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K Stars: A Key To Finding Life Beyond Earth

Trying to find a place in the sea of stars in space that could support life is going to be a serious challenge. Scientists say they might have found a good direction toward achieving that goal:

A new study finds a particular class of stars called K stars, which are dimmer than the Sun but brighter than the faintest stars, may be particularly promising targets for searching for signs of life.
Why? First, K stars live a very long time — 17 billion to 70 billion years, compared to 10 billion years for the Sun — giving plenty of time for life to evolve. Also, K stars have less extreme activity in their youth than the universe’s dimmest stars, called M stars or “red dwarfs.”

Of course, K stars aren't the definitive path to finding habitable planets but so far, it is our best bet.

(Image credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/Tim Pyle)


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