NEW YORK: Life may be evolving on rocky, Earth-like planets orbiting in the habitable zone of some of our closest stars which are bombarded by high levels of radiation, according to a study. Proxima-b, only 4.24 light years away, receives 250 times more X-ray radiation than Earth and could experience deadly levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on its surface, said researchers from Cornell University in the US. According to the study, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, life already has survived this kind of fierce radiation on the Earth. All of life on Earth today evolved from creatures that thrived during an even greater UV radiation assault than Proxima-b, and other nearby exoplanets, currently endure. The Earth of four billion years ago was a chaotic, irradiated, hot mess. Yet in spite of this, life somehow gained a toehold and then expanded. The same thing could be happening at this very moment on some of the nearest exoplanets, researchers said. They modelled the surface UV environments of the four exoplanets closest to Earth that are potentially habitable: Proxima-b, TRAPPIST-1e, Ross-128b and LHS-1140b. These planets orbit small red dwarf stars which, unlike our Sun, flare frequently, bathing… Read full this story
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