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Oceans can last forever on super-Earths



Washington, Jan 6 (IANS) A new research finds that oceans on super-Earths can last for billions of years.

Super-Earths are planets up to five times the mass, or 1.5 times the size of Earth.

When scientists consider whether a planet is in the habitable zone, they think about its distance from the Sun and its resultant surface temperature.

"However, they should also think about oceans, and look at super-Earths to find a good sailing or surfing destination," said lead author Laura Schaefer from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

Earth maintains its oceans through planet-wide recycling.

Schaefer used computer simulations to see if this recycling process was applicable to super-Earths.

She found that planets two to four times the mass of Earth are even better at establishing and maintaining oceans than our Earth. The oceans of super-Earths would persist for at least 10 billion years.

"This suggests that if you want to look for life, you should look at older super-Earths," Schaefer added.

Schaefer presented her findings at a press conference at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society on Monday.

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