Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Goldilocks Zone

Remember Goldilocks & The Three Bears, the tale where a little girl chances upon the bears' house and samples the porridge...

"At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl. "This porridge is too hot!" she exclaimed. So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl. "This porridge is too cold," she said So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge. "Ahhh, this porridge is just right," she said happily and she ate it all up."

Well the same may be true according to the conditions life (as we know it) needs in order for it to exist. To that end, researchers have established a theoretical habitable zone (based on earth of course) and mapped it to Glese 581 where scientists discovered "two new planets orbiting the M star Gliese 581 (a red dwarf), with masses of at least 5 and 8 Earth masses. Given their distance to their parent star, these new planets (now known as Gliese 581c and Gliese 581d) were the first ever possible candidates for habitable planets. "

When this is combined with the notion Europa might harbor life (Jupiter's moon may have a liquid ocean due to the heat generated by tidal forces caused by Jupiter's gravitation.) living via chemosynthesis, scientists are beginning to believe life may be far more common then previously thought.

Addendum: Click on the artwork above to view Physorg's blurb on Europa's ocean or click here to read the article from Science Times. Interesting info to be sure.

"Life finds a way." - Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park.

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