Exoplanet graveyard rocks ‘from alien worlds stars ripped apart’, say experts

Astronomers have discovered never-seen-before rock types, made up of unusual ratios of minerals which they believe are the remains of alien worlds ripped apart by their dying host stars.

Research suggests that such exoplanets are built from a much wider array of materials than previously thought as a study that examined 23 white dwarfs showed dying stars ripped apart their orbiting planets.

The small, dense remains of low and medium-mass stars, within 650 light-years of the sun, also showed that the atmospheres of these white dwarfs contain the guts from the alien worlds they destroyed.

Scientists also worked out the ratio of different elements in the atmospheres by analysing the light given off by the stars; then, they calculated the most likely makeup of the minerals that would have formed the obliterated planets.

Only one of the white dwarfs contained the remains of exoplanets with a similar geological make-up to Earth.

Within the rest of the dead stars, the researchers found the remains of exoplanets made of alien rocks never seen on our planet or the rest of the solar system.

According to Live Science, the rocks were so different from those known to science that the researchers even had to create brand new names to classify them.

Lead author Siyi Xu, an astronomer at the National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) in Arizona, said in a statement: "While some exoplanets that once orbited white dwarfs appear similar to Earth, most have rock types that are exotic to our solar system

"They have no direct counterparts in the solar system."

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The news comes after scientists began probing a “holy grail” solar system to learn more about planets that could be home to alien life.

According to NASA, the star Trappist-1, at the heart of the planetary system, looked remarkably like Earth when it was discovered in 2017.

Since then, astronomers have found yet more information about the system, including that it contains more planets and could be a home to life, according to the Independent.

New research shows that the seven planets are vastly different to Earth but are positioned in a “near-perfect harmony” in their orbit.

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