The ghost of Earth's future has been found-- that is to say scientists have discovered the remains of a minor planet that's remarkably similar to our own. According to findings, the residue of the destroyed planet has traces of an abundant water source, much like our own. It was found through NASA's Hubble Space Telescope as well as the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.
It was said to be orbiting a white dwarf star located more than a hundred light years away. The study's lead author, Dr Jay Farihi, told the journal Science, that it was a good look into what the future of Earth could be. Just how far into the future? Only about six billion years.
Dr Farihi and his team were able to analyse the planetary debris thanks to the white dwarf's atmosphere. The atmosphere around the dead celestial body, or space graveyard as the experts called it, was full of traces of magnesium, silicon, and iron, as well as an excess of oxygen. It was through these various elements that they concluded what the planet could have been in its "live" state.
Scientists also suggest that the planet was destroyed when it moved too near the white dwarf, possibly by being knocked out of its original orbit. They suggest that it came in contact with a much more massive object with a more powerful gravitational field, like that of a bigger planet.
What the wreckage tells experts is that there used to be "rocky, terrestrial planets" and by the way the fragments are still in the dwarf star's atmosphere, these possible planets could still be there. If this is true then it might be possible that there is a solar system much like ours somewhere in space, complete with terrestrial and gas giant planets.
This discovery is exciting in that it tells us that there could be planets that are habitable and suitable for human life. However, it could also mean that one possible alternative to the Earth has once again been lost and we have to keep searching for another home.
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