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I am now in the third week of my annual February birthday fund-raising drive. The first two weeks were good, but not record-setting.


There are still two weeks left in this campaign however. If you have been a regular reader and a fan of my work and have not yet donated or subscribed, please consider doing so. I take no ads, I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands (most of the time). Thus, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


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Two dozen exoplanets superior to Earth for life?

The uncertainty of science: A team of scientists have now identified 24 exoplanets from the Kepler telescope archive that they propse might actually be better for life than Earth itself.

All the exoplanets are rocky and terrestrial, like the Earth. All are in the habitable zone, meaning that they orbit their star at a distance that makes their general temperature comparable to Earth.

What makes them superior, according to these scientists, are three factors. First, their stars are not G-type stars, like the Sun, but K-types. K-types have much longer lifespans, 70 billion years compared to the Sun’s 8 to 10 billion, allowing more time for life to develop.

Second, the planets have a slightly greater mass than Earth.

Part of the reason the Earth is habitable is because it’s large enough to be geologically active, giving it a protective magnetic field, and has enough gravity to retain an atmosphere. According to the team, if a planet was 10 percent larger, it would have more surface area to live on. If it was 1.5 times as massive as the Earth, its interior would retain more heat from radioactive decay, would remain active longer, and hold onto its atmosphere for a longer time.

Finally, the orbits of these two dozen exoplanets makes them just slighter warmer than Earth, which is thought to be beneficial to life.

This is interesting, but it is pure guesswork. These factors might make our Earth life happier, but these scientists have no idea if such conditions are beneficial or harmful to the creation of life. At present we have zero data on what the ideal conditions would be.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • pzatchok

    I like how they said that since the star type was longer lived there would be more time for life to develop.
    Like billions of years more than on Earth.
    They act like they will either quarantine that planet just because in a billion years life might eventually development. Or someone will be around who actually cares.

    And if life would be happier on a warmer planet why are we so afraid of global warming?

  • Cotour

    If these are “Better” places than planet earth maybe we can get all of the Liberals, Leftists, ANTIFA, BLM and TDS laden and unhappy Democrat party members together and send them to one of them so they can build the “utopia” that they are determined to build here on top of our beautiful country.

    I think its time that these kinds of people are encouraged to move, all expenses paid, to another planet and demonstrate just how unlucky and ignorant we all are here in America that resist their efforts. Lets get Musk on this, he could make it happen.

  • LocalFluff

    Life appeared on Earth as soon as its molten surface cooled down. So time is not an issue from the one sample that we know of and ourselves are. Do they mean that those planets have been around for 5 times the age of the universe?

    Venus is practically as large as the Earth is, but has no magnetic field. And holds on to a 90 times denser atmosphere. It is in the habitable zone, but has 900 Fahrenheit surface temperature.

    These guys certainly don’t know nothing about what they are talking about!

  • Tom Billings

    Local asked:

    “Do they mean that those planets have been around for 5 times the age of the universe?”

    No, but they have the potential to last far longer than our Sun does, if the current solar models are correct. So, they might yet evolve life, even if they have not, by chance, just yet. Since they are just a bit heavier than Earth their mantle circulation *may* be moving fast enough that their CO2 variations are not as extreme as Earth’s, giving a more stable temperature.

    “It (Venus) is in the habitable zone, but has 900 Fahrenheit surface temperature.”

    That is because it has a 90 bar CO2 atmosphere. Basically, all its carbonate rocks were calcined into Oxides and CO2 several hundred million years ago, by a vast turnover of its crust, instead of the steady and slow turnover we have on Earth. This is because Venus is just a bit too small to have the currents of molten rock in its mantle pushing at the crust hard enough for continual turnover, but just big enough for stresses from the currents in the mantle to build up, and then turn over the entire crust in a single burst of activity releasing the heat of mantle material onto the surface.

    If the Earth lost all its carbonate rocks to calcination, we’d likely have around 90 Bars of CO2 in the atmosphere as well, and similar surface conditions to Venus, though maybe slightly cooler because of greater distance from the Sun.

  • John

    I don’t think Venus is too small for plate tectonics- It’s practically the same size as earth. Quick web search: 0.9499 the size of Earth and 0.815 as massive. Pure speculation but I think whatever went wrong on Venus might be related to the event that caused its rotation be so off compared to the other terrestrial planets and the supposed global resurfacing event. I think Venus got whacked and didn’t get a large moon out of it.

    Yeah, there’s a lot of assumptions and guesswork in that article. But…the old world left for the new world for freedom and opportunity. I wonder if the first people to leave Earth will just be fed up with oppression and authoritarianism. When there’s no where else to go, maybe I can deal with a deeper gravity well and a nice balmy climate, and G type stars are over rated. Forget Mars, no air, no magnetosphere, no rivers, no tree analogs, no nothing. How far away are these planets again, maybe we can hot rod starship?!

  • Col Beausabre

    Ahhhh, Exo-Biology, a field of “study” with no examples, just theories

  • mpthompson

    If I recall correctly, the latest broadly accepted theories on why Venus has such a slow rotation has to do with its very thick atmosphere in combination with tidal interactions from the Sun slowed the planet’s rotation down due to friction over 100’s of millions of years. Also, because it likely lacked the whack the Earth got that created the moon which ejected a lot of crustal mass into space, Venus has a thicker crust which accounts for the difference in crustal dynamics between the two planets.

    Unfortunately, we don’t know if it is Earth or Venus which is the atypical oddball with regards to rocky terrestrial planets. My bet is it would be the Earth.

    One thing that is nice about the Earth’s relatively low mass with regards to the rocky terrestrial planets we are finding is that is still possible to use chemical energy to get to orbit. If the Earth were much more massive launching even the smallest artificial satellite would be orders of magnitude more difficult using current day rocket technologies. Whether over the long term this would be a hinderance to civilizations becoming space faring is unknown, but it would certainly have a profound effect on recent human history as it transitions from the industrial age to the information age.

  • LocalFluff

    This is not favored (but also not completely excluded) among astronomers, but it could be that Venus is different because of a collision. Either by a huge comet that hit it, bringing all the CO2 and stopping its rotation. But that’s unlikely for ballistic reasons. Or perhaps a bit more likely that Venus was formed with a large moon that spiraled into it, like Phobos will crash into Mars within a few 10 millions of years (only 1% of Mars’ age from now). On Venus all the carbon remained an atmospheric gas, while on Earth that somehow so to speak “crystalized” into biology and minerals.

    But WHY does Venus have a thick crust and a thick atmosphere and no magnetic dynamo, when we do?

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