Curiosity has driven scientists to make crazy discoveries, whether it be about the planet's present, past, or future. Over the years, technology has advanced and improved, resulting in new discoveries almost every day.
But, the process of making such discoveries isn’t that easy. Scientists first study strange matter and create theories and hypotheses, which work as the building blocks leading up to the discovery. As of now, when it comes to searching for extraterrestrial life, there is a concept named the "habitable zone’".
What Is a Habitable Zone?
After observing life on planet earth, scientists believe that any planet that hosts extraterrestrial life must have certain requirements to sustain life. The traditional concept of a habitable zone means having land plains, a breathable atmosphere, and stars surrounding it, which provide it the heat it needs to sustain life. Recently, though, studies have suggested that we might have to redefine the traditional concept of the habitable zone.
The New Emerging Theories
Recently, two studies have been published that have the potential to change the traditional idea of a habitable zone. One of these studies brings a definition that may include more planets, while the other study presents a different definition that excludes some of the planets.
Noah Tuchow, an astronomer at Penn State University, explains the significance of these two studies, stating that despite the contradiction these studies may show, one thing is certain is that they are questioning the classical idea.
The Hycean Planets
While studying the habitable zone, there are some planets that often miss the scientist’s radar, but with the new development, they might be discovered. This new category of planets is called the Hycean planet, suggested by astrophysicist Nikku Madhusudhan and his colleagues at the University of Cambridge. These planets have ocean water bodies lying under the heavy and dense hydrogen-rich atmosphere. This is where the name comes from: ocean and hydrogen.
Madhusudhan also agrees with Tuchow and states that scientists need to leave behind their previous classic ideas about habitable zones and planets. Given the nature of the study, it is evident that these discoveries will continue to change and redefine the universe as it is known.
Your favorite alien movie just might turn into a reality if scientists are able to crack the code and find extraterrestrial life. Are you excited? We sure are!