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Researchers: Watery worlds may be common rather than rare

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Note: The Earth-like exoplanet illustration is a stock image with elements furnished by NASA, © sdecoret / stock.adobe.com

The researchers offer a thesis of planet formation according to which watery planets should be more common than some scientists think: If planets’ water resources came from accretions of tiny carbon and ice particles, rather than icy asteroid hits, many would have lots of water, and maybe life.

A common assumption among exoplanet experts is that most planets got their water via a chance hit early on from an icy asteroid. But researchers from the GLOBE Institute at the University of Copenhagen offer an alternative scenario, based on the millimetre-sized particles of ice and carbon that orbit all the young stars in our Milky Way galaxy.

If masses of these particles are incorporated into a planet from its beginning, it isn’t a matter of chance whether the planet has water. It is a matter of chance if it loses water, which seems to have happened, for example, to Mars.

News, “Could the universe be swimming in watery planets?” at Mind Matters News

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Is intelligent life in the universe living in interior oceans of planets and moons? The Ocean Planets Hypothesis is that intelligent beings may flourish in the interior oceans of the moons of gas giant planets — or within exoplanets — but they are trapped there. If intelligent life forms are trapped in the interior oceans of rocky moons and planets, Earth is a special planet—much better suited to space exploration.


We won’t find ET on ocean planets, researchers say. We will see few extraterrestrials if a great many promising exoplanets are Waterworlds. Prominent astrobiologists doubt that intelligent life could develop in an entirely aquatic environment. But are they right?

It would seem more likely that water arose from reactions within the planet, not from external barrages. Many minerals have hydrogen or oxygen in their composition, and many simple reactions produce water as one output. Maybe this has been ruled out, but naively it seems like an easier way to get large quantities of water, rather than waiting for a comet. polistra

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