Weird Exoplanets Could Harbor Weird Life
New research indicates that life might be able to survive on some of the odder exoplanets discovered so far – from scorching hot worlds with molten surfaces to freezing balls of ice. Habitable planets are usually defined as those where liquid water can exist. But not all exoplanets orbit, like Earth, at a fairly constant distance from their stars. Many travel instead in very eccentric orbits that vary greatly in distance from their stars.
Though planets like these would be very different from Earth, this might not preclude them from being able to support alien life. “Scientists have found microscopic life forms on Earth that can survive all kinds of extreme conditions,” says Stephen Kane, a scientist with the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at the California Institute of Technology.