Habitable Planet Not Likely In Tau Ceti System

Several science fiction books and TV shows such as Star Trek have featured the Tau Ceti system as having at least one habitable planet, but a recent study may bring that prediction to a halt after the results of the Astrophysical Journal study have come to light. The Tau Ceti system, which is one of the closest star systems to Earth at 12-light years away, has five planets dubbed b, c, d, e, and f for lack of better names. Two of the five, Tau Ceti e and Tau Ceti f were previously considered possible choices for at last one habitable planet due to their travel in an orbit, sometimes called the Goldilocks zone. It is called this because of its temperatures deemed “just right” for a supply of liquid water on its surface. Theoretically,  this “just right” factor should give it the ability to support life as we know it.

New Study Says Habitable Planet Debatable

Based on the most recent study by scientists at the Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, the chemical makeup of the two Tau Ceti planets were used to determine their possible evolutionary route, and as it turns out, they were found lacking in the stuff it takes to be a habitable planet. According to lead author, Michael Pagano, the only one of the two Tau Ceti worlds that might be a habitable planet is Tau Ceti f–or at least, more so than Tau Ceti e.  Neither are exactly right to fit to sustain the category of life as we know it, even if they do travel in a “Goldilocks zone orbit.”

Various Facts Show Why Tau Ceti is Uninhabitable

This brand new study showed that the Tau Ceti sun contains a lot more magnesium in relation to silicon than the Earth’s sun. According to the scientists, this means that the two planets are likely to contain high amounts of both magnesium and ferropericlase, an iron rich type of mineral. The  could cause a lack of the evolutionary process as it happened on Earth because it greatly limits planetary plate tectonic activity and limits the appearance of volcanoes. Both played a huge role in life developing on the Earth.

Another issue is that Tau Ceti f is believed to have made its travel into the habitable zone in only the last billion years, which is not long enough to develop life based on the hundreds of millions of years it is thought that it took for life to develop on Earth. Past research brings out data that suggest life on Earth took about three billion years to develop. When it comes to the other three planets in the Tau Ceti System, they are all in orbits that travel much too close to their sun to allow them to be a habitable planet. All five planets are bigger than the Earth as well, and range from four to about six times the size of our planet. While science fiction fans may be sad and disappointed that there is unlikely to be a habitable planet in travel around the Tau Ceti System, it doesn’t mean that we won’t someday find another world with extra-terrestrial life.

It’s not news that that a habitable planet has to have its combination of “Air & Water”: