Strange Science: Potential for Hosting Life on Another Planet

Artist's rendering of the superplanet near Barnard's StarResearchers have found that a planet orbiting Barnard’s Star might be able to host life.

Barnard’s Star is roughly 6 light years away from Earth, and the planet orbiting it is roughly 3.2 times larger than Earth. And the average temperature there is negative 274 degrees Fahrenheit. But there are geothermal processes occurring beneath the planet’s icy surface that could suggest that life could evolve there.

At this point, scientists are waiting to see what the James Webb Space Telescope will record regarding this planet. It could be a rocky terrain beneath the ice, which would mean the potential for hosting life. However, the telescope might also see evidence that points to this planet being a gas giant, like Neptune, that would not allow for habitation.

There’s no indication yet as to when scientists will receive their answers, as the James Webb Space Telescope’s launch had not yet occurred (it will launch in 2021). But you can read more about the possibilities of this planet here.


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