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Researchers: What’s INSIDE a planet determines habitability

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exoplanet Barnard’s star B (artist)/ ESO, M. Kornmesser

Yesterday, we noted that Rob Sheldon disputes the claim (said it was “bunk”) that ocean planets would be sterile due to lack of nutrients from land.

A team of Carnegie investigators thinks that it’s what’s inside the planet that counts:

It all starts with the formation process. Planets are born from the rotating ring of dust and gas that surrounds a young star. The elemental building blocks from which rocky planets form—silicon, magnesium, oxygen, carbon, iron, and hydrogen—are universal. But their abundances and the heating and cooling they experience in their youth will affect their interior chemistry and, in turn, things like ocean volume and atmospheric composition. “One of the big questions we need to ask is whether the geologic and dynamic features that make our home planet habitable can be produced on planets with different compositions,” Driscoll explained. The Carnegie colleagues assert that the search for extraterrestrial life must be guided by an interdisciplinary approach that combines astronomical observations, laboratory experiments of planetary interior conditions, and mathematical modeling and simulations. “ When it Comes to Planetary Habitability, It’s What’s Inside That Counts” at Carnegie Science

Well, we can always use more good information.

See also: Rob Sheldon: That “sterile exoplanet ocean” paper is bunk! The amazing thing about life, is that it is always so very adaptable. Who knew that bugs can live at 140C, or with metabolism so slow it takes centuries to replicate?


Exoplanets: Those water worlds would have sterile oceans too… Researchers: An all-ocean planet would be sterile due to lack of nutrients leached from land.

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