Search for life suggests solar systems more habitable than ours

Dec 03, 2012 by Pam Frost Gorder

(Phys.org)—Scattered around the Milky Way are stars that resemble our own sun—but a new study is finding that any planets orbiting those stars may very well be hotter and more dynamic than Earth.

That's because the interiors of any terrestrial planets in these systems are likely warmer than Earth—up to 25 percent warmer, which would make them more geologically active and more likely to retain enough to support life, at least in its microbial form.

The preliminary finding comes from and at Ohio State University who have teamed up to search for in a new way.

They studied eight "solar twins" of our sun—stars that very closely match the sun in size, age, and overall composition—in order to measure the amounts of they contain. Those stars came from a recorded by the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher at the in Chile.

They searched the solar twins for elements such as and uranium, which are essential to Earth's because they warm our planet's interior. Plate tectonics helps maintain water on the surface of the Earth, so the existence of plate tectonics is sometimes taken as an indicator of a planet's hospitality to life.

Of the eight solar twins they've studied so far, seven appear to contain much more thorium than our sun—which suggests that any planets orbiting those stars probably contain more thorium, too. That, in turn, means that the interior of the planets are probably warmer than ours.

For example, one star in the survey contains 2.5 times more thorium than our sun, said Ohio State doctoral student Cayman Unterborn. According to his measurements, that formed around that star probably generate 25 percent more internal heat than Earth does, allowing for plate tectonics to persist longer through a planet's history, giving more time for live to arise.

"If it turns out that these planets are warmer than we previously thought, then we can effectively increase the size of the habitable zone around these stars by pushing the habitable zone farther from the host star, and consider more of those planets hospitable to microbial life," said Unterborn, who presented the results at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco this week.

"At this point, all we can say for sure is that there is some natural variation in the amount of radioactive elements inside stars like ours," he added. "With only nine samples including the sun, we can't say much about the full extent of that variation throughout the galaxy. But from what we know about planet formation, we do know that the planets around those stars probably exhibit the same variation, which has implications for the possibility of life."

His advisor, Wendy Panero, associate professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State, explained that radioactive elements such as thorium, uranium, and potassium are present within Earth's mantle. These elements heat the planet from the inside, in a way that is completely separate from the heat emanating from Earth's core.

"The core is hot because it started out hot," Panero said. "But the core isn't our only heat source. A comparable contributor is the slow radioactive decay of elements that were here when the Earth formed. Without radioactivity, there wouldn't be enough heat to drive the plate tectonics that maintains surface oceans on Earth."

The relationship between plate tectonics and surface water is complex and not completely understood. Panero called it "one of the great mysteries in the geosciences." But researchers are beginning to suspect that the same forces of heat convection in the mantle that move Earth's crust somehow regulate the amount of water in the oceans, too.

"It seems that if a planet is to retain an ocean over geologic timescales, it needs some kind of crust 'recycling system,' and for us that's mantle convection," Unterborn said.

In particular, microbial life on Earth benefits from subsurface heat. Scores of microbes known as archaea do not rely on the sun for energy, but instead live directly off of heat arising from deep inside the Earth.

On Earth, most of the heat from radioactive decay comes from uranium. Planets rich in thorium, which is more energetic than and has a longer half-life, would "run" hotter and remain hot longer, he said, which gives them more time to develop life.

As to why our solar system has less thorium, Unterborn said it's likely the luck of the draw.

"It all starts with supernovae. The elements created in a supernova determine the materials that are available for new stars and to form. The solar twins we studied are scattered around the galaxy, so they all formed from different supernovae. It just so happens that they had more thorium available when they formed than we did."

Jennifer Johnson, associate professor of astronomy at Ohio State and co-author of the study, cautioned that the results are preliminary. "All signs are pointing to yes—that there is a difference in the abundance of radioactive elements in these stars, but we need to see how robust the result is," she said.

Next, Unterborn wants to do a detailed statistical analysis of noise in the HARPS data to improve the accuracy of his computer models. Then he will seek telescope time to look for more solar twins.

