Two Key Ingredients for Habitable Planets Found for First Time Beyond Our Solar System
Located 150 light years away astronomers have discovered two main ingredients for habitable planets circling around a star. The white dwarf star known as GD 61 is at its end of its life but when astronomers were observing it they found fragments of an asteroid with significant amounts of water orbiting the star. With these findings it is very possible that this planetary system could have harboured habitable planets at one point. This is indeed the first time scientists have found these two ingredients for the first time beyond our solar system. “These water-rich building blocks, and the terrestrial planets they build, may in fact be common — a system cannot create things as big as asteroids and avoid building planets, and GD 61 had the ingredients to deliver lots of water to their surfaces,” Farihi said.
A question posed is where did the water come from? Well one answer is a minor planet that might of had a diameter of 90 km orbited the star GD 61 before the star became a white dwarf 200 million years ago. When you think about our own planet Earth you wonder where did our own source of water come from? The answer to that could possibly be a water rich asteroid that crashed into Earth billions of years ago. Earth can be considered a ‘dry’ planet with only 0.02% of its mass as surface water. The analyzed asteroid showed that it was composed 26% of water which is very similar to Ceres the dwarf planet located in our asteroid belt. Scientist go on to say this is the first reliable evidence of what happens after 6 billion years. It’s like a future alien race studying our solar system in another 5-6 billion years and looking at our remains. It’s very exciting news and if you are interested in finding out what methods they used to piece together where water came from check out the source from Daily Galaxy here.