Home Technology Study Evaluates Habitability of Earth-Sized Planets in Trappist-1 System
Study Evaluates Habitability of Earth-Sized Planets in Trappist-1 System

Study Evaluates Habitability of Earth-Sized Planets in Trappist-1 System

A recent study evaluated the habitability of three planets orbiting the Trappist-1, with a focus on radiation released by the dwarf star, and the tides caused by other planets in the system.

Trappist-1 is a red dwarf star located 39 light years from the earth, and has seven known, earth-sized planets orbiting close to the star and each other. The implications of a planet orbiting close to the star in the internal solar system would be that its temperature would be too hot to sustain life. However the Trappist-1 is relatively cooler than the sun, and hence its habitable zone is much closer compared to the planets orbiting the sun.

Three planets in the habitable zone are believed to have environment that can prevent life. Specifically, the fourth planet, TRAPPIST-1e, is supposed to receive the magnitude of the high-energy particles released from the TRAPPIST-1. Co-author Federico Fraschetti explains, "You expect that the particles would get trapped in these tightly wrapped magnetic field lines, but if you introduce turbulence, they can escape, moving perpendicularly to the average stellar field. The flux of these particles in the TRAPPIST-1 system can be up to 1 million times more than the particles flux on Earth."

The team believes that similar to the Earth's magnetic field that keeps potentially dangerous particles at bay, the TRAPPIST-1e may have something similar going on. Although, the theory was ruled out as the planet would require a magnetic field much stronger than the Earth's to guard itself from the radiations. However, owing to the proximity of the planets, the two innermost planets are believed to be powerful enough to trigger water tides, and in turn cause molten lava underneath the surface to erupt, thereby facilitating the planet's sustainability.

As for TRAPPIST-1g, the sixth planet in the system, researchers conclude that it may be experiencing tidal forces similar to the other two planets, which would be enough to keep the water on the planet’s surface perpetually warm.


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