The new method of autopsying planets outside our solar system revealed that Earth-like exoplanets are indeed common in the Universe. But is that a reason to think about alien life? Maybe not, since their white dwarf host stars have already devoured these worlds studied using the new technique.
The scientists examined six white dwarf stars with powerful gravitational forces. The stars pulled and destroyed the rocky exoplanets close to them, which showed similar geochemistry to Earth. And that is a fact as the researchers concluded that the matter devoured by white dwarfs is like the one found on Earth, Mars, and other rocky planets.
Since the Earth hosts life and there are many Earth-like exoplanets in the Universe, the possibility that alien life exists in the cosmos increases. However, at the moment, scientists have not identified extraterrestrial life anywhere in the Universe. But that might soon change, hopefully.
Scientists Study Earth-Like Exoplanets Devoured By Their White Dwarf Hosts
“The more we find commonalities between planets made in our solar system and those around other stars, the more the odds are enhanced that the Earth is not unusual,” explained Edward Young from the UCLA. “The more Earth-like planets, the greater the odds for [alien life] as we understand it,” he added.
It was in the 1990s when the astronomers have first spotted planets outside our solar system. We now know them as “exoplanets.” Until lately, it was challenging for scientists to examine the composition of these alien worlds. But the new idea to focus on white dwarf stars opens new roads to studying exoplanets similar to Earth.
The Earth-like exoplanets orbiting white dwarf stars would get torn apart by the stars’ gravitational forces. The scientists can examine the dust resulting from that process and find out the composition of those already dead planets. “This is where that ‘autopsy’ idea comes from,” concluded Alexandra Doyle, a geochemistry and astrochemistry researcher at the UCLA.