Although some members of the scientific community believe that finding extraterrestrial life "is likely to take a long time," others believe that aliens may be more common than previously thought.
A new study suggests that intelligent life is likely to inhabit a stellar system that is dramatically different from ours. Researchers modeled a theoretical Earth on binary stellar systems – two-star systems – and found that 87 percent of these exogenous eclipses should have an axis tilted similar to the Earth’s axis, an important component of intelligent life.
"Several stellar systems are common and about 50 [percent] stars have double companion stars. Thus, this study can be applied to a large number of solar systems, ”said Hongjie Li, co-author of the study.
These types of discoveries have been made in the past, including most recently the LTT 1445 A b, a distant rocky exoplanet with three stars. LTT 1445 A b is located about 22 light years from Earth. In 2016, NASA discovered a planet orbiting two stars in the OGLE-2007-BLG-349 system, 8,000 light-years from Earth.
A light year measures distance in space and is 6 trillion miles.
Researchers compared the tilt of the Earth to the tilt of Mars, noting the extreme differences between the two planets, and then looked at what the Earth might look like if it were in the Alpha Centauri AB system, 4.4 light-years from Earth.
“Using numerical simulations in α Centauri AB, we show the following: there is a sharp contrast between variations in the inclination of the planet depending on the host star, the neighbors of the planet limit possible rotation states for stability similar to Earth, and the presence of the moon can destabilize the inclination, ignoring our expectations, related to the Earth, ”the researchers added in the study.
“We modeled what would be around other binaries with multiple variations of stellar masses, orbital qualities, and so on,” said Billy Quarles, research lead researcher, in a statement. “The overall message was positive, but not for our closest neighbor.”
Going deeper into space, the results became more encouraging, which led researchers to believe that this was possible.
“In general, the distance between stars is greater in binary systems, and then the second star has less impact on the Earth’s model,” Lee added. “The planet’s own dynamics dominates other influences, and inclination usually has a smaller change. So it's pretty optimistic. ”
The study was published in the scientific journal Astrophysical Journal and was funded by NASA's exobiology program.
A comprehensive study published in June found no evidence of extraterrestrial life among more than 1,300 stars in close proximity to Earth, a hunt that lasted more than three years.
A separate study published this month drastically reduced the number of planets on which intelligent life could potentially exist, noting that the definition of “habitable zone” —the distance between a planet and a star — is “probably limited relative to the definition for microbial life.”
In October, a former NASA scientist published an amazing article in which he was convinced that the space agency “found evidence of life” on Mars in the 1970s. NASA categorically denies this claim.