Super-Earth(s)?

The idea of discovering new “Earth-like” planets has always intrigue me! I mean, they could be habitable planets that we can ACTUALLY live in? Just like in Terra Nova (I’ll explain more about that series in the end of this post!). Super-Earth, in short, means exoplanets in which their masses are higher than Earth’s, extra points if they are in habitable zones! For now, I am just going to focus on one habitable zone which is Kepler-62. Before that, hats off to those who guess why the zone’s name is Kepler! KEPLER is the name of NASA’s spacecraft in which its job is to find Earth-size planets orbiting another star AND it is also named after Johannes Kepler, world’s renowned astronomer.

Kepler-62f_with_62e_as_Morning_Star
The illustration shows Kepler-62f (in front) and Kepler-62e (the twinkle on the right) orbiting Kepler-62 star. SOURCE

Kepler-62 is the name of a star in Lyra constellation (somewhat cooler than our Sun). It is the smallest habitable zone found and hosted about five exoplanets. There are two main planets in Kepler-62 zone which are Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f.

Most likely to be a water world, Kepler-62e is an exoplanet with 1.6 times the size of Earth. It orbits the red dwarf star once every 122 days. The planet is roughly 1200 light years from Earth and is believed to be more gaseous than rocky, thus called mini-Neptune. Another exoplanet orbiting the same Kepler-62 is called Kepler-62f. This planet is a bit farther out compared to Kepler-62e, seeing as its orbital period is 267 days. It is 1.4 times bigger than Earth and its equilibrium temperature is close to Mars’. Through estimation of its mass, Kepler-62f is most likely to be a rocky planet.

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The Kepler-62 system with its habitable zone in compared to our Solar System. Only two planets are in the zone which are Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f. SOURCE

After further research, it was found that both of the planets are similar to Earth but slightly bigger. It was also discovered that both planets are likely dominated with ocean. Any chances that there are life on those planets? Follow-ups exploration and research are being done to find out more about the habitable zones and other exoplanets. Are there any more habitable zones out there? YES. In fact, there was another zone found in 2013 and was named Kepler-69 and there are actually many more out there!

Now, there is one TV show that I would recommend you guys to watch. Titled Terra Nova, it tells us about the life of a family in far future, where Earth is no longer fit for living due to overpopulation and declining air quality. So, they have to move to another world called Terra Nova where in that world, it was as if Earth was pulled back to the past (means dinosaur still exist!) and they have to fight to survive. Quite a good series, seeing that I am into science fiction. Give it a chance, if you have some time! (It’s on Netflix, btw)

 

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2 thoughts on “Super-Earth(s)?

  1. I’ve always loved the idea of other habitable planets out there in the universe. It makes sense that if there is a habitable zone in our solar system, there should habitable zones in other solar systems as well. It’s always interesting to think about solar systems where more than one world is habitable, such as this Kepler-62 system. If civilization exists on these worlds, would people be able to use space travel to get back and forth between these two worlds? Would traveling to the “next-door” habitable world be somewhat commonplace? It’s definitely a fascinating topic.

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  2. Apart from Kepler-62, there is also another one habitable zone which is Kepler-69. It also have one planet which is in the habitable zone and another one which is orbiting veeeeery close to the star. If civilization ever existed on those worlds, I would say that they might be way, way more defined and modern than us that they can actually travel between the two worlds. Maybe yes, maybe not. Traveling in that sense could happen, if we are interested enough. it should be an engrossing subject to be discussed about! 🙂

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