The official search for habitable planets has been going on for the past 11 years, according to NASA, and scientists have been making significant progress. Scientists have uncovered many facts about other solar systems that may help us find undiscovered habitable planets. They have found that the most common star in the universe, an M Dwarf, could host nearby planets with atmospheres rich with enough carbon molecules to host life.
Scientists have known of planets that contain crucial aspects of habitable planets since NASA’s Kelper mission on December 5, 2011. These aspects include atmospheres containing carbon dioxide, a circular orbit, a gravitational force that is neither too strong nor too weak, and the ability to hold enough water for survival. Finding planets with such components has been a struggle for scientists, yet alongside the hardships, progress is continually made.
The M Dwarf star is similar to the sun except with much more violent solar flares and radiation that showers on close planets. According to CNN News, M Dwarf stars can have orbiting planets containing atmospheres with plenty of carbon dioxide and components that could allow humans to survive. If one of these planets is found to be orbiting close enough to be in the M Dwarf’s atmosphere to have warmth and light, but be far enough away to not be in danger to the M Dwarf, it could be habitable.
Although after the recent studies on GJ 1252b, a known M Dwarf star, coauthor and UC Riverside astrophysicist Stephan Kane says it, “could have 700 times more carbon than Earth has, and it still wouldn’t have an atmosphere. It would build up initially, but then taper off and erode away.” The carbon level of planets orbiting M Dwarfs could drastically change over time causing these plants to be unsustainable of life.
The M Dwarf and its orbiting planets are possibly the answer for the search of habitable planets in our solar system. While scientists have been searching and continue to search, they will only get closer to finding the next perfect planet for humans to possibly live on.