Explore further: Astronomers find 'cousin' planets around twin stars

More information: Poster P11B-1816, "The Distribution of Radiogenic Elements in Stars with and without Planetary Systems: Implications for Dynamics and Habitability," will be presented from 8:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m PT on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 in Moscone South Hall A-C. at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

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Modernmystic
1.7 / 5 (12) Dec 03, 2012
I'm not sure how "hotter" translates into "more habitable". In fact if terrestrial planets are more geologically active you're going to have a lot more greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, which isn't necessarily conducive to a biosphere. Then again the whole concept of habitable is highly relative. Habitable to whom?
VendicarD
4.2 / 5 (10) Dec 03, 2012
http://www.wired....bian.jpg

"Habitable to whom?" - Modern
obama_socks
1.9 / 5 (17) Dec 04, 2012
Habitable to whatever life form can live under such conditions. Doubtful that humans could survive on those planets since we have adapted to our own habitat. More CO2 might grow some plant life, but only if the plants like CO2. They may prefer Methane or something else. We survive on Earth within a narrow band of temperature. Too hot or too cold and we're dead.
Maybe we can volunteer VD for the first manned mission?
j/k :P
obama_socks
1.8 / 5 (19) Dec 04, 2012
@VD
http://www.wired....bian.jpg

Is that the most recent picture of you, VD?
Sinister1811
3.2 / 5 (18) Dec 04, 2012
Eventually, we're bound to encounter lifeforms that doesn't fit with our consistent, standardized "life as we know it" model. It's just a matter of time.
Sinister1811
2.1 / 5 (11) Dec 04, 2012
*don't fit
The "edit" option should be permanent.
lengould100
3.5 / 5 (12) Dec 04, 2012
It seems strange to me that the article emphatically states that a planet's retaining water depends on plate tectonics. How is that assertion underpinned?
Egleton
1.4 / 5 (9) Dec 04, 2012
Here is another assertion. There is water because there is Life.
There is enough energy where molten lave comes into contact with water to disassociate hydrogen and Oxygen. With geological timescales the hydrogen escapes. Dead planet. Living organisms utilize the energy of combining the hydrogen and oxygen again and preserve the oceans.
Thanks Prof. Lovelock.
Don't anyone mention solid state nuclear reactions. We are not allowed to bring in any new thoughts into science these days. The Old Guard have it all stitched up. Only orthodox thoughts permitted.
hagger
2.6 / 5 (10) Dec 04, 2012
Egleton..could not agree with you more...are we entering a new dark ages of science where as you say only orthodoxy can be aired as the truth...if so it will hold us back..as religion did to Galileo Galilei..and other greats..i once read in New Scientist about 1978 that by the mid 90s we will know all we need to know and no other great discoveries will be made..i never bought another copy..the arrogance of humans that they think after so little time to know it all really infuriates us that do...
Bog_Mire
2 / 5 (7) Dec 04, 2012
subduction via plate techtonics should ensure surface water is looped through the crust and cools the planet's "core" temp enough so it retains the water overall and it is not lost permanently.

maybe
tadchem
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2012
The secret to the survival of life, ANYWHERE, is its adaptability, not simply the suitability of the environment.
If life can even become established anywhere, it is extremely robust about adapting to changing conditions and thriving.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.1 / 5 (20) Dec 04, 2012
I'm not sure how "hotter" translates into "more habitable". In fact if terrestrial planets are more geologically active you're going to have a lot more greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, which isn't necessarily conducive to a biosphere. Then again the whole concept of habitable is highly relative. Habitable to whom?
Machines can live anywhere. But I suppose they might prefer the vacuum and microgravity of space where corrosion is at a minimum and the energy flux is greatest. Where the extraction of raw materials and communication is easiest. Would they eventually dismantle their planets, or gradually become smaller and more efficient to the point where they could subsist on the detritus in their Oort clouds? I wonder.

