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Astronomers have discovered a planet that appears to be covered in active volcanoes. In a study released Tuesday, , a multinational team of scientists announced the discovery of an Earth-sized exoplanet that may have water on part of its surface. Boring name LP 791-18 d (sadly no one thought to call it that) ) is about 90 light-years away from Earth. crater constellation. LP 791-18 d orbits a tidally locked red dwarf star. This planet does not have a day-night cycle like Earth. Instead, one part of the LP 791-18 d is always burning in the sun and the other is always in the dark.
“The dayside would probably be too hot for liquid water to exist on the surface. But the amount of volcanic activity we suspect is occurring on Earth could sustain the atmosphere, so Water can condense on the night side,” Björn Benneke, one of the astronomers who studied the planet, told NASA. .
The LP 791-18 system contains at least two other planets called LP 791-18 b and c. The latter is 2.5 times larger than her on Earth and has more than 7 times her mass. It also affects the orbit of LP 791-18 d, which follows an elliptical orbit around the solar system. This path is meant to transform each time LP 791-18 d completes an orbit. “These deformations could heat the interior of the planet significantly and cause enough internal friction to cause volcanic activity on the surface,” NASA said.
“A big question in astrobiology, the broad study of the origins of life on Earth and beyond, is whether crustal and volcanic activity is necessary for life,” said study co-author Jesse Christiansen. Stated. “In addition to potentially providing an atmosphere, these processes contain substances we think are important to life, such as carbon, which could otherwise subside and become trapped in the crust. It can agitate other substances.”
NASA, ESA, and CSA already plan to put the James Webb Space Telescope’s thermal imaging instrument on board LP 791-18c. The team that discovered LP 791-18 d believes the exoplanet will be an “exceptional candidate for mission atmospheric studies.” Remarkably, this veteran helped find LP 791-18 d before NASA retired it in 2020. This week, the U.S. Space Force Explore the feasibility of reviving telescopes from retirement.
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