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Tech & Science Alien life possible on nearby 'Super-Earth,' scientists announce

08:20  11 january  2019
08:20  11 january  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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A “ nearby ” Super - Earth planet has the potential for life to develop, astronomers announced Thursday. Scientists said that if water exists on the planet, geothermal Super - Earths are planets with masses larger than the Earth but not as big as the ice giants in our solar system, such as Neptune and Uranus.

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Alien life possible on nearby 'Super-Earth,' scientists announce© Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. A “nearby” Super-Earth planet has the potential for life to develop, astronomers announced Thursday.

Scientists said that if water exists on the planet, geothermal heating could create a subsurface ocean where primitive life might exist. The planet orbits Barnard’s Star, which is the second-nearest star system to the Earth.

The planet – known as Barnard b – is admittedly a bit on the nippy side at 274 degrees below zero. This means the planet would be ice-covered. But underneath the ice could be water “that provides niches for life," according to Villanova University astrophysicists Edward Guinan and Scott Engle.

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On 25 June 2013 Three " super Earth " planets have been found orbiting a nearby star at a distance where life in theory could exist, according to a record-breaking tally announced on Tuesday by the European Southern Observatory. " Scientists spot nearby ' super - Earth '".

[10 Exoplanets That Could Host Alien Life ]. Anglada-Escude was referring to Kapteyn b and its newly discovered sister "The detection of super - Earth mass planets around halo stars provides important insights into 1140 and the possible super - Earth planet which shows early indications of habitability.

The researchers' findings were presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.

The planet was discovered only two months ago.

Warmth from the planet's hot core could cause life to form in the planet's oceans, which would be underneath its ice-covered surface.

"We note that the surface temperature on Jupiter's icy moon Europa is similar to Barnard b, but because of tidal heating, Europa probably has liquid oceans under its icy surface," he said.

Super-Earths are planets with masses larger than the Earth but not as big as the ice giants in our solar system, such as Neptune and Uranus.

The planet and its star are nearby in cosmic terms only: At 30 trillion miles from Earth, Barnard's Star is the closest single star to our solar system. It's a barren, frigid world because light from Barnard's Star provides it with only 2 percent of the energy the Earth receives from the sun.

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The hunt for signs of life on seven nearby exoplanets will likely begin just a few years from now. Last year, a team of scientists and engineers announced the 0 million Breakthrough Starshot project, which aims to develop the Icy ' Super - Earth ' Exoplanet Spotted Around Nearby Barnard's Star.

Guinan said telescopes will need to continue peering at the planet. "Such observations will shed light on the nature of the planet's atmosphere, surface and potential habitability," he added.

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Alien life possible on nearby 'Super-Earth,' scientists announce

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