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Radiation nixes most Earth-like planet for life?

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From Warwick U:

The most Earth-like planet could have been made uninhabitable by vast quantities of radiation, new research led by the University of Warwick has found.

The atmosphere of the planet, Kepler-438b, is thought to have been stripped away as a result of radiation emitted from a superflaring Red Dwarf star, Kepler-438.

Regularly occurring every few hundred days, the superflares are approximately ten times more powerful than those ever recorded on the Sun and equivalent to the same energy as 100 billion megatons of TNT.More.

The find raises a question about how we determine whether a planet is Earth-like.

Most Earth-like planet uninhabitable due to radiation, new research suggests

C/NET laments,

Farewell to hope of life on Kepler-438b,


“With little atmosphere, the planet would also be subject to harsh UV and X-ray radiation from the superflares, along with charged particle radiation, all of which are damaging to life,” explained study co-author Chloe Pugh of the university’s Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics.

The search for extraterrestrial life is not yet over, though. To date, the Kepler mission has identified 1,030 candidate planets, many of which have not yet been studied in great detail.

See also: Don’t let Mars fool you. Those exoplanets teem with life!

Here’s the abstract:

We embark on a detailed study of the lightcurves of Kepler ‘s most Earth-like exoplanet host stars using the full length of Kepler data.We derive rotation periods, photometric activity indices, aring energies, mass loss rates, gyrochronological ages, X-ray lumi nosities and consider implications for the planetary magnetospheres and habitability. Furthermore, we present the detection of superares in the lightcurve of Kepler-438,the exoplanet with the highest Earth Similarity Index to date. Kepler-438b orbits at a distance of 0.166AU to its host star, and hence may be susceptible to atmospheric stripping. Our sample is taken from the Habitable Exoplanet Catalogue, and consists of the stars Kepler-22, Kepler-61, Kepler-62, Kepler-174, Kepler-186, Kepler-283, Kepler-296,Kepler-298, Kepler-438, Kepler-440, Kepler-442, Kepler-443 and KOI-4427, between them hosting 15 of the most habitable transiting planets known to date from Kepler. – D. J. Armstrong, C. E. Pugh, A.-M. Broomhall, D. J. A. Brown, M. N. Lund, H. P. Osborn, D. L. Pollacco, The Host Stars of Keplers Habitable Exoplanets: Superflares, Rotation and Activity

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3 Replies to “Radiation nixes most Earth-like planet for life?

  1. 1
    Andre says:

    Materialists need life on other planets badly. You see they really want the pale blue dot to be insignificant in this universe.

  2. 2
    bornagain says:

    Though visible light is only a tiny fraction of the total electromagnetic spectrum, it happens to be the “most permitted” portion of the sun’s spectrum allowed to filter through our atmosphere. All the other bands of electromagnetic radiation, directly surrounding visible light, happen to be harmful to organic molecules, and are almost completely absorbed by the atmosphere.
    These specific frequencies of light (that enable plants to manufacture food and astronomers to observe the cosmos) represent less than 1 trillionth of a trillionth (10^-24) of the universe’s entire range of electromagnetic emissions.

    Extreme Fine Tuning of Light for Life and Scientific Discovery – (Privileged Planet Excerpt) – video

    Fine Tuning Of Light to the Atmosphere, to Biological Life, and to Water – graphs

    The size of light’s wavelengths and the constraints on the size allowable for the protein molecules of organic life, also give us the overwhelming impression of being tailor-made for each other. This “tailor-made fit” allows photosynthesis, the miracle of sight, and many other things that are necessary for human life.

    The ” just right ” relationship of the light spectrum and photosynthesis
    Excerpt: The American astronomer George Greenstein discusses this in The Symbiotic Universe, p 96:
    Chlorophyll is the molecule that accomplishes photosynthesis… The mechanism of photosynthesis is initiated by the absorption of sunlight by a chlorophyll molecule. But in order for this to occur, the light must be of the right color. Light of the wrong color won’t do the trick.
    A good analogy is that of a television set. In order for the set to receive a given channel it must be tuned to that channel; tune it differently and the reception will not occur. It is the same with photosynthesis, the Sun functioning as the transmitter in the analogy and the chlorophyll molecule as the receiving TV set. If the molecule and the Sun are not tuned to each other-tuned in the sense of colour- photosynthesis will not occur. As it turns out, the sun’s color is just right.
    One might think that a certain adaptation has been at work here: the adaptation of plant life to the properties of sunlight. After all, if the Sun were a different temperature could not some other molecule, tuned to absorb light of a different colour, take the place of chlorophyll? Remarkably enough the answer is no, for within broad limits all molecules absorb light of similar colours. The absorption of light is accomplished by the excitation of electrons in molecules to higher energy states, and (are) the same no matter what molecule you are discussing. Furthermore, light is composed of photons, packets of energy and photons of the wrong energy simply can not be absorbed… As things stand in reality, there is a good fit between the physics of stars and that of molecules. Failing this fit, however, life would have been impossible.
    The harmony between stellar and molecular physics that Greenstein refers to is a harmony too extraordinary ever to be explained by chance. There was only one chance in 10^25 of the Sun’s providing just the right kind of light necessary for us and that there should be molecules in our world that are capable of using that light. This perfect harmony is unquestionably proof of Intelligent Design.

