More Soft Disclosure from Science- Habitable zones’ around stars ten times wider than we thought

Habitable zones’ around stars ten times wider than we thought – study

                                                                           

The artist's concept depicts Kepler-62f, a super-Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a star smaller and cooler than the sun, located about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-CaltechThe artist’s concept depicts Kepler-62f, a super-Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a star smaller and cooler than the sun, located about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

Life on Earth-like planets can exist at least ten times farther away from their stars than previously thought, scientists found, putting in question our whole perspective on habitable zone distances.

A new paper published in the journal, Planetary and Space  Science, describes how living organisms have just as much chance  of surviving in areas below their uninhabitable planets’   surfaces.

This includes planets a staggering distance away from their  stars, as well as even those that were recently discovered to be  drifting in space by themselves, with no apparent host star. It  is all about temperature.

The previous commonly accepted assertion was that the   ‘Goldilocks’ zone was a requirement. It is the zone both far away  and near to its star to provide the kind of climate capable of  sustaining life, because it supports water which is neither  boiling hot nor frozen.

Now a team of researchers from Aberdeen and St. Andrews  universities has an updated view of things. PhD student Sean  McMahon, author of the paper, says “that theory fails to take  into account life that can exist beneath a planet’s surface. As  you get deeper …the temperature increases, and once you get down  to a temperature where liquid water can exist – life can exist  there too.”

To prove this, the scientists devised a computer model to  cleverly approximate temperatures below the surfaces of planets  by inputting the distance to their respective stars and crossing  that with the planet’s size.

Using that model they discovered that the radius around a star,  capable of supporting life, increased three-fold if new data on  depth at which life can exist below the surface of a given planet  were taken into account.

“The deepest known life on Earth is 5.3 km below the surface,  but there may well be life even 10 km deep in places on Earth  that haven’t yet been drilled,” McMahon said.

What adds to the excitement is that the model allows for  potentially expanding the habitable zone even more. If indeed we  do find life 10km below the Earth’s surface, the math tells us  that Earth-like planets could support life as far as 14 times the  distance previously considered to be the Goldilocks zone.

To put this into perspective – our current habitable zone is  considered to reach out as far as Mars. But new measurements that  account for life existing under rocky surfaces take that radius  as far as Jupiter and Saturn.

For example, the recently discovered Gliese 581 d could be a  candidate. Sure, it is about 20 trillion kilometers away, but its  cold surface could well hide life a couple of kilometers below  the surface, scientists assume.

Scientists are excited at the subsurface theory on sustaining  life. We can now widen our search for life, they hope, adding  that the new findings are so radical that the fact of life on  Earth (which itself is very different from the thousands of  planets we know about) could itself be anomalous because life  receives much more protection inside a warm, mineral-rich rock  than risking survival on its inhospitable surface.

source:

http://rt.com/news/life-earth-planets-study-305/

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