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‘Super-Earths’ may be dead worlds

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"Super-Earths" may be dead worlds

In the last 20 years the search for Earth-like planets around other stars has accelerated, with the launch of missions like the Kepler space telescope. Using these and observatories on the ground, astronomers have found numerous worlds that at first sight have similarities with the Earth. A few of these are even in the "habitable zone" where the temperature is just right for water to be in liquid form and so are prime targets in the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

Now a team of scientists have looked at how these worlds form and suggest that many of them may be a lot less clement than was thought. They find that planets that form from less massive cores can become benign habitats for life, whereas the larger objects instead end up as "mini-Neptunes" with thick atmospheres and probably stay sterile. The researchers, led by Dr. Helmut Lammer of the Space Research Institute (IWF) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, publish their results in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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Not habitable by humans but the Hunters, Floaters and Sinkers may thrive in such a world. I remember the Cosmos (new version starts Sunday, March 9th here in the states) episode where these lifeforms were theorized to exist in a gas giant atmosphere and I would think it would be more likely in the atmosphere of a planet this size.

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Not habitable by humans but the Hunters, Floaters and Sinkers may thrive in such a world.

These life forms were HIGHLY hypothetical. Carl Sagan was sceptical even though he proposed them.

Carl Sagan, a cautious skeptic himself, noted the hypothetical nature of this in his introduction that 1976 paper by restating that the plausibility of life in a gaseous giant does necessarily correlate to its likelihood.

Source: Nature

You will not find astrobiologists talking about such life forms now (remember the original Cosmos was first broadcast in 1980).

And why don't they talk about them now:

However, the likelihood of this, shown by later experiments, was diminished. It seems that the forces of convection, powerful gusts in the Jovian atmosphere, would probably blow any promising molecules into the lower atmosphere. There, the rigid pressures and intense temperatures would do away with them.

Source: as above.

It would seem to me that this same problem would exist on mini-Neptunes.

So, not only is your post highly speculative in nature (so speculative that even one of the co-authors thought it highly unlikely) it is based on speculation which is decades out of date.

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