Planet “egg shell” to hunt the habitable world

US and CNRS scientists have tried to simulate the capacity of telluric exoplanets, which are composed of rock, to exhibit tectonic activity, by varying various factors inherent in the planet as well as in its host. Their model could be used for future research on habitable worlds.

On Earth, the occurrence and diversification of life appears to be inextricably linked with the planet’s geological activity (energy flows, remove gas) and their activities tectonics. So, capacity exoplanet to present tectonics can be an important factor in the search for planets outside the sun livable.

A team of French and American scientists tried to determine the thickness lithosphere (outer layer a rocky planet, generally stiff and brittle) of a exoplanet, from the postulate that this deed lithosphere is a major factor influencing the planet’s ability to tectonic activity. In their model, the thickness of the outer layer may depend on several parameters specific to the planet – its size, age, composition, internal and surface temperatures – as well asstar why is it spinning – he brightness and its distance from the planet.

The “eggshell” planet?

The research team was originally part of a exoplanet Adequate in size and composition, and from initial results, age, size, and surface temperature appear to be the most important parameters for lithosphere thickness. Thus, smaller and older planets will generally exhibit a thicker lithosphere, whereas younger or larger planets will exhibit a thinner and brittle lithosphere.

But certain combinations of parameters sometimes lead scientists to find planets with very fine lithospheres, which they call “eggshell planets”. NS exoplanet would have a single lithosphere with little or no surface topography, and would exhibit no tectonics, limiting its ability to protection life.

According to research, such types of exoplanets can exist if the planet is very young, has radiogenic elements that heat the planet from within, and has a high surface temperature (either because of its proximity to its star, or because of its strong greenhouse effect). They also suggest that the two exoplanets known today may be “eggshell” planets!

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A model for finding a livable world?

Thanks to their research, the scientists suggest that their model be used as a practical guide for finding potentially habitable worlds: according to Paul K. Byrne, lead author of the study, “ if you have a specific planet, at a distance from a given star and with a known mass, this model can allow estimation of many other properties ”, including its ability to present tectonics.

Their model could then contribute to the search for possible long-term habitable exoplanets, life that takes a certain amount of time to sustainably develop.

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