close
This ad will auto close in 10 seconds

'Tilted' exoplanets may be habitable if covered in oceans

A new study has recently revealed that exoplanets, whose axis is tilted, may still be habitable if they are covered in oceans.


'Tilted' exoplanets may be habitable if covered in oceans

Washington: A new study has recently revealed that exoplanets, whose axis is tilted, may still be habitable if they are covered in oceans.

Scientists at MIT have found that even a high-obliquity planet, with a nearly horizontal axis, could potentially support life, so long as the planets were completely covered by an ocean. In fact, even a shallow ocean, about 50 meters deep, would be enough to keep such a planet at relatively comfortable temperatures, averaging around 60 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.

David Ferreira, a former research scientist in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) and his colleagues used a model developed at MIT to simulate a high-obliquity "aquaplanet," an Earth-sized planet, at a similar distance from its sun, covered entirely in water.

The three-dimensional model was designed to simulate circulations among the atmosphere, ocean, and sea ice, taking into the account the effects of winds and heat in driving a 3000-meter deep ocean. For comparison, the researchers also coupled the atmospheric model with simplified, motionless "swamp" oceans of various depths: 200 meters, 50 meters, and 10 meters.

For a planet with an extreme, 90-degree tilt, they found that a global ocean, even one as shallow as 50 meters, would absorb enough solar energy throughout the polar summer and release it back into the atmosphere in winter to maintain a rather mild climate. As a result, the planet as a whole would experience spring-like temperatures year round.

The study is published in the journal Icarus.

From Zee News

0 Comment - Join the Discussions