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Aliens: Study suggests life may not be found in nearby exoplanets
Along with exploring other planets within and outside our solar system, we are also searching for other signs of life in the universe. However, a recent study suggests that we may have to look farther than the nearby exoplanets for signs of aliens or extraterrestrial life.
A new study has suggested that alien life may not be found in the nearby exoplanet Proxima b. This exoplanet is believed to have the same characteristics as Earth and is found orbiting a star called Proxima Centauri, which is 4.2 light-years away from our home planet. However, Proxima Centauri is known as an M-type star, a common type of star in the universe that also happens to flare up every now and then. The flare-ups result in an explosion of ultraviolet flares, which the study has indicated can be very violent, and thus it is unlikely to find alien life in Proxima b.
“But given that Proxima Centauri is a cool, small red dwarf star, it means this habitable zone is very close to the star, much closer in than Mercury is to our Sun,” said Andrew Zic of the University of Sydney in Australia. “What our research shows is that this makes the planets very vulnerable to dangerous ionizing radiation that could effectively sterilize planets. Our own sun regularly emits hot clouds of ionized particles during what we call ‘coronal mass ejections.’”
It is also noted that planets that orbit red dwarf stars may not have a magnetic field strong enough to protect them from the coronal mass ejections. These ejections release large amounts of radiation from the star’s outer core.
Even as there may not be life found on nearby exoplanets, astrobiologist Dr. Douglas Vackoch believes that aliens are more likely to respond to any signals we send out to them in space than we think. Dr. Vackoch and his team made use of METI or messaging extraterrestrial intelligence to send signals into space. Speaking to BBC Science Focus Magazine, it is only a matter of time before aliens would respond to our signals, we just need to be patient.
However, Dr. Vackoch also noted that making only one attempt would not have a good chance of being responded to. Thus, Dr. Vackoch says, it is more likely after many attempts.