New theoretical models help search for Earth-like planets

Washington, Nov. 15 : Researchers are using new theoretical models to find if Earth-like conditions exist in some other planet.

Yann Alibert of the Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) at the University of Bern, said that the question whether so-called exoplanets are habitable or not is difficult to answer, as all the necessary conditions a planet has to fulfill in order to be habitable is not known.

Based on the mass and radius of a planet Yann Alibert was able to determine criteria that exclude the possibility of life as we know it.

The data required first, planetary mass, is for example provided by the HARPS-spectrograph in Chile, which was developed by the University of Geneva and Bern in cooperation with further partners.

From 2017 the space telescope "CHEOPS," developed and built under the supervision of the ESA and the CSH, will be used to accurately determine the radius of certain planets, the second required data.
Thanks to Alibert's method, one is able to deduce whether a planet is inhabitable from the data provided by HARPS and CHEOPS.

Alibert said that this theoretical model will help astronomers concentrate on promising candidates in their search for Earth-like planets.

The study has been published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

--ANI (Posted on 15-11-2013)

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