Finding exoplanets outside of our solar system has become a mundane event due to the numerous active and reliable telescopes of NASA and other space agencies that have been launched into space over the past two decades.
Kepler discovered thousands, including lava-rich planets, and TESS launched three years ago, keeps on increasing its own range of peculiar planets.
But for all the discovered planets, only a bunch are placed in the “Goldilocks zone” – an area around a star where the conditions are adequate for liquid water to be present on the surface.
Going too close to stars makes matter boil away, while going too far makes it freeze, which makes life as we know it, quite a picky ordeal.
A few dozen exoplanets inhabit the Goldilocks zone surrounding their host stars, limiting the query of possibly habitable planets where researchers can look for traces of alien life.
Usually, they analyze planets similar to Earth. After all, our dear planet supports living, breathing creatures of numerous species, so it only makes sense that similar conditions, albeit elsewhere in the Universe, would lead to the same outcome.
However, there is some bad news in store for enthusiasts of such worlds – The planets that can support life just like on Earth are extremely rare.
In a recent study posted in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers analyzed 10 Earth-like planets orbiting Goldilocks zones, with a particular aim of determining their potential for photosynthesis.
The team analyzed 10 Earth analogues and found none coming close to the photosynthetically active radiation levels that planets receive.
We knew that our planet was unique for numerous reasons, but we never thought that the conditions we have on Earth are so rare in the Universe.