Friday, 20 November 2015

Kepler-438 B: Most Earth-Like Exoplanet Is Not Habitable, New Research Suggests

Kepler-438 b. Image courtesy of Oatenslly, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Joel Kontinen

In January, Kepler-438 b was touted as the most Earth-like planet ever discovered. As it orbited its star within the habitable zone, it was seen as a potential home for alien life.

But now a press release issued by the University of Warwick suggests that the planet doesn’t even have an atmosphere:

The most Earth-like planet could have been made uninhabitable by vast quantities of radiation, new research led by the University of Warwick has found.”

Kepler-438b orbits a red dwarf in the constellation Lyra some 470 light-years from us. Slightly bigger than Earth, it orbits its sun in 35.2 days.

It seems to be too close to a hot object:

“The atmosphere of the planet, Kepler-438b, is thought to have been stripped away as a result of radiation emitted from a superflaring Red Dwarf star, Kepler-438.

Regularly occurring every few hundred days, the superflares are approximately ten times more powerful than those ever recorded on the Sun and equivalent to the same energy as 100 billion megatons of TNT

The naturalistic worldview needs habitable exoplanets. It rejects the idea that Earth is special, and wants to see alien life wherever it is possible.

The search for life-friendly exoplanets has produced questionable “discoveries” as some of them, like Gliese 581d and Gliese 581g, might not even exist and some others might be a lot less friendly to life than once assumed.

It’s still safe to say that there’s no place like home in the universe.


University of Warwick. 2015. Most Earth-like planet uninhabitable due to radiation, new research suggests. (18 November).