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Are There Other Habitable Worlds In Our Galaxy? Here’s All You Should Know

For years, it has been believed that Earth is the only habitable planet in the world.

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Updated:September 27, 2019, 10:35 AM IST
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Are There Other Habitable Worlds In Our Galaxy? Here’s All You Should Know
For years, it has been believed that Earth is the only habitable planet in the world.

For years, it has been believed that Earth is the only habitable planet in the world. That is because there has been life on this planet for years, which makes us believe that it has all the requirements needed to be called a ‘habitable’ planet. If one ponders upon the conditions that make it habitable, one can count a few, including a thick atmosphere filled with oxygen and nitrogen that we can breathe. Others conditions include a relatively large moon that keeps our planet stable, huge oceans that regulate the climate, the ozone layer as a protective umbrella, plate tectonics that constantly circulate material on the surface and so on.

However, one often wonders if there are other planets and worlds in the world that can be called habitable? A 2013 paper, authored by Ravi Kumar Kopparapu and his team from Penn State University, figured out that a habitable zone around a Sun-like star should be between 0.99 and 1.7 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. This means that Earth is right on the inner edge of the Sun’s habitable zone. Anything closer would turn into a greenhouse, just like Venus.

Another 2016 paper ‘Superhabitable Worlds’ makes the study rather interesting. It explores the conditions that might make a planet habitable. It proposed that stars with less mass than the Sun are the best candidates for having planets around them. Such a star will allow for powerful tidal forces on multiple planets in the same system. In fact, having a bigger and binary planet will help in setting things in order for a planet better than Earth.

Recently, in a new study presented on September 20 in Geneva, scientists made the case for how ancient Venus could have once supported life. They explained that Venus was habitable 700 million years ago, with oceans of liquid water. However, mysterious resurfacing event took all that away. “Our hypothesis is that Venus may have had a stable climate for billions of years,” said planetary scientist Michael Way from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

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