Earth-like exoplanets could also be quite common within the universe, a new UCLA research suggests.
Scientists led by Alexandra Doyle (UCLA) graduate student of geochemistry and astrochemistry, came up with a new method to research the geochemistry of planets outside our solar system for the research, which was published within the journal Science this week.
“We’ve just raised the probability that many rocky planets are like the Earth, and there’s a vast number of rocky planets within the universe,” co-author Edward Young, UCLA professor of geochemistry and cosmochemistry, mentioned in a statement.
Doyle analyzed the elements in rocks from asteroids, or rocky planet fragments, orbiting six white dwarf stars.
“Observing a white dwarf is like doing an autopsy on the contents of what it has devoured in its solar system,” she mentioned.
The researchers studied the six elements in rock: iron, oxygen, silicon, magnesium, calcium, and aluminum.
The scientists used calculations and formulas since they’re unable to study actual rocks from white dwarfs.
The analyzed data have been collected by telescopes, mostly from the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, based on UCLA.
“If extraterrestrial rocks have the same quantity of oxidation because the Earth has, then you can conclude the planet has similar plate tectonics and related potential for magnetic fields because the Earth, that is widely believed to be key ingredients for life,” stated co-author Hilke Schlichting, UCLA associate professor of astrophysics and planetary science. “This research is a leap forward in being able to make these inferences for bodies outside our solar system and signifies there may be truly Earth analogs.”