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Radioactive planets

1 Mar 2019, 11:00 UTC
Radioactive planets ESO

Using the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope, a team of scientists recently carried out the largest ever search for thorium in stars that are almost identical to the Sun: solar twins. The presence of thorium is an indicator that any rocky planets around these stars may host plate tectonics, which can trigger and support life. We speak to two of the scientists involved in this search to find out whether these results have strengthened the claim for the existence of life elsewhere in the Milky Way.

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