In their search for alien life, which just has to exist, giving the unfathomable enormity of the Universe, scientists had been looking at exoplanets after a precise pattern. Since Earth is the only planet scientists know for sure that’s inhabited, they had been looking for planets having similar traits – mass, temperature, or size that are all close to what we find on our planet.
Phys.org reveals that astronomers are now looking at the problem of finding alien life from a slightly different perspective. The publication announces that astronomers from the University of Cambridge have found a new class of habitable planets that will likely grant more opportunities to find alien life elsewhere in the Universe.
Hycean planets enter the cosmic scene
Hycean planets represent the new class of habitable planets in question. These objects are hot, covered by oceans, and featuring atmospheres rich in hydrogen. Last but not least, Hycean planets are even more numerous than Earth-like planets.
Dr. Nikku Madhusudhan from the Institute of Astronomy of Cambridge, and also the leader of the new research, said it very clear as quoted by Phys.org:
Hycean planets open a whole new avenue in our search for life elsewhere.
Of course, alien life doesn’t necessarily have to be complex as human beings and animals. Extraterrestrial life can even be represented by microbial organisms.
Madhusudhan said, as also cited by Phys.org:
A biosignature detection would transform our understanding of life in the Universe,
We need to be open about where we expect to find life and what form that life could take, as nature continues to surprise us in often unimaginable ways.
While such an extraordinary diversity of life is present on Earth (over 8.7 million species), maybe one day we’ll find out why other planets are complete wastelands.