An artist's depiction of rocky material and a metallic, spherical core both orbiting a white dwarf, with an Earth-like planet in the background.
(Image: © University of California, Los Angeles/Mark A. Garlick/

Destruction of Earth-Like Planets Suggest That We Are Not Alone

New studies of our solar system suggest that Earth and Mars may not be one of a kind in their planetary structure after all. In the past, researchers found that most “rock bodies” in our solar system were formed within high levels of oxygen. Over one hundred thousand times higher than the sun’s hydrogen. These conditions help to build our asteroids, moons and planets.

By analyzing the remains of worlds that have crashed into white dwarf stars, researchers have found a way to analyse the chemistry of distant planets. A white dwarf star is about the size of Earth and appears as a dim fading core of a dead star. The life cycle suggests that our sun will one day end up as a white dwarf along with all other stars in our galaxy. The weight of a white dwarf star is incredibly dense, which gives them a very powerful gravitational pull considering their size. Elements heavier than helium rapidly sink below the surfaces of these stars due to its powerful gravity. Some of the identified elements in other galaxies containing a white dwarf star, including silicon, magnesium, iron, carbon and oxygen, suggest the remains of rocky material similar to both Earth and Mars, but unlike that of Mercury.

Image of a cryostasis machine

So perhaps we are not alone in our solar system. Although these potential Earth-like planets are being destroyed by the white dwarf star before our eyes, other planets of the same structure may still thrive under a strong star out there in the distance. We will need to find a way to travel faster than light or to prolong our astronauts lives in a form of cryostasis to ever reach these planets with potential for life, but the research suggests that we in fact might not be alone after all in this solar system.

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