery of the first life on our planet, Earth.
Discovery of Life on Earth
The Earth’s earliest sign of life was found inside some rocks in Australia. They were old 3.48 billion years ago. The area where they were located is also known as the Dresser Formation.
And according to Tara Djokic, a doctoral candidate in geosciences, there is a possibility that this region may have been a genuine island marked with deep holes of eruption and lakes filled with microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.
She also adds that this microbial life was initially formed during the hot springs when the temperature was near 60 degrees.
Still, any claim or stated the earliest life on Earth continues to attract and awake a lot of skepticism and doubt for some researchers, who are guided by a different approach.
So, some of them suggest that the hydrothermal vents and openings in the oceans may have been the first source of Earth’s life.
In their analysis of the organism Prokaryote, who includes the bacteria and cyanobacteria, they found the common genes they presume are LUCA’s final remains. LUCA is also known as the common ancestor of all living creatures today.
Anyway, we are already living this beautiful life on Earth, and the debates whether the earliest and primary living thing was trapped inside some old rocks, or buried into some deep ocean, are always going to be fascinating and intriguing to be a part of.
But, I wonder, isn’t it more fascinating and existing to find out that we can live on another planet?
Is It Realistic That People Can Live On Another Planet?
The Earth’s Cousin Planet – Kepler
It is a miracle indeed, but scientists have discovered an Earth cousin that could provide the necessary conditions of life for the first time. The newfound planet is called Kepler-186f. It was first noticed by the Kepler space telescope that was launched from NASA.
“One of the things we’ve been looking for is maybe an Earth twin, which is an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a sun-like star.
This Kepler-186f is an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a cooler star.
So, while it’s not an Earth twin, it is perhaps an Earth cousin. It has similar characteristics, but a different parent’’, confirmed Tom Barclay, a scientist and co-author of the new exoplanet research.
Although the newly discovered planet is slightly bigger than our planet, “This is the first definitive Earth-sized planet found in the habitable zone around another star’’ said Elisa Quintana of the SETI Institute.
Water On Kepler-186f
This positioning of the Kepler-186f enables her to be close to the Earth, and therefore, scientists claim that this planet could have water on her surface and a high potential for life support.
On the other hand, some researchers consider that exploring the atmosphere and gasses surrounding Kepler-186f could be the key element to help scientists better understand if the planet is open for a living.
The co-author Stephen Kane of the San Francisco State University stated that because Kepler-186f is a little bigger than the Earth, it could have a thicker atmosphere.
As a result, this could keep the water in her natural liquid form and protect the planet. As well for this purpose, NASA, in 2018, is launching her James Webb Space Telescope. It is designed to study the formation of the solar system, or the planets capable of providing life support.
Unfortunately, Barclay estimates that Kepler-186f could be too far from the telescope to explore her and too weak to be investigated by these follow-up studies.
Nevertheless, “This is a historic discovery of the first truly Earth-size planet found in the habitable zone around its star. This is the best case for a habitable planet yet found. The results are absolutely rock-solid.
The planet itself may not be, but I’d bet my house on it. In any case, it’s a gem’’, indicated Geoff Marcy, an astronomer at the University of California.
More Keplers To Explore
Incredibly, but besides Kepler-186f, scientists have also announced the discovery of:
- and Kepler-69c
as some of the best candidates for life habitation.
Kepler-62e, according to William Borucki, a principal investigator at NASA, is 60 percent larger than our planet.
He also confirmed that the planet orbits his host star every 122 days. Also, “Kepler-62e probably has a very cloudy sky and is warm and humid all the way to the polar regions.
But still, it is potentially life-friendly’’ confirms Dimitar Sasselov, a modeling co-author from Harvard University.
The second planet, Kepler-62f, is 40 percent larger than the Earth.
As well, Borucki determined that the planet circles his host star once in 267 days, and further, he added, “If you were standing on Kepler-62f, the star in the sky would look bigger than our sun does.
But the illumination level would be like walking around on Earth on a cloudy day. It drops by a factor of five.”
The third and last one, Kepler-69c, is estimated to be 70% larger than the Earth. She is also called the “super-Earth.”
Researchers have confirmed that the planet had many similarities to Earth.
Including orbiting a star that is very much like our own sun, and “This was very exciting because it’s our first habitable-zone super-Earth around a sun-type star,” added Natalie Batalha, an astronomer and a Kepler co-investigator at NASA.
Kepler-69c is actually an exoplanet, which is 2,700 light-years from the Earth.
But, because of the Kepler-69c orbit around liquid water, researchers have also discussed the possibility of water or even a global ocean on its surface.
However, scientists have estimated that these planets are the smallest planets that were ever found in the life zone, and “All these planets that we’re finding are quite different than planets in our own solar system.
Probably, if there is life, it would be very unlike what we see on our own world,” added Borucki.
And so, surprisingly, “With all of these discoveries we’re finding, Earth is looking less and less like a special place and more like there are Earth-like things everywhere’’, concluded Thomas Barclay, a Kepler scientist at the Environmental Research Institute in California.
Concluding Thoughts – Life on other planets,
Considering the above scientific research, we can see that life could also exist on the other side of our universe. There might be tens of billions of habitable planets that aren’t discovered yet among several hundred billions of stars.
It is a galaxy mystery, and I believe that in the next few decades, when the launching of new, large, and sensitive space telescopes will increase, we will finally be able to crack it.
I know the answer is a little terrifying, but at the same time, it is also fascinating.
Answering those mysterious questions will make us feel more informed about the frequency of life occurring in the universe.
Even a single example that proves how life can also ‘’flourish’’ on another planet, besides the Earth, would support the concept that life could be commonly shared if it is based and built on the right conditions.
- Miriam Kramer, (2014), “Found! First Earth-Size Planet That Could Support Life’’
- Elizabeth Landau (2013), “3 new planets could host life.’’
- Tia Ghose (2017), “Oldest Evidence of Life on Earth Possibly Found in Australian Rocks’’
- Stephanie Pappas (2017), “What Was the First Life on Earth?’’
- Elizabeth Howell (2016), “Kepler-69c: Earth-Size Planet in Star’s Habitable Zone’’
- Elizabeth Howell (2016), “Kepler-62e: Super-Earth & Possible Water World”
- Elizabeth Howell (2016), “Kepler-62f: A Possible Water World”