A new study, published in the scientific journal Astrobiology, has identified 24 potentially “superhabitable” planets that may have conditions more suited to host life.
They could be slightly older than the Earth (4.5 billion years old), “a little larger, slightly warmer and possibly wetter.”
They may also orbit stars with longer lifespans than the sun, the researchers found.
Washington State University (WSU) geobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch led a study published in the journal Astrobiology last month.
The researchers created a set of criteria for planets to qualify as potentially superhabitable.
This list includes an age of between 5 billion and 8 billions years old (Earth is about 4.5 billion years old) and a location within a star’s habitable zone where liquid water could exist.
They also looked for long-lived stars that are cooler than our sun. The 24 top contenders for superhabitable planets are all more than 100 light years away, but Schulze-Makuch said the study could help focus future observation effort.
The researchers searched among the 4,500 known exoplanets outside our solar system for candidates which could be even more habitable than Earth.