Astronomers have discovered a new planet called Bernard B which orbit the Bernard Star in the late last year. This planet is one of the nearest to our solar system at only 6 light-years away. But the discoverer had revealed that this icy-cold planet could not support life-forms.
Astronomers believed that Bernard B is extremely cold at around -170deg Celsius. However, this planet might be home to some other lifeforms.
Scientists predict it might be able to harbor primitive life if it has a big iron and nickel core and geothermal activity.
Astronomers and astrophysics from Villanova University explained their findings at the 233 meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Seattle, Washington.
Guinan said, “Geothermal heating could support ‘life zones’ under its surface, akin to subsurface lakes found in Antarctica. We note that the surface temperature on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa is similar to Barnard b but, because of tidal heating, Europa probably has liquid oceans under its icy surface.”
The mass of this planet is over three times that of our earth and goes around its star every 233 days. Researchers now hope they can look more at the planet in an attempt to understand its “atmosphere, surface, and potential habitability”.
Engle said: “The most significant aspect of the discovery of Barnard’s star b is that the two nearest star systems to the Sun are now known to host planets. This supports previous studies based on Kepler Mission data, inferring that planets can be very common throughout the galaxy, even numbering in the tens of billions.
“Also, Barnard’s Star is about twice as old as the Sun – about 9 billion years old compared to 4.6 billion years for the Sun. The universe has been producing Earth-size planets far longer than we, or even the Sun itself, have existed.”