“Water is an essential requirement for life as we know it, for this reason currently some of Jupiter’s moons, such as Europe or the moon of Saturn Enceladus, are NASA’s main objectives for programs aimed at finding life formsalthough these bodies have no atmosphere, “says Lynnae Quick of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, who analyzed data for several dozen exoplanets, including the bodies of the TRAPPIST-1 system, finding that over a quarter of the planets analyzed appear meet the requirements for hosting liquid or frozen water.
“Many of these planets could release more energy than Europe or Enceladus, which means that by measuring the heat emitted by an exoplanet or by detecting volcanic or criovulcanic eruptions it would be possible to confirm our hypotheses”, continues the scientist, specifying that currently available technologies do not allow scientists to detect the necessary data, but mathematical models based on astronomical knowledge and the functioning of our Solar System could be fundamental for the differentiation of potentially habitable and inhospitable worlds.
“This implies that the models can only help us understand where to look, while the data may come in the future from devices such as NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope,” adds Aki Roberge, astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard center and second article signature .
The team selected 53 known exoplanets of similar size to Earth, and since 2017 have identified 30 possible bodies that could meet the requirements necessary for the presence of water and potentially life. “The parameters that we consider indispensable for the presence of life are very limited, and vary from volcanic activity, which must be adequate to release gas into the atmosphere but still allow habitability, the presence of liquid water, the right amount of light and heat that must hit the planet’s surface, down to atmospheric pressure and radiation levels, “commented the researchers.
“In the next decade, NASA’s Europa Clipper mission will explore Europe’s subsoil, one of Jupiter’s moons to deepen our knowledge of the environment and the area below the surface, in the hope that that information will help us discover new characteristics useful for life on other planets “, concludes Quick. (AGI)