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This Earth-sized planet could be completely covered in volcanoes

An artist’s depiction of the planet called LP 791-18 d.
Illustration: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Chris Smith (KRBwyle)

In this world, the floor is lava and there is no sofa to jump on: Aastronomers have described a planet that could be completely covered by active volcanoes.

Data from NASA Transit satellite for exoplanet exploration And the Spitzer space telescope is now deactivated revealed Earth size rocky planet with some extreme features. The planet, named LP 791-18 d, orbits the red dwarf at a distance of about 90 lightyears from Earth in the constellation Crater. in the world elliptical orbit causes it deform slightly every time he passes close to dwarf starcreating friction within the planet, which can cause volcanic activity over its entire surface. Research work of astronomers about the planet published Today in nature.

“LP 791-18 d is tidally locked, meaning that the same side is constantly facing its star,” said co-author Bjorn Bennecke, professor of astronomy at the University of Montreal, at NASA. Press release. “The day side is likely to be too hot for liquid water to exist on the surface. But the level of volcanic activity that we suspect is occurring across the planet could support an atmosphere that could allow water to condense on the night side.”

There are two other planets in the star system, called LP 791-18 b and c. LP 791-18 b is about 20% larger than Earth. and c is 2.5 times the width Earth and seven times its mass. The researchers reserved time to study LP 791-18 c with Webb Space Telescope. The data on potentially volcanic LP 791-18d came from defunct Spicer; they were some of the telescope’s latest observations. Despite the harsh surface of the planet, researchers believe that this geological activity and potential atmosphere can create a habitable environment.

“The big question in astrobiology, a field that broadly studies the origins of life on Earth and beyond, is whether life requires tectonic or volcanic activity,” said co-author Jesse Christiansen, a researcher at NASA’s Exoplanet Institute. “In addition to potentially creating an atmosphere, these processes can churn up materials that would otherwise sink down and be trapped in the Earth’s crust, including those we think are important to life, such as carbon.”

Astronomers don’t have to look that far to study extraterrestrial volcanoes. Here in our solar system is Jupiter’s moon Io. positively luminous by volcanic activity. And on Venus, whose geological activity remained a mystery, volcanic eruption in the early 1990sA showed a recent data analysis.

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