After the discovery of Kepler-438b in January of this year, scientists have kept an eye on it, hoping to find that the planet so similar to ours can indeed support human life. Sadly, they have reached the conclusion that there is in fact no hope for life on Kepler-438b, as the planet is hit with waves of radiation in the form of solar flares from its sun every few hundred days.
So far, Kepler-438b was the planet that had the highest recorded Earth Similarity Index, being composed of rock, instead of gas, and being in orbit at an appropriate distance from the sun, thus having the ideal characteristics to support human life.
Water was even theorized to be present on the surface of the planet, making it even better of a candidate.
Unfortunately, the planet’s Red Dwarf sun is “superflaring”, a phenomenon that has left the planet completely uninhabitable.
What is superflaring?
Well, the sun, dubbed Kepler-438, is prone to launching huge, very powerful solar flares, every few hundred days. These flares are the equivalent of roughly 100 billion megatons of TNT, each of them more powerful than any solar flare ever produced by our Sun.
All the flaring that the Sun produces has likely resulted in a coronal mass ejection, a large quantity of plasma heading for the planet.
This has most likely destroyed the planet’s atmosphere, leaving it exposed to harmful space radiation, and utterly uninhabitable.
David Armstrong, lead researcher on the subject, says that if the planet had a magnetic field like that of Earth, it could potentially be shielded from some of the effects, and some lifeforms could even still be present on the surface of the planet.
However, chances are looking very slim, as the likelihood of there having been a coronal mass ejection increases.
Colonizing and terraforming has always one of mankind’s biggest dreams. Reaching a planet, modifying it in order to support human life, and starting to live there has been a trope in our society ever since man first laid eyes on a different planet and realized what it was. Well, this is what the Kepler mission is all about.
Started on March 6th 2009 by NASA, the Kepler mission consists of a space station, a spaceship, and a telescope, whose only purpose is to locate planets in other solar systems that can support human life.
So far, the mission has discovered around 1,030 potentially compatible planets, but very few have been thoroughly investigated.
Currently, the biggest hope for human relocation, and also possible alien life, lies in the recently discovered Kepler-452b, also dubbed Earth 2.0.
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