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Can Super-Earths Support Life?

exoplanets life super-earths

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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 03:29 PM

Stagnant interiors suppress chances of super-Earths supporting life


www.phys.org said:

Exoplanet hunters estimate that there could be billions of super-Earths—planets with a mass of up to ten times that of Earth—orbiting stars in the Milky Way alone. But do super-Earths really deserve their name and would they be capable of hosting life? A study of the thermal evolution of rocky super-Earths suggests that they may bear very little resemblance to our home planet. Dr. Vlada Stamenkovic will present the results at the European Planetary Science Congress on Wednesday 26th September.

"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.


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Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 26 September 2012 - 05:18 PM.
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#2    Bavarian Raven

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 03:36 PM

Well considering we don't have a clue how alien life might develop or where and what it might look like, I'd say there is just as good a chance of them supporting life as any other planet imho.


#3    Parsec

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 11:45 PM

I don't know, we're not even sure on how is Earth inside, and we think to know everything about planets we can't even see.
Ok, nemo propheta in patria, but this is too much!


#4    spud the mackem

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 12:00 AM

We could not go to planets much larger than Earth, due to the force of Gravity,on our bodies,but maybe some forms of life can overcome this.

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#5    spud the mackem

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 12:06 AM

Can someone explain in layman terms,how our astronomers can determine what a planet light years from us is composed of,whether its rocky,or gaseous or whatever ?.

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#6    Parsec

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 12:22 AM

View Postspud the mackem, on 07 October 2012 - 12:06 AM, said:

Can someone explain in layman terms,how our astronomers can determine what a planet light years from us is composed of,whether its rocky,or gaseous or whatever ?.

For scientific details I leave it to Waspie, but, in simple words, when the planet pass in front of its star, it reflects its star's light. Based on the reflection, you can detect by which elements the planet is formed. Each element has its specific wave-lenght, so, reading them, they can determine by which elements they're formed.
It's like the Flame Test at school in Chemistry lab.
So, if they find rocky elements and the dimentions aren't too big, they can assume that it's a rocky planet.

At least, that's the way I understood it. Maybe I'm completely wrong :lol:


#7    spud the mackem

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 12:32 AM

View PostParsec, on 07 October 2012 - 12:22 AM, said:

For scientific details I leave it to Waspie, but, in simple words, when the planet pass in front of its star, it reflects its star's light. Based on the reflection, you can detect by which elements the planet is formed. Each element has its specific wave-lenght, so, reading them, they can determine by which elements they're formed.
It's like the Flame Test at school in Chemistry lab.
So, if they find rocky elements and the dimentions aren't too big, they can assume that it's a rocky planet.

At least, that's the way I understood it. Maybe I'm completely wrong :lol:
  Thanks friend,I'm not into all this high tech stuff,on this subject but I was curious.

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#8    None of the above

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 06:42 PM

If they do will it be: SUPER LIFE?






Also tagged with exoplanets, life, super-earths

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