Perhaps we should be looking for systems without planets where planets should be. They would also be generating specific waste heat signatures, again if they haven't shrunk to the economy of undetectability.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.2 / 5 (19) Dec 04, 2012
The secret to the survival of life, ANYWHERE, is its adaptability, not simply the suitability of the environment.
If life can even become established anywhere, it is extremely robust about adapting to changing conditions and thriving.
Correct. And humans have externalized their adaptability and now call it technology. It enables them to live in conditions that traditional life could never adapt to.

It also enables them to augment and reconfigure themselves to accelerate this facility of artificial evolution. They can outsource limited organic brain function such as memory and computation for instance, eventually creating machines which are much better at thinking and synthesizing and adapting than they could ever hope to be.

This evolution is natural in the sense that it will create entities which are more fit. And it will lead to human extinction as it has for most every species that has ever existed.
Kron
2.2 / 5 (9) Dec 04, 2012
Ghost, forget about intelligent machines. Machines only execute functions they were designed for. One possible evolutionary step is into cyborg form, where we retain intelligence and emotions, and supplement memory, computational power and mechanical ability.

Still a race of highly evolved aliens would most likely strive to retain their biological identities, the ultimate evolutionary step is that of bio-engineering/enhancement coupled with removable indestructible exoskeletons. If aliens came to earth they would most likely appear as robots but underneath they would be biological creatures. They would be in control of lifespan and disease, and would therefore be immortal beings of limitless potential. They would keep their indestructible skins on at almost all times, only removing them for those they trust with their lives.

Et tu, Brute?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (18) Dec 04, 2012
Ghost, forget about intelligent machines. Machines only execute functions they were designed for.
-that is, until they are given the ability to program themselves. You ought to read more on the subject.
If aliens came to earth they would most likely appear as robots but underneath they would be biological creatures.
Why? That's just silly. Circuitry can and will be able to do far more, more dependably, and in a much more robust configuration. That little ball of mush would slow your probe considerably and require unacceptable shielding and resources .
They would be in control of lifespan and disease, and would therefore be immortal beings of limitless potential.
Correct, by replacing mush with something more appropriate. You are ALREADY a machine. We can do better. And self-designing and -programming machines will do far better than us.
kevinrtrs
1.3 / 5 (16) Dec 04, 2012
But from what we know about planet formation, we do know that the planets around those stars probably exhibit the same variation, which has implications for the possibility of life.

Question is - just what DO we know about planetary formation since no one has ever witnessed or recorded ANY planet being formed anywhere in the universe.
This is a major challenge for speculations about the existence of life in other parts of the universe. All we do know is that we have life here on earth. And that, unfortunately for the researchers, is it.

To further complicate matters, our sun is extremely and unusually STABLE compared to any other stars found so far[to the tune of 0.06% variation]. Those other "sun-like" stars have a major superflare every hundred years or so whereas our sun has never had anything like it. EVER.

So if any life is going to exist on those planets, it had better be very very hardy to withstand those superflares.

NOM
4.5 / 5 (8) Dec 04, 2012
Question is - just what DO we know about planetary formation since no one has ever witnessed or recorded ANY planet being formed anywhere in the universe.
This has to be one of the dumbest things you have ever said. Which is quite an achievement.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (8) Dec 04, 2012
I'm not sure how "hotter" translates into "more habitable". In fact if terrestrial planets are more geologically active you're going to have a lot more greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, which isn't necessarily conducive to a biosphere. Then again the whole concept of habitable is highly relative. Habitable to whom?
Machines can live anywhere. But I suppose they might prefer the vacuum and microgravity of space where corrosion is at a minimum and the energy flux is greatest. Where the extraction of raw materials and communication is easiest. Would they eventually dismantle their planets, or gradually become smaller and more efficient to the point where they could subsist on the detritus in their Oort clouds? I wonder.
-Blotto

