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.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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