An artistic view of the frozen surface of Barnard’s Star b. (Credit: M. Kornmesser/ESO)
E. T. would actually be out there, scientists have said in a shocking new development. He can only live on a planet 30 trillion kilometers from Earth, though.
A new article published by astrophysicists at the Villanova University suggests that the planet orbits Barnard’s Star known as Barnard b, could have the potential for the existence of extraterrestrial life, if there is water present on the planet. That is due to the possibility of geothermal heating, which could result in a ocean for the primitive life.
“Geothermal heating can support “life zones” under the surface, similar to underground lakes found in Antarctica,” said Edward Guinan in a statement.
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The temperature in Barnard B is similar to that of Jupiter’s moon Europa, about 238 degrees below zero, but given the likely presence of the oceans in the Jupiter-moon-satellite, astrophysicists are holding out hope that the newly-discovered planet may also harbor oceans.
“We have noticed that the temperature on the surface on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa is similar to Barnard b, but because of tidal heating, Europa probably has liquid oceans under the icy surface,” Data added in the statement.
For comparison, a rubber freezes below -98 °F / -72 °C, and the human blood freezes between -2°C and -3°C.
Guinan, who worked on the paper next to Scott Engle, presented the findings at the American Astronomy Society (AAS) in Seattle on Thursday.
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Although Barnard b was only discovered a few months ago, Barnard ‘ s Star is on the radar of the astrophysicists for some time, Guinan added. “In 2003, was one of the founders of star a member of the Villanova ‘Living with a Red Dwarf” program, which was sponsored by the National Science Foundation/National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA).”
Barnard’s Star is the second closest red dwarf star of our solar system (after Proxima Centauri), 30 trillion kilometers from Earth. The team of researchers discovered that the planet in November combined 20 years worth of data from seven individual instruments to their conclusion
Some have speculated that Barnard b, it is unlikely to be a host to life, given the distance from the star and that may not be in the possession of an atmosphere, but Guinan and Engle are not giving up hope.
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“The most important aspect of the discovery of Barnard’s star b is that the two nearest star systems to the Sun are now known to host planets. This supports the earlier studies based on the Kepler Mission data, derive that the planets may be very common in the milky way, even the numbering in the tens of billions,” Engle noted. “Also, Barnard’s Star is about twice as old as the Sun – about 9 billion years old compared to 4.6 billion years for the Sun. The universe is the produce of the Earth-size planets are much longer than we have, or even the Sun itself, have come into existence.”
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