Milky Way would have planets with oceans and continents: study

Water was an essential part of the basic components of the Earth. Since your molecule occurs frequently, there is a reasonable probability that applies to all planets in the Milky Way, that is to say, that there is water in more celestial bodies. That’s the conclusion of a new study from the GLOBE Institute at the University of Copenhagen, which used a computer model to calculate with what speed planets are formed and from which building blocks.

The study, published in Science Advances, indicates that they were millimeter-size dust particles of ice and carbon, known to orbit all the young stars in the Milky Way, which 4.5 billion years ago accumulated in formation. of what would later become Earth.

“To the point where the Earth had grown to one percent of its current mass, our planet grew by capturing masses of pebbles filled with ice and carbon. The Earth then grew faster and faster until it became as large as we know it today. At Along the way, the temperature at the surface rose sharply, causing the ice from the pebbles to evaporate on the way to the surface, so that currently only 0.1 percent of the planet is made up of water, although 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water »says Anders Johansen, a professor at the GLOBE Institute’s Center for Star and Planet Formation, who together with his research team in Lund ten years ago put forward the theory now confirmed by the new study.

The theory, called Pebbles accretion, is that the planets are made up of pebbles that are grouped together and that the planets then grow more and more.

Anders Johansen explains that the water molecule (H2O) is found everywhere in our galaxy and that therefore the theory opens the possibility that other planets have formed in the same way as Earth, Mars and Venus.

‘All the planets in the Milky Way can be made up of the same building blocks, which means that planets with the same amount of water and carbon as Earth, and therefore potential places where life may be present, occur frequently around other stars in our galaxy, provided the temperature is right, « he says in a statement.

If the planets of our galaxy had the same basic components and the same temperature conditions as the Earth, there will also be a good chance that they have roughly the same amount of water and continents as our planet.

Professor Martín Bizzarro, co-author of the study, says: «With our model, all planets obtain the same amount of water, and this suggests that other planets may have not only the same amount of water and oceans, but also the same number of continents as here on Earth. It offers good opportunities for the emergence of life, « he says.

If, on the other hand, the amount of water present on the planets were random, the planets could look very different. Some planets would be too dry to develop life, while others would be completely covered by water.

« A planet covered by water, of course, would be good for maritime beings, but it would offer less than ideal conditions for the formation of civilizations that can observe the universe, » says Anders Johansen.