From Universe Today: In addition, research into how life evolved on Earth has shown that water alone does not guarantee life – nor, for that matter, does the presence of oxygen gas.
Well, in fairness, failing to treat them respectfully is one sin we can safely say we haven’t committed; we have never encountered an alien ecosystem.
It turns out that other solar systems are not shedding much light on how ours came to be: But as the menagerie of young planetary systems grows, researchers are struggling to square their observations with current theories on how our Solar System and others formed. Such ideas have been in turmoil ever since astronomers started […]
That’s a common problem when we ask great figures their opinion about things they haven’t studied. From a review of Stephen Hawking’s (1942–2018) last book (or the last book that could be put together plausibly under his name), Brief Answers to the Big Questions: Because of the likelihood of a nuclear confrontation or an environmental catastrophe, […]
An MIT astronomer is 75% certain that an object previously suspected of being an Intro of exomoon (a moon orbiting an exoplanets) really is that: The first confirmed detection of an exomoon would mark a milestone in exploring planetary systems throughout the Galaxy. It would, among other things, allow scientists to test ideas of moon […]
Suggested at New Scientist: There may be life out there that was like life on Earth when Earth was a very different environment: In the 4.5 billion years our planet has existed, it has experienced dramatic transformations: ice ages and warming periods, times when the atmosphere was impossible to breathe, when large areas were desert, […]
In other words, Earth doesn’t just “have water”; it is fine-tuned for life. We need to find exoplanets that are likewise fine-tuned.
Plus, a friend offers a reply. From ScienceDaily: There may be more habitable planets in the universe than we previously thought, according to Penn State geoscientists, who suggest that plate tectonics — long assumed to be a requirement for suitable conditions for life — are in fact not necessary. When searching for habitable planets or […]
From SETI’s Seth Shostak, who surely doesn’t welcome this news, at NBC: A recent paper by three researchers at the University of Oxford is throwing shade on those who feel confident that the cosmos is thick with extraterrestrials. … If we own up to the true extent of these uncertainties and do the requisite math, […]
From Ethan Siegel at Forbes: Based on everything we know, it seems like the conditions that make life possible are a lot more diverse and flexible than most people would expect. … Take Earth’s large moon, for example. The gravitational forces from it keep our planet rotating on the same axis over time. Our present […]
From Maria Temming at Science News: New infrared telescope observations reveal an exoplanet that appears to be growing inside the disk of gas and dust around a star about 370 light-years away. Astronomers have indirectly identified other exoplanet embryos by observing the paths that these young worlds cleared through the dusty disks around their parent […]
The reality that earth is fine-tuned for life screams out at us from stories that seem to make a point of not emphasizing the fact. From ScienceDaily: The researchers suggest that Kepler-186f’s axial tilt is very stable, much like the Earth, making it likely that it has regular seasons and a stable climate. The Georgia […]
From Matt Williams at Universe Today: For decades, scientists have believed that there could be life beneath the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Since that time, multiple lines of evidence have emerged that suggest that it is not alone. Indeed, within the Solar System, there are many “ocean worlds” that could potentially host life, […]
From Lisa Grossman at ScienceNews: If you’re looking for starry skies, exotic plant life and extreme weather on your summer vacation, NASA’s Exoplanet Travel Bureau has just the spot. Consider a trip to Kepler 186f. This extrasolar planet is nearly 558 light-years away, so a real trip may be out of your budget — and […]
Suzan Mazur has republished her wide-ranging interview with the Renaissance man (in an age of specialization), first published in Omni in 1981, at Oscillations. The interview as a whole offers insights on how space exploration was viewed back then (for example, habitable planets were not top of mind): Suzan Mazur: Since every last mineral can […]