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New twist in search for aliens

Researchers believe there’s a specific type of star system very different from ours that provides a higher chance for intelligent life.

Two astronauts embark on NASA repair mission

New twist in search for aliens

Two astronauts have visited space as part of a complex NASA repair mission on its international space station.

While some in the scientific community believe finding extraterrestrial life is “probably going to take a long time”, others believe aliens could be more prevalent than previously thought.

A new study suggests intelligent life is likely to inhabit a star system drastically different than ours. The researchers modelled a theoretical Earth into binary star systems – those with two stars – and found that 87 per cent of these “exo-Earths” should have their axis tilted similar to that of Earth, an important ingredient for intelligent life.

“Multiple star systems are common, and about 50 (per cent) of stars have binary companion stars. So, this study can be applied to a large number of solar systems,” said the study’s co-author, Gongjie Li, in a statement.

They probably won’t look like this, but scientists think aliens are more likely to exist in certain star systems.Source:News Limited

These types of discoveries have been made in the past, including most recently LTT 1445 A b, a distant rocky exoplanet that has three stars. LTT 1445 A b is about 22 light-years from Earth. In 2016, NASA discovered a planet orbiting two stars in the OGLE-2007-BLG-349 system, 8,000 light-years away.

A light-year measures distance in space and equals 6 trillion miles.

The researchers compared Earth’s tilt to the tilt of Mars, noting the extreme variations between the two planets, and then looked at what Earth might be like if it were in the Alpha Centauri AB system, 4.4 light-years from Earth.

“Using numerical modelling in α Centauri AB, we show the following: there is a stark contrast between the planetary obliquity variations depending on the host star, planetary neighbours limit the possible spin states for Earth-like obliquity stability, and the presence of a moon can destabilise the obliquity, defying our Earth-based expectations,” the researchers added in the study.

“We simulated what it would be like around other binaries with multiple variations of the stars’ masses, orbital qualities and so on,” said Billy Quarles, the study’s principal investigator, in the statement. “The overall message was positive but not for our nearest neighbour.

The Alpha Centauri group is the closest ‘binary star system’, where the two stars orbit one another. Picture: NASA/ESASource:Supplied

Going out further into deep space, the results became more promising, leading the researchers to believe it’s a possibility.

“In general, the separation between the stars is larger in binary systems, and then the second star has less of an effect on the model of Earth,” Prof Li added. “The planet’s own motion dynamics dominate other influences, and obliquity usually has a smaller variation. So, this is quite optimistic.”

The study has been published in the scientific journal Astrophysical Journal and was funded by NASA’s Exobiology Program.

A comprehensive study published in June found no evidence of extraterrestrial life among more than 1300 stars in proximity to Earth, a hunt that spanned more than three years.

A separate study published that month drastically cut the number of planets that could potentially host intelligent life, noting the definition for the “habitable zone” – the distance between a planet and star – “is likely limited relative to that for microbial life”.

In October, a former NASA scientist published a stunning op-ed, saying he is convinced the space agency “found evidence of life” on Mars in the 1970s. NASA has vehemently denied this claim.

This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission

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