How tiny red stars can test ideas about the origin of life

Ultracool dwarf stars lack the UV light thought to be needed to kick-start life

An illustration of exoplanets in orbit around a small, dim dwarf star.

Ultracool dwarf stars the size of Jupiter (one illustrated) don’t put out enough ultraviolet light to start life, but could reveal other routes to the formation of basic, biological chemicals.


A survey of small, cool stars is helping to narrow in on the conditions that might set the stage for life beyond our solar system.