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Super-Earths Are Bigger and More Habitable Than Earth, and Astronomers Are Discovering More of the Billions They Think Are Out There - Singularity Hub

Super-Earths Are Bigger and More Habitable Than Earth, and Astronomers Are Discovering More of the Billions They Think Are Out There - Singularity Hub

Super-Earths Are Bigger and More Habitable Than Earth, and Astronomers Are Discovering More of the Billions They Think Are Out There - Singularity Hub
Sep 22, 2022 1 min, 18 secs

One planet is 30 percent larger than Earth and orbits its star in less than three days.

It would seem logical to focus the search for life on Earth clones—planets with properties close to Earth’s.

A super-Earth is any rocky planet that is bigger than Earth and smaller than Neptune.

You might even say that our solar system is unusual since it does not have a planet with a mass between that of Earth and Neptune.

Another reason super-Earths are ideal targets in the search for life is that they’re much easier to detect and study than Earth-sized planets.

Over 300 years ago, German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz argued that Earth was the “best of all possible worlds.” Leibniz’s argument was meant to address the question of why evil exists, but modern astrobiologists have explored a similar question by asking what makes a planet hospitable to life.

So the most habitable planet would have roughly twice the mass of Earth and be between 20 to 30 percent larger by volume.

Scientists think that these attributes combined will make a planet super habitable.

By definition, super-Earths have many of the attributes of a super habitable planet.

To date, astronomers have discovered two dozen super-Earth exoplanets that are, if not the best of all possible worlds, theoretically more habitable than Earth.

While there are many reasons why a habitable world would not have signs of life, if, over the coming years, astronomers look at these super habitable super-Earths and find nothing, humanity may be forced to conclude that the universe is a lonely place.


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