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NASA: Earth-Sized 'Tatooine' Planets In Twin Star Systems Could Support Conditions For Life

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13/04/2017 17:46 | Updated 17 April 2017

Double rainbows and double sunsets are among the spectacular features that would welcome a visitor to a planet with two suns.

Now NASA has offered another reason to investigate the so-called Tatooine worlds, which are named after Anakin Skywalker’s home in Star Wars.

In the right circumstances, they might be habitable.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

While the Tatooine planets we already know about are large and gaseous, a hypothetical Earth-sized planet in a twin-star system could support water and the temperatures required for life to develop, the researchers found.

“This means that double-star systems of the type studied here are excellent candidates to host habitable planets, despite the large variations in the amount of starlight hypothetical planets in such a system would receive,” said Max Popp, a researcher at Princeton University.

The research team simulated the conditions for a hypothetical, Earth-sized, water-covered planet in the Kepler-35 system.

Siegfried Eggl, a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, said: “Our research is motivated by the fact that searching for potentially habitable planets requires a lot of effort, so it is good to know in advance where to look.

“We show that it’s worth targeting double-star systems.”

As many as 50% of the galaxy’s planets are thought to orbit twin-star systems.

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