Let’s admit it: when we think about alien life forms from another planet, we usually imagine them existing way beyond the Milky Way. Or, in the words of George Lucas and his Star Wars movies: “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.” But what if ET hides right in our own cosmic vicinity, meaning in our own Milky Way galaxy?
According to a new study by the University of Florida researchers that SciTechDaily reveals, extraterrestrial life could exist on hundreds of millions of planets from our galaxy. Those cosmic objects are likely placed in their own Goldilocks Zones, where extreme tidal forces can be withstood, and liquid water could thrive.
Doctoral student Sheila Sagear, who’s also a member of the new study, explained:
I think this result is really important for the next decade of exoplanet research, because eyes are shifting toward this population of stars,
These stars are excellent targets to look for small planets in an orbit where it’s conceivable that water might be liquid and therefore the planet might be habitable.
The new research reveals that the planets suspected to be capable of hosting life orbit dwarf stars in the Milky Way. Dwarf stars are the most common type of stars in our galaxy, and billions of planets revolve around them.
The researchers analyzed data from NASA’s Kepler and Gaia telescopes and found that stars with multiple planets were more likely to have circular orbits suitable for water retention. The new discovery opens up countless possibilities for investigating potential life beyond our solar system, with hundreds of millions of promising targets scattered throughout the Milky Way. The new findings are significant for future exoplanet research, as they highlight the importance of exploring planets orbiting dwarf stars and their potential habitability.
The new findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.