Poor choice of words, Blotto.
1. "Machines can live anywhere." Machines do not live. They are not alive; they EXIST.
2. "...and the energy flux is greatest...." What energy flux? And how is it greatest?
obama_socks
1 / 5 (7) Dec 04, 2012
3. "Where the extraction of raw materials..." Explain how machines can extract raw materials in a vacuum and the microgravity of space. Does that somehow relate to machines living anywhere?
4. "Would they dismantle their planets? Explain how would machines dismantle planets, and why.
5. "...or gradually become smaller and more efficient... " Why would you think that smaller equates to being more efficient? If YOU were able to shrink down to the size of a midget, would that make YOU more efficient?
Oh, that's right...you would eat a lot less food and possibly poop a lot less too. But you would STILL produce the same amount of hot air, just as you do now.
Fortunately, machines don't put out a load of crap like you do.
:P
obama_socks
1 / 5 (6) Dec 04, 2012
Question is - just what DO we know about planetary formation since no one has ever witnessed or recorded ANY planet being formed anywhere in the universe.
This has to be one of the dumbest things you have ever said. Which is quite an achievement.
NOM

What you should have said, is that "with bigger and better visual technology in the future, we will be able to view planets in all levels of development...from planetesimals to Earth-like to gas giants.
Rather than being combative like TheGoatofOtto1923/FrankHerbutt and his sock puppets, make your case for your own opinions so that we can all learn from it.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2012
So much for the Rare Earth theory. Earth is a runt as terrestrials go, marginal for plate tectonics. And now we know it is a nearly fatally _unlucky_ runt.

Besides recycling water, plate tectonics recycles necessary fosfor for RNA replicators. (Goes to activae nucleotides for linking.) Hydrothermal vents that liberates fosfor are associated with subducting plates.

Of course, these lucky terrestrials can't be too far out or they would drown in water and carbon, making a diamond shell planet with no access to metals or land for life as we know it.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (2) Dec 04, 2012
@ lengould: They may refer to plate tectonics recirculation of carbonates et cetera, making up a habitable greenhouse (and biosphere) for a longer time.

@ Egleton: No modern scientist believes in Lovelock's ideas what I know, the evidence didn't bear up. As for hydrogen, its escape allowed for a neutral atmosphere and eventually its oxygenation. Whether that oxygenation was triggered by global glaciation and UV hydrolysis of ice, or by oxygenating photosynthesis, is an open question. Ozone protects from further hydrogen escape.

@ hagger: After a mere 400 centuries, the laws underlying everyday physics are completely known (with the Higgs as top stone). So we do know amazingly much - it is called science - and we know we don't know "it all" - you are strawmanning.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (4) Dec 04, 2012
@ kevintrs: Give it up. You are handwaving & no references.

- Planetary formation: this is truly the dumbest you have claimed.

We have recorded the formation of the solar system (8 planets)! And see many more systems forming from disks _today_ (many more planets)!

And of course we have seen more than 2000 planet candidates (and nearly a 1000 verified), so we observe they form regularly after the universe started.

- Life on Earth started so rapidly we observe it is easy/frequently enough tried.

And this year we have discovered a whole _thermodynamically driven_ pathway up to replicators, where chemical evolution stops and biological evolution starts. (You may ask for refs specifically, but I gave them all on this site yesterday on a thread you commented on.) So we don't need earlier known chancy pathways that may stall.

- The Sun is _slightly_ more stable than average (which is why Kepler will need more years to see Earth analogs), but well within the peak of the distribution.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (2) Dec 04, 2012
The thermodynamic pathway to life is wonderful for astrobiologists, because it is generic and robust given sufficient habitability and a smidgen plate tectonics or similar crust activity for fosfor and hydrothermal vents for the RNA replication cold/heat cycle of early cells.

It is also ironic that life formation is seeded and driven like cosmological structure formation by fluctuations respectively increased entropy of the universe. This is truly annoying for creationists, that predicted _it couldn't happen that way_. Their gods are now dead in the water.

