Researchers examined eight “solar twins” of our sun (stars that resemble the sun in size, age and overall composition) in order to determine the amounts of radioactive elements they contain. The solar twins came from a dataset obtained by the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher spectrometer at the European Southern Observatory in Chile.
Researchers were looking for elements such as thorium and uranium, which are key to Earth’s plate tectonics because they are key ingredients in the warming of our planet’s interior. Since plate tectonics contribute to the existence of water on the surface of the Earth, the existence of plate tectonics often indicates whether or not a planet could be hospitable to some form of life."
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