Alien Life Could Exist on Worlds Overflowing with Water, New Research Suggests

Space.com | 9/6/2018 | Staff
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Even on alien worlds covered by water, a new study shows that there's a chance for life to survive for a long time — despite previous research showing that's unlikely.

Past research has said that these so-called "water worlds" could be unfriendly to life because they would not allow for mineral and gas cycling that stabilizes the climate on Earth. A new study, however, counters that ocean planets could sustain habitability for quite a long time after formation, although how long depends on the individual planet.

Earth - Scientists - Climate - Planets - Conditions

On Earth, scientists often look to our own climate to better understand how planets in general could keep their conditions steady for millions or billions of years, long enough for life to get a toehold, according to a statement on the new work. Our planet warms up by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, through volcanoes, and then cools down by dissolving those gases into minerals in the crust.

The new research, based on more than 1,000 simulations of exoplanets under formation, suggests that water worlds could be habitable if they meet certain conditions, researchers said in the statement. Specifically, these planets would need to have a certain amount of carbon — the element on which Earth's life is based. The exoplanet would need a lot...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Space.com
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