Earth’s oceans have made it the perfect environment for biodiversity. However, a new study suggests that it may not have the most effective conditions in the galaxy.
The research suggests that exoplanets that have “favorable ocean circulation patterns” could be better suited to support a broader range of life than Earth.
Olson, who presented the research on the Goldschmidt Conference in Barcelona, stated that life on Earth depends upon the upward flow of the oceans, which brings back nutrients from the deepest a part of the sea to the top, the place photosynthetic life is abundant.
Olson and the other researchers used a series of computer models to see which exoplanets might have the conditions for efficient ocean upswelling.
Georgia Institute of Technology assistant professor Chris Reinhard, who was not involved within the study, stated that researchers expect oceans “to be important in regulating some of the most compelling remotely detectable signs of life on habitable worlds,” however added that the understanding of oceans beyond the solar system “is at present very rudimentary.”
Oceans may be shared all through the Milky Way galaxy. NASA’s Kepler space telescope and other instruments have recommended that one in four stars hosts an Earth-like planet; however, with current technology limitations, these exoplanets have to be studied from afar.
Despite these constraints, Olson’s hypothesis, which Reinhard called “a significant and exciting step ahead,” is that it’s anticipated that life “is certainly more common than ‘detectable’ life.
Lately, data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope gave scientists the first glimpse into conditions on the surface of a rocky exoplanet, Planet LHS 3844b. The exoplanet, which is 48.6 light-years from Earth and has a radius 1.3 times that of Earth, based on NASA, is orbiting a small star called an M dwarf. NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Satellite Survey first noticed it in 2018.
Although NASA’s search for life has primarily focused on planets that are in the “habitable zone,” the space agency recently announced that it would explore Jupiter’s icy moon Europa to see if it “might harbor conditions appropriate for life.”