    Michael Denton: Remarkable Coincidences in Photosynthesis – podcast

    William Bialek: More Perfect Than We Imagined – March 23, 2013
    Excerpt: photoreceptor cells that carpet the retinal tissue of the eye and respond to light, are not just good or great or phabulous at their job. They are not merely exceptionally impressive by the standards of biology, with whatever slop and wiggle room the animate category implies. Photoreceptors operate at the outermost boundary allowed by the laws of physics, which means they are as good as they can be, period. Each one is designed to detect and respond to single photons of light — the smallest possible packages in which light comes wrapped.
    “Light is quantized, and you can’t count half a photon,” said William Bialek, a professor of physics and integrative genomics at Princeton University. “This is as far as it goes.” …
    In each instance, biophysicists have calculated, the system couldn’t get faster, more sensitive or more efficient without first relocating to an alternate universe with alternate physical constants.

    Moreover, photosynthesis is now shown to need a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause to explain its effect:

    Quantum Mechanics Explains Efficiency of Photosynthesis – Jan. 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Previous experiments suggest that energy is transferred in a wave-like manner, exploiting quantum phenomena, but crucially, a non-classical explanation could not be conclusively proved as the phenomena identified could equally be described using classical physics.,,,
    Now, a team at UCL have attempted to identify features in these biological systems which can only be predicted by quantum physics, and for which no classical analogues exist.
    ,,,said Alexandra Olaya-Castro (UCL Physics & Astronomy), supervisor and co-author of the research. “We found that the properties of some of the chromophore vibrations that assist energy transfer during photosynthesis can never be described with classical laws, and moreover, this non-classical behaviour enhances the efficiency of the energy transfer.”,,,
    Other biomolecular processes such as the transfer of electrons within macromolecules (like in reaction centres in photosynthetic systems), the structural change of a chromophore upon absorption of photons (like in vision processes) or the recognition of a molecule by another (as in olfaction processes), are influenced by specific vibrational motions. The results of this research therefore suggest that a closer examination of the vibrational dynamics involved in these processes could provide other biological prototypes exploiting truly non-classical phenomena,,

    Life Masters Physics – Feb. 2010
    Excerpt: Collini et al.2 report evidence suggesting that a process known as quantum coherence ‘wires’ together distant molecules in the light-harvesting apparatus of marine cryptophyte algae.,,,“Intriguingly, recent work has documented that light-absorbing molecules in some photosynthetic proteins capture and transfer energy according to quantum-mechanical probability laws instead of classical laws at temperatures up to 180 K,”. ,,, “This contrasts with the long-held view that long-range quantum coherence between molecules cannot be sustained in complex biological systems, even at low temperatures.”

    Coherence and nonlocality
    Usually quantum nonlocality is discussed in terms of correlated multiparticle systems such as those discussed by John Bell in his famous 1964 theorem and then later clarified by GHZ, David Mermin and others.
    But more striking and significant is the qualitative nonlocal phenomena associated with coherent states,,,,
    In fact, theoretically these two kinds of nonlocality have precisely the same basis: the unmeasured singlet state uncovered by EPR is a coherent ‘pure state’ despite its spacial extension, and when the parts are realized in a measurement (a la Bell) this coherence is harvested or cashed in.
    Whereas the “EPR” connections are ephemeral and fragile, some forms of nonlocal coherence are robust.

    Verse and Music:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

    TobyMac – Speak Life

  3. 3
    ppolish says:

    Pale Blue Dot near the center of the creation of Heavens:

    “The team also demonstrated that the stars spend their entire lives near the Milky Way centre and are not just passing through, a further indication that the stars really are the oldest known stars in the Universe”


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