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Portrait of “a-Cen Earth” livable, only 4.37 light-years away

According to planetary scientist Haiyang Wang, lead author of the study, Earth-like planets are difficult to detect with modern technology and if detected, finding signs of life is also very difficult. difficulty.


Landscape on hypothetical α-Cen Earth – Graphic image from ESO

But given the properties of some nearby star systems like Proxima Centauri (4.2 light-years away) or Alpha Centauri AB (4.37 light-years away), it’s almost certain that there must be several copies of Earth. The earth is wandering in the dark.

Therefore, the authors decided to create a “hypothetical Earth” with specific properties, which later studies could rely on to look for signs of a match.

They call their planet α-Cen Earth, which is assumed to orbit the pair of stars Alpha Centauri AB.

According to Science Alert, based on this star composition, Earth α-Cen will be full of rock-forming elements such as magnesium, silicon, iron… and many volatiles to form a living world. as carbon, oxygen.

The α-Cen Earth would have to have an Earth-like composition and structure with a rocky mantle rich in silicate minerals, diamonds, and graphite, capable of storing water.

The planet’s iron core may be slightly larger than Earth’s and less geologically active, possibly without plate tectonics, making it more similar to Venus than Earth. This may affect its habitability but does not mean that life cannot exist in another way because Venus itself is also being suspected by NASA as having life.

The atmosphere of the early α-Cen Earth would resemble that of the Earth during the Paleozoic, when ancient microorganisms first appeared. This atmosphere would be flooded with methane, carbon dioxide and water.

Because Alpha Centauri AB is 1.5 to 2 billion years older than the Sun, it is possible that α-Cen Earth will be older than Earth and have given enough time for a more advanced life form to develop, despite the obstacles to Plate Tectonics.

According to the team, we have until 2035 to search for Earth α-Cen, because Alpha Centauri A and B, aka Rigil Kentaurus and Toliman, will grow farther and farther apart in orbit until that time. that point, reducing the light. Then the telescope will not be dazzled and have a chance to find small rocky planets like Earth.

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