There are millions of habitable planets in our galaxy. Some are “just around the corner”


Scientists have once again changed their pursuit of intelligent life. They have another piece of the puzzle.

Are we alone in space? Thanks to new research, we are again a little closer to answering the question about the existence of extraterrestrial life and civilization.

A large team of scientists from NASA, SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) and other institutions around the world have come up with the most accurate estimate of the number of potentially habitable planets in the Milky Way galaxy.

The study will be published in The Astronomical Journal. Its preliminary version was published by the arXiv scientific preprint web archive.

An important piece of the puzzle

To estimate the number of planets with life in the form of intelligent civilization, scientists and amateurs usually refer to the so-called dragon equation, which allows you to calculate their number after multiplying all the variables. The mathematical equation was formulated by astronomer Frank D. Drake in 1960.

Illustration image.
Read also

Lifeless? Scientists have verified the data, not confirmed the presence of phosphane on Venus

However, the result of the equation fluctuates significantly depending on the values ​​we substitute in the parameters. And when it comes to real values, we still don’t know some of them. One of the key parameters is the number of habitable planets on which life can exist.

The actual number of potentially habitable planets has now been estimated by scientists by combining data from two space telescopes: Kepler and Gaia. Using data from both probes, the results better reflect the diversity of stars, planetary systems and exoplanets in the galaxy.

Thanks to observations from the Gaia spacecraft, the authors were able to determine not only whether exoplanets are in the so-called habitable zone, but also how much radiation they receive from their parent stars.

“This is the first time that all the pieces have been put together to provide a reliable measure of the number of potentially habitable planets in the galaxy,” said one of the authors, SETI exoplanet researcher Jeff Coughlin.

“This is a key member of the dragon equation, used to estimate the number of civilizations that you can communicate with. We are one step on a long journey to see if we are alone in the universe,” Coughlin says.

Illustration image.
Read also

Finding aliens from Earth is becoming increasingly difficult. You have to go to the moon

Hundreds of millions of potentially living worlds

And the result itself? According to the authors, the number of potentially habitable exoplanets is truly astounding: they should be up to 300 million. At the same time, some of them are, so to speak, “just around the corner” in terms of cosmic distances.

The authors estimated with a 95% probability that within 30 light years of the Sun there are about four rocky planets in the habitable zone around the main sequence stars of type G and K.

“Knowing how common the different types of planets are is extremely valuable in planning future exoplanet missions,” explains Michelle Kunimot, co-author of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“Investigations of potentially habitable small planets around Sun-like stars will depend on such results to achieve the maximum chance of success,” added Kunimotova.

Source link