Scientists Look to Exoplanet to Predict Earth’s Future as the Sun Expands
A team of international scientists is studying the exoplanet LP 890-9c to gain insight into what might become of Earth as the sun expands. This newly discovered exoplanet, 37% larger than Earth, orbits a red dwarf star 100 light-years away. It is located in the habitable zone, where conditions might be right for liquid water to exist, making it potentially suitable for life.
Scientists see LP 890-9c as a key to understanding how much a planet needs to heat up to release all its water into space. They have modeled three likely scenarios: a damp and mild world similar to Earth; a planet undergoing a runaway greenhouse effect; and a hot, barren world like Venus. The observations from this exoplanet will help predict the conditions on Earth when the sun begins to expand, which could happen in half a billion to a billion years.
Unfortunately, existing telescopes do not allow scientists to categorize LP 890-9c into any of these categories. Thus, they are looking forward to using the resources of the James Webb Space Telescope to determine whether there is liquid water on the planet’s surface, whether the planet could be habitable, and how conditions on Earth might turn out when the sun is old enough to start expanding. If LP 890-9c remains potentially habitable, Earth might have more time before its oceans evaporate. If the planet is already waterless, Earth might have less time than previously thought. This makes LP 890-9c a key to predicting the future of our own planet.
- I'm Vasyl Kolomiiets, a seasoned tech journalist regularly contributing to global publications. Having a profound background in information technologies, I seamlessly blended my technical expertise with my passion for writing, venturing into technology journalism. I've covered a wide range of topics including cutting-edge developments and their impacts on society, contributing to leading tech platforms.
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