Researchers have found that a giant super-Earth Planet Six light-years away may have simple life.
Barnard B (or GJ 699b) is a recently discovered super-Earth planet orbiting Barnard, the second closest star to Earth.
Barnard B is thought to be extremely cold, with temperatures similar to those of Europa, about 150 degrees below zero Celsius.
But researchers say its iron/nickel “core” temperature is quite high and its geothermal activity is very intense.
Edward Guinan, an astrophysicist at the University of Villanova, said at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society that “geothermal energy can support subsurface life zones, just like underground lakes in Antarctica.”
“We know that Europa’s surface temperature is similar to Barnard b’s. But because of geo
thermal conditions, liquid water may exist beneath the icy surface of Europa. If water exists, geothermal heat may
cause the existence of “life zones” of liquid water beneath the cold surface. This situation is very similar to that of the icy Europa.
“We’ve been focusing on Barnard for some time,” Jonah said. The most important significance of discovering Barnard B planet is that there are planets in both the nearest star systems to the sun.
“This supports previous studies based on Kepler telescope data that planets are ubiquitous in the galaxy, even in tens of billions,” said co-author Scott Engle.
Barnard B is considered a rocky planet with more than three times the mass of Earth.