According to a new theoretical study, most Earth-like exoplanets have yet to be born.
“Earth came early to the party in the evolving universe.”
Above: An artist’s impression of innumerable Earth-like planets that have yet to be born over the next trillion years in the evolving universe. Credits: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)
When our solar system was born 4.6 billion years ago only eight percent of the potentially habitable planets that will ever form in the universe existed. The bulk of those planets – 92 percent – have yet to be born.
A big advantage to our civilization arising early in the evolution of the universe is our being able to use powerful telescopes like Hubble to trace our lineage from the big bang through the early evolution of galaxies.
Study author Peter Behroozi of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, said:
“Our main motivation was understanding the Earth’s place in the context of the rest of the universe. Compared to all the planets that will ever form in the universe, the Earth is actually quite early.”