Animal’s Daily Better Earth News

Yes, yes, I know, the House of Representatives has officially joined the Trump re-election campaign.  Remember how well that worked out when the GOP impeached Bill Clinton?  Yeah, I expect more of the same – but I’ll comment on that more when things actually start to develop.

Meanwhile, from the world of astronomy/cosmology – there may be other planets more friendly to life than Earth.  Interesting.  Excerpt:

If there’s one thing the field of astronomy has taught us, it’s that we’re not special. We’re not the center of the Solar System. This isn’t a special place or time in the Universe. And that probably means Earth isn’t the best place for life. It’s the best place for humans, but not for life.

According to a paper in 2013, Penn State astrobiologist Ravi Kumar Kopparapu and others calculated where the edges of a star’s habitable zone should truly be, based on modern climate data. They calculated that a habitable zone around a sunlike star should be between 0.99 and 1.7 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun.

Which means that the Earth is actually right on the inner edge of the Sun’s habitable zone. Like, just barely. If it was any closer to the Sun, we’d experience a runaway greenhouse effect, like Venus.

You probably want to be closer to the middle of the habitable zone, where orbital variations won’t push your planet into extremes.

The Earth is relatively young. Considering the fact that the planet has only been around for 4.5 billion years now, and only figured out multicellular life in the last few hundred million years.

The Sun is heating up, and since we’re so close, we’ve actually only got a few hundred million years, a billion years at the most before temperatures rise and the oceans evaporate. But what if life could have gotten billions of more years of evolution to work out new, more diverse forms of life?

You think a platypus is unusual, just imagine what you’d get with 2 billion more years of evolution. Or 20 billion.

Where no man has gone before!

Turns out that there are main-sequence stars that last longer and are more stable than friendly old Sol.  The Sun is a G-series star, about 4.6 billion years old and with maybe 4 billion years left to run, but it will grow hotter and scorch Earth to a cinder within the next billion.  But K-series stars may last ten times as long as Sol, without the flares and short orbital intervals of red dwarf stars.  Where Earth has had complex life for about two hundred million years, a planet around a K-series sun may have billions of years of development.  Imagine the life that could exist on a fertile planet with that long to marinate!

I know that humans may never reach any of these stars or planets, and I find that kind of saddening; it’s the sci-fi guy in me, and that’s for certain.  But we don’t have to go there!  What if we find the spectral lines of chlorophyll in the atmosphere of an exoplanet – or air pollutants that indicate a developing technological civilization!

That would be one hell of a day, when that news came out.