Starless planets could be warm enough for human survival: Study

Published: Monday, February 21, 2011, 14:30 [IST]
 

London, Feb 21 (ANI): It seems that starless planets may be able to harbour human life after all.

In what has offered new possiblies of life around the galaxy, it has emerged that water can remain in its liquid form even in a starless planet.

Regardless of the force of gravity among planets - that could cause the ejection of the solar systems - and the cold of space, the decay of radioactive elements in the rocky cores is enough to keep these wayward worlds to stay warm, reports New Scientist.

This also explains why water in rocky planets - with a similar mass to Earth - remains liquid under thick and insulating ice sheets for over a billion years.

According to Dorian Abbot and Eric Switzer of the University of Chicago, a planet with the same fraction of water as Earth could keep a subsurface ocean liquid if it was 3.5 times Earth's mass. But a planet with 10 times Earth's water concentration could do this if it weighed just one-third as much as Earth.

"It's a really interesting idea," says Lisa Kaltenegger of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

"But we would have to land on [a planet] and burrow down to see if life is possible." (ANI)

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