New research may indicate that the formation of habitable planets around red dwarf stars might be hindered by the fact that many of these stars do not host Jupiter-sized planets. Jupiter is thought to have played an important role in creating the conditions present in our solar system for the Earth to form and become habitable.

Red dwarfs are small, relatively cool stars that are the most common type of star in the galaxy. Scientists looked at a population of 200 small red dwarfs and estimate that Jupiter-like planets occur in these system less than 2% of time. This means that Earth-sized planets around these stars would have formed and evolved in a much different environment than the Earth.

Click here to read a post discussing the research results from Many Worlds.

The Many Worlds Blog chronicles the search for evidence of life beyond Earth written by author/journalist Marc Kaufman. The “Many Worlds” column is supported by the Lunar Planetary Institute/USRA and informed by NASA’s NExSS initiative, a research coordination network supported by the NASA Astrobiology Program. Any opinions expressed are the author’s alone.