Our planet’s atmosphere arose through a unique chemical process

Since a huge number of life forms on our planet depend on oxygen, it is normal that among the potentially habitable planets in space, scientists look for those that are similar to Earth. This includes those with similar atmospheres. However, scientists believe that we are unlikely to be lucky in the near future. They told this in their new article for Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Photosynthesis on Earth originated in the earliest stages of development. It is logical to assume that for similar processes to occur on other exoplanets, they must receive a sufficient amount of light from their stars. Italian astronomers have subjected to a detailed analysis of the characteristics of the light that comes to the various exoplanets known to mankind, which are located near different types of stars. It turned out that none of them are even close to Earth in these parameters.

Most of their suns are red dwarfs, capable only of burning out their planets with fierce winds and blowing any semblance of atmosphere off them. In searching for a planet that could withstand such an onslaught, experts have found that a red dwarf with lower temperatures would not be able to provide light waves of the length at which photosynthesis could occur. Brighter stars could be successful in this matter, but their lifetimes would not be long enough to create a set of conditions under which life could originate.

Scientists have concluded that of all the exoplanets studied, there are none where conditions would allow photosynthesis to take place over the long period of time required to create an atmosphere similar to Earth’s. Except one. The orange dwarf planet Kepler-442b is more than a thousand light-years from Earth. It has nearly twice the mass of our planet, and its periodicity of rotation allows it to get enough heat. For now, it remains the only possibility.