A new report released by Science Advances discussed the work of a team of scientists that managed to point out the conditions an exoplanet has to meet to house life. Even more, two newly found exoplanets might house extraterrestrial life, according to the recent research.
The biggest question of humankind, “Are we alone in the Universe?” might finally get closer to an answer. The new study, carried out by the researchers from the University of Cambridge, in the UK, found out which conditions a planet has to meet to be able to develop and sustain life, following the example of our world, the Earth.
The critical conditions for exoplanets to house life
As reported by the scientists, following the example of the Earth, the UV radiations from the host star is a decisive factor in life development and sustainment.
“Life as we know it requires a variety of molecular structures that perform various functions within the cell. These include DNA, RNA, proteins and cell membranes, which are made up of relatively simple building blocks of life, such as lipids, nucleotides and amino acids,” said Pual Rimmer, a researcher at the University of Cambridge.
According to him, the origins of the building blocks of life were a mystery, but recent scientific discoveries and studies depicted how these elements emerged on Earth.
Paul Rimmer added that hydrogen cyanide (some negatively charged ions) trigger the development of the building blocks of life, but only under the right amount of UV radiations.
Besides, an exoplanet must orbit its host star within the habitable zone and have a rocky terrain and water.
Two newly found exoplanets might house extraterrestrial life
Although an exoplanet that meets both the habitable zone and the biochemistry conditions is challenging to find, fortunately, the scientists have already discovered two exoplanets that could house extraterrestrial life.
The first one, Kepler-425b, also dubbed as the Earth’s cousin, could hold life forms similar to what we have on our planet. On the other hand, the second exoplanet, Kepler-62e, might also possess the right biochemistry conditions for alien life to develop but is not rocky.
“We found two candidates. Kepler-452b is the smallest exoplanet we know that resides definitively located in both the habitable and abiogenesis [simple organic compound that make life possible] zones. Exoplanet Kepler-62e may also be in the abiogenesis zone, but it is not as likely to be rocky,” concluded Paul Rimmer.