It turns out that Earth might not be so special after all, as scientists have identified a plethora of planets outside our solar system with conditions that make them more suitable for life than our home.
A study published in the journal Astrobiology identified two dozen planets with conditions which may be more suitable for life than those on Earth, including worlds that are older, larger, slightly warmer and possibly wetter.
Some of the “superhabitable” other worlds also orbit stars that are friendlier to life than our sun, because they change more slowly and have longer lifespans.
“It’s sometimes difficult to convey this principle of superhabitable planets because we think we have the best planet,” said Dirk Schulze-Makuch, the scientist who led the study.
“We have a great number of complex and diverse lifeforms, and many that can survive in extreme environments. It is good to have adaptable life, but that doesn’t mean that we have the best of everything.”
To identify these other worlds of interest, the boffins picked planetary systems that likely have planets orbiting within the host star’s so-called ‘Goldilocks zone’, where conditions are not too hot or cold to allow water to exist on the surface, but just right.
Unfortunately we won’t be visiting any of the 24 planets any time soon, as they are all more than 100 light years away.
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