Astronomy Research Paper

Submitted By mkwok40
Words: 738
Pages: 3

The Search for Earth’s Twin Astronomers are studying planets outside of our solar system in hopes that one day they may be able to stand on one, to breathe its air, and to drink the water that melts off its glaciers. As the earth becomes more populated, astronomers are searching for earth’s twin planet in order to save the human race.
There are billions of planets in the universe and astronomers are searching for the one perfect exoplanet suitable for humans. An exoplanet is “a planet that orbits a star outside of the solar system” (“Exoplanet”). The current telescope that spots exoplanets is NASA’s Kepler space telescope. Since the Kepler does not view planets in detail, an improved telescope named the European-Extremely Large Telescope will be built by 2022. This telescope will allow astronomers to spot the ‘wobble’ the gravity from any exoplanet generates in their nearby star. In fact, it will analyse the light they give off with its light-collecting mirror, which will be the largest of any of the previous telescopes built. The characteristics of the light can reveal which gases are present in a planet’s atmosphere, whether it has oceans, and whether it plays host to life (“Earth’s Twin” 36). The information that the E-ELT will be able to collect will aid astronomers in discovering many more exoplanets and it will allow the detailed study of planets that may or may not be earth’s twin planet. On the hunt for an Earth-like planet, astronomers must discover what types of planets will be habitable. Researchers believe that there is a “Goldilocks zone” around each star where a planet’s temperature would be perfect to host life (“Earth’s Twin” 41). Assuming it is habitable, this exoplanet would need to have an atmosphere like earth. Scientists have also been looking into the outcome of an Earth-like planet having more hydrogen in its atmosphere than our own planet. This would be possible for a planet larger than our own because its greater pull of gravity would hold onto the gas. The hydrogen would produce a powerful greenhouse effect and keep the planet warm (“Earth’s Twin” 42). Considering this to be true, the zone for a “Super-Earth” to sustain life could be further from the parent star than for an exact replica of the Earth (“Life on other planets” 40).
Even if our planet’s doppelganger is found, it will not be easy to live on at first. Humans will have to adapt to this unfamiliar planet, which will most likely be based on a completely different biochemistry to ours. Colonists may not be able to grow food in such circumstances. Microbes on the planet could be deadly to us because humans have evolved no natural defense against them. To live on such an exoplanet, technological and biomedical aids would have to be developed such as artificial enzymes to help us digest indigenous foods, or air filters to strain out natural pollutants (“Earth’s Twin” 42). There will