Humanity’s space exploration missions and advanced telescopes have discovered so many exoplanets, some of which are very similar to earth. These star systems where planets with temperature and atmosphere similar to earth flourish, are governed by red dwarf stars - dimmer than the sun - which are the most common star across the universe. Now, an astronomy professor from Columbia University has published a paper highlighting why our search for alien life on red-dwarf star systems is very likely to meet a dead end.
“If they’re so numerous, so long-lived, potentially trillions of years, and so they really seem to have everything going for them,” Kipping tells Inverse, “it’s kind of odd then that we don’t live around a red dwarf.” In the new paper that was published in the June issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Kipping presents a “red sky paradox,” under which he argues that despite the red dwarf stars being five times more than yellow stars like the sun, possibly holding the capabilities to sustain an earth-like alive planet, life as we know it exists on a yellow star system. Moreover, we have not found any evidence of life on a red dwarf star system as of yet.
Suggesting solutions to the paradox, Kipping said he and his team came up with three possibilities - Chance, Circumstance and Lifespan. He argues that the paradox can be resolved either if we are really special or the red dwarf star systems have something that keeps them from developing life, or because red dwarf stars are trillions of years in lifespan, they have not come of age yet.
If scientists are not able to find life in red dwarf star systems, where life is likely to exist given their configuration, it means that life on earth is more special than scientists thought. However, if the process of the development of life is considered a universal process, a belief that is accepted in the scientific community, the paradox that we have not found life with billions of sun-like stars and five times more red dwarfs, becomes even stronger.
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