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Life lurks on a spooky planet free-floating near us?

Wednesday, October 6, 2021 00:05 AM (GMT+7)

US researchers have demonstrated the possibility of life on a “failed planet” – a free-floating planet without a parent star that may be hovering closer to us than any other star system.

Work led by Dr. Manasvi Lingan from Florida Institute of Technology and professor Avi Loeb from Harvard University (USA) shows that planetary-mass objects, freely floating between stars, can possess life-rich oceans beneath the thick crust of ice.

It is a kind of ghost planet that has been recognized by astronomers in recent years. They are difficult to observe because there is no parent star, which means they are not illuminated.

Free-floating ‘ghost planet’ could harbor life – Graphic image from Sci-News

Some studies show that most of them are about the same mass as our Earth, and that many of these planets are closer to the solar system than any other star system. Not even ruling out the possibility that they “get lost” into our own solar system, lurking in a difficult-to-observe area. Therefore, according to the authors, showing their viability is a great opportunity to approach and research.

“The cold of interstellar space would be too much for the oceans to be completely liquid,” Sci-News reports citing the study. However, it is the ocean with its thick frozen surface that helps preserve the heat radiated from the planet’s interior. So between the ice crust and the hot planet’s core is a warm and life-supporting ocean, pretty much what scientists would expect from some of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn.

Life forms on this “spooky planet” are thought to be light-free microorganisms that biologists have found everywhere right here on Earth, some even able to survive. extreme conditions such as hot temperatures inside volcanic craters, under the polar ice or underground caves that are completely lacking in nutrients.

The study has just been published in the International Journal of Astrobiology.


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