Over the past two decades, mankind has discovered more than four thousand exoplanets outside our Solar system. Some of these detected objects may support life, according to the portal phys.org. In order to draw conclusions about what the planet can give hope to humanity in his eternal quest to find “brothers on reason”, has created a unique supercomputer, NASA Discover, in parallel, involved in forecasting the future climate of the Earth. So in what way earth’s climate models can help in the search of alien life?
What is the climate on exoplanets?
As you know, the most promising for studies on the subject of the habitability of the planet is the one that supports a number of necessary conditions. So, found the world needs to be rocky and have liquid water on its surface, to maintain the atmosphere and to possess a magnetic field that would protect the local life from the solar wind. Despite the fact that modern technology does not allow us with detailed precision to explore distant exoplanets orbiting alien stars, and the journey of the spacecraft to the nearest of them would take 75 thousand years, researchers can now judge the climate of a distant world on the basis of the planet, which became our home away from home — Land.
The exploration of distant worlds became possible to implement in reality, so-called “transit method”, which helps not only in finding exoplanets, but also in the analysis of their distances to the parent star to assess the percentage of light blocked by the planets. Such indirect data help professionals to judge the mass of the exoplanet and its approximate climatic characteristics. However, how could we not trying to compare was found in far space objects, many of them are so different from the Land that seem drawn from the imagination. So, most of the planets discovered by the space telescope NASA “Kepler” does not exist in our Solar system.
Most often found extrasolar planets are between the size of the Earth and of gaseous Uranium, which is four times bigger than our planet. In addition, the vast number of potentially habitable exoplanets near dim stars — red dwarfs, which make up the vast majority of stars in our galaxy. Due to the small size of red dwarfs or M stars, the planets should be at a small distance from its bright red star — closer than mercury to the Sun. Such an inconvenient fact leads the scientists to argue about the possible habitability of such worlds, it is known that despite its small size, red dwarfs have a very violent temper, spilling 500 times more harmful ultraviolet radiation than does our Sun. According to experts, such an environment would almost instantly evaporate all the oceans, to deprive of the atmosphere and melting any DNA on the planet close to a red dwarf.
The climate closest to the Earth exoplanet
Climate models of the Earth demonstrate that rocky exoplanets around red dwarf stars may be inhabited, despite radiation. So, the team of experts from NASA recently modeled the possible climatic conditions on Proxima B, also located next to the star is a red dwarf, in order to test whether there is the possibility of having her warm and wet climate that is so vital to organic life.
Proxima B rotates around the star Proxima Centauri a three star system, located just 4.2 light years from the Sun. Scientists believe that they discovered the world is rocky, based on the estimated mass of the planet, which is only slightly larger than the earth. The main problem of Proxima Centauri is the fact that it is 20 times closer to its star than Earth is to the Sun. Thus, the exoplanet takes only 11.2 per day in order to make a complete revolution around its star. This inconvenient can turn Proxima Centauri B in the gravity locked world, that doesn’t Bode well for life on such a planet.
Team Anthony del Genio, planetary scientist from NASA, has managed to modernize the model of the Earth’s climate, first developed in the 1970-ies in order to create a planetary simulator called ROCKE-3D on the basis of the above-mentioned NASA’s Discover supercomputer. The results of an unusual experiment showed that modeling of GHG and water in the atmosphere of Proxima B gives an indication of the presence of the exoplanet clouds, acting by analogy with the umbrella and reflecting harmful radiation of their parent stars. The presence of this phenomenon could lower the temperature on the Sunny side of Proxima b with hot to warm. Other scientists have found that Proxima can form clouds so massive that they would dwarf the sky, if someone looked from the surface.
Such an unusual phenomenon can occur if a planet is gravity closed and slowly rotates on its axis. Force known as the Coriolis effect, causes convection in the place where the star heats the atmosphere. In addition, the combination of the atmosphere and circulation of a possible ocean on the surface of the planet can move warm air to the night side of this alien world, which in turn protects the atmosphere from freezing, even if part of the planet will be devoid of any light.