According to the latest study, NASA has designed a new model that enhances the habitable exoplanet searching capability of the space agency. The new NASA research will definitely help to improve the understanding of distant planets that might support life. It is because the new model is based on the latest NASA research that determines conditions across three different dimensions instead of one, as in previous models.
The lead author of the study, Yuka Fujii of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), New York, New York and the Earth-Life Science Institute at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan said that using a model that more realistically stimulates atmospheric conditions, they discovered a new process that controls the habitability of exoplanets and also would guide them in identifying candidates for further study.
The researchers explained that the previous model was only one dimensional, vertical. But the new model supports three-dimensional calculation features which allow the team to simulate the circulation of the atmosphere and the special features of that circulation, which one-dimensional models cannot do.
NASA explained that this new model is part of an overall larger effort to discover planets that have the potential of being habitable. So, the most important thing is that this new research will help scientists to figure out whether exoplanets, which are thought to be habitable, have really high chances of supporting life or not. In this way, it will simplify the search process, and hence scientists will focus more on particular potential planets that have a high possibility of sustaining life rather than wasting time on exoplanets that have very less chance of supporting life.
The new research revealed that an exoplanet which is closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun could still have conditions that make it habitable which contradicts the fact that only the planets that are not close to their star are habitable. The research team found out that, those exoplanets that are very close to the star could retain habitability for a longer time. Because, if the planet is too far from the star then, water might dry up and the oceans will freeze. So, the more the planet is close to its star, the more is the chance of evaporation of its ocean. But this will not entirely dry up the water bodies. The UV rays coming out of the star will break the water into hydrogen and oxygen and the hydrogen escapes through space thus making the planet enter into a moist greenhouse state. The research was published in the Astrophysical Journal.