Astronomers have long been looking for planets outside of our solar system. They have found several ones, with some rather unique worlds filled with diamonds or a handful of Super-Earths or planets within the habitable zone in their star systems.
With that, the million-dollar question has been asked: can an exoplanet support life like our own do?
Could Exoplanets Support Life as We Know it?
They found many of the exoplanets are clearly uninhabitable since they are far from the habitable zones of their host systems, making them either too cold or too hot.
In addition, many of these distant worlds have uninhabitable environments, especially gas planets, which is why astronomers don't bother looking for some life in these planets even if they are situated in a safe zone.
Although astronomers and scientists have found Super-Earths with rocky formations like ours, they are still unsure whether one of those is able to support life or whether humans can live there in the future.
These experts still have to study each exoplanet they discover carefully to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
However, it might be possible for astronomers to finally "decode" whether an exoplanet is habitable or not.
Creating a Climate Decoder
According to a report by BGR, a team of scientists from Cornell University created a "climate decoder" of sorts, which tells whether a planet may or may not be able to support life through the light coming off from the planet and our telescopes gather.
Their research, which was published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, takes into account several data from the planet, such as the color it appears to have as well as the intensity of the light coming from its host star.
The combination of these data could help experts decode the surface temperature of these planets, which would then help them know if there's a possibility of life as we know it.
"Depending on the kind of star and the exoplanet's primary color-or, the reflecting albedo-the planet's color can mitigate some of the energy given off by the star," said Lisa Kaltenegger, the co-author of the paper.
"What makes up the surface of an exoplanet, how many clouds surround the planet, and the color of the sun can change an exoplanet's climate significantly."
Currently, these scientists are tapping into the power of various space telescopes like the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) to find exoplanets and take a look at these distant worlds.
Answering the Biggest Questions
With the help of their decoder, they may be able to make climate predictions about these planets that could prove to be valuable, especially in answering some of the biggest questions everyone has, including whether there's life apart from our own.
One of the most recent Super-Earth discoveries is that of Kepler-62F.
This special planet amazed astronomers as it was affected by the gravitational microlensing technique they had, which only affects one in a million planets.
Astronomers are still unsure whether the newly discovered planet could support life, but a decoder might help them make predictions.