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Some potentially habitable planets began as gaseous, Neptune-like worlds

Some potentially habitable planets began as gaseous Neptune like worlds UW Today


Two phenomena known to inhibit the potential habitability of planets — tidal forces and vigorous stellar activity — might instead help chances for life on certain planets orbiting low-mass stars, University of Washington astronomers have found.

In a paper published this month in the journal Astrobiology, UW doctoral studentRodrigo Luger and co-author Rory Barnes, research assistant professor, say the two forces could combine to transform uninhabitable “mini-Neptunes” — big planets in outer orbits with solid cores and thick hydrogen atmospheres — into closer-in, gas-free, potentially habitable worlds.

Stashed in: The Universe, space, SETI, Life finds a way., Mars Humans

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Seems like our definition of habitability is expanding.