Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory | 2017 Nov 30
Scientists reduce the chances of life on exoplanets in so-called habitable zones
However, the question of habitability is highly complex. Researchers have recently raised doubts about water on — and thus potential habitability of — frequently cited exoplanets that orbit red dwarfs, the most common stars in the Milky Way.
In two papers in TheAstrophysical Journal Letters, the scientists develop models showing that the stellar wind — the constant outpouring of charged particles that sweep out into space — could severely deplete the atmosphere of such planets over hundreds of millions of years, rendering them unable to host surface-based life as we know it. ...
To broaden the picture, the first paper looks at the timescale of atmospheric retention on Proxima Centauri b (PCb), which orbits the nearest star to our solar system, some 4 light years away. The second paper questions how long oceans could survive on “water worlds” — planets thought to have seas that could be hundreds of miles deep. ...
Is Proxima Centauri b Habitable? A Study of Atmospheric Loss - Chuanfei Dong et al
- Astrophysical Journal Letters 837(2):L26 (2017 Mar 10) DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa6438
arXiv.org > astro-ph > arXiv:1702.04089 > 14 Feb 2017 (v1), 02 Mar 2017 (v2)