Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Goldilock Zone Redefined

The Goldilocks Zone, according to the Wikipedia, is: 
  • In astronomy and astrobiology, habitable zone (more accurately, circumstellar habitable zone ) is the scientific term for the region around a star within which it is theoretically possible for a planet with sufficient atmospheric pressure to maintain liquid water on its surface.
In the past this has been fairly easy to determine as, where ever the Earth was in reference to a yellow dwarf star, that was the habitual zone, and all other calculations could be made from this generality.  

Well Space.Com has an article that seems to throw a bit of a monkey wrench in to the mix.
In a recent article:
  • Now scientists have redefined the boundaries of the habitable zone for alien planets, potentially kicking out some exoplanaets that were thought to fall within it, and maybe allowing a few that had been excluded to squeeze in.
What surprised me however was the redefined low end (how close a planet can be) for an Earth style system  was .99 AU.  Earth at 1 AU just barely makes the cut as a world almost too hot to maintain liquid water without it boiling away.  

Many astrobiologists are surprised at the closeness of Earth to the inside edge.  Plus with the new definition, many planets now fall into a to hot class not likely to harbor life.  


kallamis said...

You know me. I've never held much stock in the concept of a habitable zone.
That is going by only what we know of life here on earth, and even that is being redefined even now as we find living organisms where we once said there could be none.
It just seems to me to limit the search way too much.
It's like saying that we will search the first hundred feet by fifty feet wide area of a lake, and if we don't find a wrecked ship there, then no ships ever wrecked in that lake.
I will agree that it may be a place to start the search, but it is hardly the end of it. We don't even know for sure if earth is the only life supporting planet in our system when you add in all the moons, planets, etc.
And no, I don't mean 6'5" tall Venusian women with violet eyes, green hair, and three breasts either. (Okay, I wouldn't mind finding that Venus.)
But I mean simple life of any kind. And we don't know what is under the ice of a moon either. There could be fish, or something like it, or microbial life, or even an advanced life form that is starting to build, whatever.
My point is, we just don't know yet. And defining life as having to exist in a certain area, is silly to me. We have already been proven wrong on those kinds of assumptions right here on Earth.
I have a different view of the so called Goldilocks zone. It's pretty simple as well.
If the bloody planet is burning up close to the sun, look for life. And I even hate to cut out that planet, without knowing what is under the surface there.
To be honest, I haven't cut out the idea of life existing in space itself. Just because we can't, doesn't mean that something else doesn't. Damn slim chance of that I would say, and very very damn slim chance of it. And no I wasn't talking about anything huge, but there could be something living out there somewhere, at the whim of solar winds, and simply floating around existing on radiation maybe who knows. I just can't discount it, YET.
There is just such a variance in the type of lifeforms that could exist in this universe, that I can't discount the possibility of anything existing somewhere.
Not all life would even have to be carbon based for that matter. That's just how things evolved here that we know of so far. I just think we are limiting ourselves way too much looking for another Earth. And that does seem to be what they are doing.

Beam Me Up said...

Oh I agree 100% and that is the reason I think the researchers are in the same ballpark, "Life as we know it" and you have to agree that this is exactly the type of life we will discover first. Think about it....

kallamis said...

I agree because that is not only what we are looking for, but may be the only kind that we were recognize at this point in our own evolution.
Imagine us finding a planet with our type atmosphere, or any atmosphere for that matter, and find no life but plants. Or plants and insects.
Now lets say there was a life form there, but it aged and moved differently than we do.
We perceive time based upon our own lifespans. If the life there perceives time differently, because of lets say a life span that to us in in the millions of years, it may not even move perceptively while we are there looking around.
For that matter, it may not even perceive us as we may be moving at a speed that they would consider impossible for any living thing.
And if they looked like a big rock or something, hell we'd never know it. I know that's a little far out there, but hell, so am I.
It's always been one of my reasons for saying that any interstellar mission we may eventually have, needs to have regular sci-fi, fantasy, rpg gaming people on board. The people that will look outside the box, as in screw looking outside, lets step outside type of people.
Having the scientists, etc is beyond even stating of course. But regular people, or people that try and study everything, master nothing, but think all the time of weird things are going to be needed on those types of missions.
We would be the race that would go to a planet, and stab a tree looking thing to see what was in it, and with our luck, we'd have stabbed the freaking King or something.
I always worry about the carelessness of which we would go about things, assuming like a lot of us do that everything in the universe must be like here on earth.
I've always held to the fact that no world may be the same, and no life form may be the same.
I've been working on something here about communication between two alien species that have never met.
We could start with math of course, but what happens when we go to things like a glass of water. And say water. Do they think we mean the glass, the liquid in it, clear, half full glass, what are we trying to communicate.
It's one of the reasons I incorporated a biological universal translator into my game. Lets just say that after one attempt at this, and losing the earth due to idiot gamers, I went with the translators. Great for gaming, but to use one with a species never met before, and no knowledge of them, they would still be useless in actuality.