As for refs on planets and life, Wikipedia for Earth and life history, I'll get back to you with observations of disks with planets if you need it - there are even some _images_ of those (!) - any exoplanet database on their statistics, and Kepler's web page on Sun vs other stars CME et cetera stability.
NOM
5 / 5 (1) Dec 04, 2012
...Rather than being combative ...
I'm sorry, you have me confused with a reasonable person.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.5 / 5 (19) Dec 04, 2012
Question is - just what DO we know about planetary formation since no one has ever witnessed or recorded ANY planet being formed anywhere in the universe.
It's rather embarrassing how Kevin is so hung up on this 'seeing' thing. When we 'see' anything kev, we are gathering evidence. Light leaves the object, hits our eyes, and gets processed by our brain.

If you 'see' skid marks and a smashed fence, your brain tells you that most likely an accident has occured. You didn't 'see' it happen did you? But you have learned a great deal about vehicles and fences, and you draw a reasonable conclusion. We do the same thing with, in this case, planetary formation. We have 'seen' a great deal more evidence for us to conclude what happened.

A more salient question - why would your god make things LOOK as if they happened naturally when they did not? Wouldn't that be horribly dishonest? But as we can 'see', your book is full of dishonesty. Even pat robertson will tell you this.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (18) Dec 04, 2012
We also know faithers abhor evidence. Faith is acceptance despite evidence. It is absolutely the only thing which has kept religion alive until the present. Luckily for us you all no longer have the power (at present, in most of the western world) to suppress evidence.

The problem is that evidence-based knowledge has been so WILDLY successful. We can't help but have confidence in the approach. And when it tells us that your books are all full of lies, even though we so desperately want to live forever just like you, we have to reluctantly conclude that, because the offer comes from books which are so obviously a sham, it must be a sham as well.
kevinrtrs
1.5 / 5 (8) Dec 05, 2012
NOM, Torb:
I think you are confusing the observation of fully formed planets with the observation of the actual process of planetary formation.

The two things are clearly not the same.

I challenge both of you to find ANY reference to any published and peer reviewed paper where the researchers claim to have unequivocably observed a planet forming from a cloud of dust. Go ahead, knock yourselves out getting such research.

AS for your happy go-lucky references to replicators - please let us have researched photos of those in action. Don't you yet realize that there is currently ZERO confirmed case of life forming spontaneously from purely physical substances? Your much revered biological evolutionary processes cannot start until LIFE actually gets going.
So until such time as someone finds a way for life to spontaneously spring up from otherwise dead material, you will have to keep your evolutionary enthusiasm in check: How do you know life didn't get here fully formed?
kevinrtrs
1.4 / 5 (9) Dec 05, 2012
Ghost - you surely forget that with regard to origins, no one can claim to have seen stars, planets, galaxies and even life form.
So what this means is that we only have the current evidence we actually observe right here in the present.
Which further means that we have to piece together some kind of history for how the evidence got here. And therein lies the big rub:
You have to INTERPRET the evidence according to some base of assumptions. Since you cannot go back into the past, you have to make assumptions about initial conditions.

Your starting assumption is that there is no creator and as a result everything had to have made itself. Based on that fundamental assumption, you INTERPRET the available evidence to fit in with your story.

How much are you willing to change your assumptions to actually fit what the evidence is telling you?

Or how much are you willing to honestly say that given the current evidence, you cannot reach any satisfactory conclusion?
kevinrtrs
1.4 / 5 (9) Dec 05, 2012
Ghost: You glibly make references to religion. Perhaps you should look up the definition of a religion and check the 6 criteria that indicates that some practise is really a religion.

When you've done that, please compare the practises and paradigm followed by evolutionists and you'll find that it fits exactly the description of a religion.

The evolutionary paradigm does not rely on the evidence, instead it pronounces/dictates the path the evidence is to follow.
Look carefully at how people do evolutionary research and you'll see this is the case. Evidence doesn't matter at all for evolutionary thought.
kevinrtrs
1.4 / 5 (9) Dec 05, 2012
But you have learned a great deal about vehicles and fences, and you draw a reasonable conclusion.

Your extrapolation from accidents and fences to planetary formation is skewed, to say the least.
All kinds of people are actual EYEWITNESSES in the present to vehicles involved in accidents. We have real, observed and recorded testimony to go by.
Not so with planetary formation. Please give us some real recorded testimony from some living or dead person who actually has experienced such an event or events. There is no such testimony. Except in the bible. So you have to choose what to believe:
Stories made up by scientists or the actual eyewitness account of how things came to be.
The things regarding origins in the bible are testable in the sense that there are certain consequences one can observe and confirm.
Unfortunately for you, one cannot say the same for the evolutionary story. It fails again and again and again and has to be rescued by some other ad-hoc assumption.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (6) Dec 05, 2012
And now we know it is a nearly fatally _unlucky_ runt.


We know no such thing. Quite the contrary. It is the ONLY place we know life exists...period. Therefore the correct and non-rose colored interpretation of the current available data is that most of the rest of the universe consists of terrestrials which are probably fatally unlucky "non-runts"....
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (6) Dec 05, 2012
I'm really unclear on the premise of this article. Like increased internal heat and geological activity makes a planet a nice place to live. Ever hear of the Permian-Triassic extinction event? Do you know what caused it? Look up the Siberian Traps...
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (16) Dec 05, 2012
Hold on kev Ive got to take this-
"Where the extraction of raw materials..." Explain how machines can extract raw materials in a vacuum and the microgravity of space. Does that somehow relate to machines living anywhere?
The lying NASA ENGINEER asks questions which any engineer would be qualified to speculate on. On a scale of 1 to 10 just how STUPID are you then?

Sorry about that
Your extrapolation from accidents and fences to planetary formation is skewed, to say the least.
Not at all.
All kinds of people are actual EYEWITNESSES in the present to vehicles involved in accidents.
But in my example all we have is evidence, and we have to extrapolate what happened without actually having seen it occur. You are apparently unfamiliar with the great mounds of similar such evidence that scientists have accumulated related to celestial mechanics. They are more certain of planetary accretion than you would be from skid marks and smashed fences.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (16) Dec 05, 2012
The things regarding origins in the bible are testable in the sense that there are certain consequences one can observe and confirm
Well thats not true. The QUESTION is not whether anyone was around to witness the flood or not. The QUESTION is whether the biblical account is fiction or not. As this account was allegedly written by moses, who wasnt there to see the flood, we can ask as you do, how did he know? What was his EVIDENCE?

Further we can look for physical evidence. We find that there is absolutely NO evidence that a flood occurred. And we find conclusive evidence that no 2M hebrews ever lived in goshen, or traveled through sinai for 40 years, or waged genocide in palestine; all of which was occupied by garrisoned egyptian forces the whole time.

So, from evidence a lot more credible than what moses had when he wrote the torah, we can conclude that moses didnt EXIST to write the torah. Not to mention that we have found the original flood myth in a dead sumerian religion.
TransmissionDump
5 / 5 (5) Dec 05, 2012
Kev.
Did anyone ever witness God create the Earth?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (16) Dec 05, 2012
Stories made up by scientists
EVIDENCE kevin. Seeing the record that an event has or has not left on the materials around it, is as good as seeing the event itself.

Taking pictures is an example of this. Light records an event on film. We dont have to be there to see it happen. We can look at the picture afterwards however and KNOW that that event took place.

How can we be so sure of this? The scientific method has been used to give us an extremely robust understanding of how materials work and interact over time. The people who fabricated your holy books had no such understanding. They lived in a world of magic and fables.

Archeologists and exegists tell us the biblical stories are fiction because this is what the EVIDENCE tells them. Abundant evidence of a sort which is a great deal more reliable than photographs.

