University of St Andrews researchers has used a new computational model to identify if newly discovered planets can support Earth-like plate tectonics as researchers have found a new category of planet called eggshell planets. These planets orbits around distance stars and have ultra-thin crusts to sustain life.
The researchers want to find the right conditions for plate tectonics on exoworlds and not the right temperature for water. The new model that they have discovered will help them to predict the nature of plate tectonics.
Earth-like subduction zone plate tectonics plays an important role to build up habitation on any planet. Volcanism and chemical weathering have contributed to enhance the knock-on effects of plate tectonics. Water has got combined with this factor and they together kept the climate of the Earth habitable for billions of years.
Astronomers has found 4000 planets orbiting other stars and they called it exoplanets. Researchers have used a large set of computer models in order to find out what combinations of planetary and stellar properties effect the thickness of a planet’s outer surface.
The thickness of planet’s surface regulates many things such as if the planet will be able to support plate tectonics and habitation.
Factors behind the thickness
Factors such as size, interior temperature and climate effects the thickness of any planet’s outer layer. Also, the distance with it host star plays an important role in it.
Researchers found out that surface temperature is much more important than internal temperature of a planet to build habitation.
The team has found out that some of the ‘eggshell planets’ have a very thin crust which is only one kilometre in depth. But Earth and Mars have crusts which are 40 to 100km deep.
The team believes that this model can be used to predict the atmospheres around any exoplanet.