Stagnant interiors suppress chances of super-Earths supporting life
"We are discovering planets orbiting distant stars that are similar to Earth in composition but more massive than Earth. The major question is: are they just scaled-up versions of Earth, or are they fundamentally different? We especially want to know if rocky super-Earths have thick atmospheres, volcanic activity, magnetic fields or plate tectonics," said Stamenkovic, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Some of these features are crucial for determining if a planet might be capable of supporting surface life."
On Earth, plate tectonics and volcanic activity help to regulate the climate and to release and recycle nutrients for life. Our planet's magnetic field, driven by a liquid metallic core, possibly protects the atmosphere from being stripped away by solar and cosmic particles.
Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 26 September 2012 - 05:18 PM.