How many planets have we discovered that can support human life?

  • I have heard a lot of buzz about distant planets that could potentially be second homes for human existence, but what is that approximate number?

    For how long? It seems that all we know of would work only for a rather short timespan, cosmologically...

  • James K

    James K Correct answer

    7 years ago

    There is currently only one planet known to be capable of supporting human life, and you're on it.

    Several planets have been found in the region in which we expect water to be liquid on much of the planet. Of these, only one fits the criteria of being Earth-sized and well placed in the habitable zone: Kepler 186-f

    However we know nothing about it's atmosphere (or lack of one). The star is a red dwarf, so it could be subject to dramatic solar flares. The planet is rather colder than earth, so could be in a perpetual "snowball world" state, depending on the composition of the atmosphere and the strength of the greenhouse effect. The atmosphere would be very unlikely to be even close to breathable, and it is nearly 500 light-years from Earth, so could not be reached in a reasonable amount of time, even with much more advanced propulsion.

    At the moment we can't usually detect most Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of brighter stars like the sun, though the probably do exist and may be common.

    Even counting Earth as one, is maybe a biased overestimation. Only during the last fifth of its history could a human survive here (just considering oxygenation, other organisms would probably kill us even much later or we would not be fit to eat what was growing during a global ice age and whatnot else). We are not easily replanted. If humans ever go anywhere they'll need to bring a piece of Earth with them, the neighbor will not be a paradise for us.

    *its* atmosphere (sorry)

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM