This Fascinating Exoplanet Looks Like Earth, But You Need to Check One Key Thing to Make Sure

This Fascinating Exoplanet Looks Like Earth, But You Need to Check One Key Thing to Make Sure
This Fascinating Exoplanet Looks Like Earth, But You Need to Check One Key Thing to Make Sure

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SPACE – It is called “Gliese 12 b”, it revolves around a star smaller than our Sun and is 40 light years from us. This exoplanet discovered using NASA’s TESS telescope is very similar to Earth, as explained in this study from the University of Tokyo, published in The Astophysical Journal Letters.

Such a resemblance that it could well be habitable… If “Gliese 12 b” is the closest exoplanet with dimensions similar to Earth that we know, it is still a little smaller and more closely resembles Venus in several aspects. “Although we do not yet know if it has an atmosphere, we consider it to be an exo-Venus, with a size and energy similar to that of our planetary neighbor in the solar system” explains Akihiko Fukui, assistant project professor at the University of Tokyo, in the NASA press release.

“Gliese 12 b” revolves around a star called Gliese 12, but the planet is so close to it that it goes around it in 12.8 days. Under these conditions, how can it be habitable, when we know that Venus takes 225 days to go around the Sun and that the temperature on its surface is around 460°C?

The atmosphere, the key to everything

The answer lies in Gliese 12. It is a so-called red dwarf star, meaning it is only a quarter the size of our Sun and its temperature is 60% of that. this. It is this reduced luminosity from Gliese 12 that would allow the planet to have a temperature of 42°C on its surface.

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NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt An artist’s illustration comparing Gliese12 b and Earth based on its atmosphere type

NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt

An artist’s illustration comparing Gliese12 b and Earth based on its atmosphere type

But another essential element makes the difference between a habitable planet, that is to say with water in liquid form as found on Earth, and another which is not: the atmosphere. Without this condition, life could not develop on “Gliese 12 b”. Conversely, if it had too thick an atmosphere, it would then be as uninhabitable as Venus. The right combination lies between the two, with a present but thin atmosphere, like our Earth.

There are therefore many unanswered questions. Other analyzes may be able to answer this, in particular thanks to the James Webb telescope.

Also read on HuffPost :

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