Earth has served as the default model for habitable planets for a long time. Many researchers have thought that planets with similar environmental conditions could house lifeforms that are like the ones found on our planet.
A new study elaborated by a team of scientists proposes the idea of superhabitable planets. Such planets would excel at hosting life since they would offer excellent conditions.
There is a generous list of factors that can make one planet more habitable in comparison to others. Among them, the scientists mention planets that are older and younger than Earth. Some could also are moderately warmer or wetter. More than 24 superhabitable candidates have been identified until now, and all of them are located at a distance of more than 100 million light-years from Earth.
Future observations were conducted with the help of upcoming space telescopes, including the James Webb Space Telescope, the PLATO space telescope and the LUVIOR Space Observatory. At the start of the study, the researchers worked together on criteria that could be used to classify superhabitable planets. The next step was to use the desired features to analyze more than 4,500 planets.
Finding suitable candidates
Suitable candidates were traced in solar systems that were identified and saved in the Kepler Object of Interest Exoplanet Archive, which was used as a base for the research. The researchers looked for solar systems that appear to host planets around the habitable zone of the host star, which facilitates the presence of liquid water.
Our Sun has a relatively short lifespan, and more than four billion years were needed until life surfaced and started to flourish on Earth. Besides G stars, which are similar to the Sun, researchers decided to explore K stars, which have considerably longer lifespans.
All of the 24 superhabitable planets meet most of the criteria met by the researchers and could be better for life in comparison to Earth.