This is the same with planetary scientists. They dont even have to know any biblical archeology to tell you the universe could not have been made in 6 days.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (16) Dec 05, 2012
But I am curious
The things regarding origins in the bible are testable in the sense that there are certain consequences one can observe and confirm.
-as to what observable, confirmable consequences you are talking about? Are you talking about the consequences of not believing, as described in john 3? And what pray tell would that have to do with planetary science?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (15) Dec 05, 2012
glibly make references to religion. Perhaps you should look up the definition of a religion and check the 6 criteria that indicates that some practise is really a religion
Let me tell you what I think constitutes a religion in the traditional sense...
1) Belief in an entity or entities with extraordinary powers
2) Which will grant wishes exclusively to adherents
3) Including the ability to live forever in paradise
4) in return for SERVICE which includes
5) creating or enlisting more believers by propagation or by proselytism or by coercion or by force

-Religions differ in semantics but they all share these attributes. This is what makes them so dangerous
evolution...fits exactly the description of a religion
True, scientists do offer the possibility of extraordinary powers, unlimited lifespans and unlimited room in which to live. But obviously they are the only ones qualified to search for ways of producing these things. ONLY THEY have gotten any results in this respect.
TransmissionDump
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 05, 2012

5) creating or enlisting more believers by propagation or by proselytism or by coercion or by force


I just had a visual of LHC physicists beheading those who don't believe in the Higgs.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (7) Dec 07, 2012
heheheheh...good one, TransmissionD...
It is to laugh.
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (2) Dec 07, 2012
So what this means is that we only have the current evidence we actually observe right here in the present.


Of course, that's the only kind that can be replicated and trusted.

Which further means that we have to piece together some kind of history for how the evidence got here. And therein lies the big rub:
You have to INTERPRET the evidence according to some base of assumptions. Since you cannot go back into the past, you have to make assumptions about initial conditions.


Not at all. We look at current situations and work out the laws that apply. Then, you look at systems which are in their initial state, for example:

http://phys.org/n...ary.html

Then you apply the known laws to see how they will evolve and check aginst current more evolved systems.

How much are you willing to change your assumptions to actually fit what the evidence is telling you?


The evidence fits the predictions, when will you change?
PosterusNeticus
3 / 5 (2) Dec 08, 2012
I'm not sure how "hotter" translates into "more habitable".


The answer is in the article:

"If it turns out that these planets are warmer than we previously thought, then we can effectively increase the size of the habitable zone around these stars by pushing the habitable zone farther from the host star"

Because of such a planet's greater internal heat, it can be further from the star and still maintain liquid water. The wording is a little funky but what they mean is the system is "more habitable" because of the effectively larger habitable zone, given planets with higher internal heat. It doesn't mean the planet itself is "more habitable" than Earth.
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (2) Dec 09, 2012
I'm not sure how "hotter" translates into "more habitable".


The answer is in the article:

"If it turns out that these planets are warmer than we previously thought, then we can effectively increase the size of the habitable zone around these stars by pushing the habitable zone farther from the host star"

Because of such a planet's greater internal heat, it can be further from the star and still maintain liquid water. The wording is a little funky but what they mean is the system is "more habitable" because of the effectively larger habitable zone, given planets with higher internal heat. It doesn't mean the planet itself is "more habitable" than Earth.


I think the question was why that would increase the width rather than just moving the zone farther out, the inner limit would be affected as well.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (6) Dec 10, 2012
Because of such a planet's greater internal heat, it can be further from the star and still maintain liquid water. The wording is a little funky but what they mean is the system is "more habitable" because of the effectively larger habitable zone, given planets with higher internal heat. It doesn't mean the planet itself is "more habitable" than Earth.


Indeed, but the article ignores ALL the hundred other implications that come with increased internal heat. Moreover it doesn't make a "habitable zone" bigger, it just changes its location. All planets will eventually move out of their respective star's habitable zone as the star moves through its life cycle. It's not a question of where the zone is, but how long said planet is in the zone. Further still defining the zone as merely where liquid water can be on the surface is seriously lacking IMO.