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Moontanman

Super habitable planets

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While the idea of a super Earth has been discussed many times many people assume that a super habitable planet is pretty much the same thing and while they might overlap  to some extent they are differing concepts. 

A super habitable planet poses the idea that a planet could very well be better than Earth in several ways to support life. An example would be a planet orbiting a K type star, twice as massive as Earth and around 1.2 to 1.5 times the Earth's diameter. If it lied close to the middle or outer edge of it's stars habitable zone such a planet could maintain habitability for as long as 30 billion years. A denser atmosphere, more greenhouse gases, a stronger magnetic field and longer plate tectonics would suggest a planet better than Earth for life. 

Some people think such a planet would have vast shallow seas, the land would be represented by numerous archipelagoes and deserts or ice caps would be diminished or not occur at all. These attributes could allow for a larger more diverse ecology. 

Could we be looking for the wrong stars and planets for life?     

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Are we talking about the best place to look for other life, or about looking for a better habitat for human ecosystems? 

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1 hour ago, Phi for All said:

Are we talking about the best place to look for other life, or about looking for a better habitat for human ecosystems? 

I am suggesting that Earth may not be as perfect as many people tend to believe. M class stars are really too small to have planets far enough away for them to rotate, k stars are bright enough to have a life zone where planets could still rotate and a larger planet than Earth could maintain liquid water further still. better plate tectonics, stronger magnetic field, thicker atmosphere. Earth could be on the lower edge of life friendly planets. 

Oh yeah, other life, I doubt that other planets would be colonised if we get controlled fusion going. 

Edited by Moontanman

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Thinking that the Earth might just be at the lower limit for complex life is mind expanding. In some ways it's like the planet Pandora from the movie avatar... 

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On 1/5/2018 at 10:25 AM, Moontanman said:

I am suggesting that Earth may not be as perfect as many people tend to believe. M class stars are really too small to have planets far enough away for them to rotate, k stars are bright enough to have a life zone where planets could still rotate and a larger planet than Earth could maintain liquid water further still. better plate tectonics, stronger magnetic field, thicker atmosphere. Earth could be on the lower edge of life friendly planets. 

Oh yeah, other life, I doubt that other planets would be colonised if we get controlled fusion going. 

Any star will have its "goldilocks zone" or that region where water can exist in liquid form on the surface. Although I'm pretty sure that having the ability to have liquid water exist on the surface, is not the only criteria for life.

With regards to a "super Earth" "habitabity", while agreeing that it may even be better suited, perhaps any evolution of intelligent life, would take much much longer to overcome the  extra force of gravity that once bound us to our Earth.

Edited by beecee

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There also might be a problem with definitions.  Some define another Earth as a planet with the possibility of life.  Others define another EARTH as a place where humans can walk around naked on the surface, breathe the air, drink the water and eat the available plant and maybe animal life without dropping dead.  Quite a big difference.

Hopefully we will find many earths.  But it is very non likely we will ever find another EARTH.  Our planet is unique.  But, hopefully we might find a few exo planets close enough or good enough that we can, through tinkering with our own bodies, slip into that worlds ecology and live there.  Hopefully and successfully.  But ... would we be human?

Dunno that.

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@Moontanman

By super habitable you seem to mean capable of supporting life longer than our Sun and Earth. On the other hand, the increased gravity and different light spectrum of a Super Earth near a type K star would affect life. For all we know, such conditions may not support genesis of life. For sure, the increased gravity would inhibit space travel, and may inhibit development of delicate hands as ours.

Assuming the purpose of super habitable planets is to maintain humanity longer than the Sun and Earth will. I believe moving all humanity to another star with a Super Earth is exceedingly difficult. Furthermore, it is probably easier to build a Dyson Swarm and reduce the size of the Sun via Star Lifting.

On the other hand, I believe populating the galaxy will occur. Using automated space ships and shipping frozen embryos to other stars systems, with a few people kept alive throughout the trip requires far less energy to travel around the galaxy than trying to move all of humanity anywhere. With Dyson Swarms, all stars can be populated. With star lifting, all stars can be made an ideal size.

First, we must survive climate change and the AI singularity. In addition, we must learn to coexist and thrive with AGI. Although, for longest survival we must fight entropy, perhaps by moving as many galaxies into our local cluster as possible (increase resources), and by reducing our use of resources to the absolute minimum. Reducing resource use means we should not overpopulate. Since collecting resources and minimizing their use would probably take billions of years, a reasonable population for many galaxies could be huge during earlier parts of the process. Eventually, we might want to reduce our population to frozen embryos, virtual people, and a few maintenance robots. The length of time intelligent beings can survive depends on how much energy they can store and how little they use. Can we stave off entropy for a trillion years?

Edited by EdEarl

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2 hours ago, HB of CJ said:

  But, hopefully we might find a few exo planets close enough or good enough that we can, through tinkering with our own bodies, slip into that worlds ecology and live there.  Hopefully and successfully.  But ... would we be human?

Dunno that.

I once heard Stephen Hawking make a similar comment. From memory it was at a Millenium function at the White House at the turn of the century, year 2000 or 2001. I remember it was hosted by the President Clinton.

2 minutes ago, EdEarl said:

On the other hand, I believe populating the galaxy will occur. Using automated space ships and shipping frozen embryos to other stars systems, with a few people kept alive throughout the trip requires far less energy to travel around the galaxy than trying to move all of humanity anywhere. With Dyson Swarms, all stars can be populated. With star lifting, all stars can be made an ideal size.

First, we must survive climate change and the AI singularity. In addition, we must learn to coexist and thrive with AGI. Although, for longest survival we must fight entropy, perhaps by moving as many galaxies into our local cluster as possible (increase resources), and by reducing our use of resources to the absolute minimum. Reducing resource use means we should not overpopulate. Since collecting resources and minimizing their use would probably take billions of years, a reasonable population for many galaxies could be huge during earlier parts of the process. Eventually, we might want to reduce our population to frozen embryos, virtual people, and a few maintenance robots. The length of time intelligent beings can survive depends on how much energy they can store and how little they use. Can we stave off entropy for a trillion years?

Agreed.

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Super habitable would mean a larger planet around smaller stars that the sun, vast oceans with huge shallow seas and land surface contained in large archipelagos, islands, and chains of islands. The atmosphere would be denser and possibly contain significantly larger amounts of Hydrogen Sulfide, Ammonia, CO2, CO, Methane and others due to larger numbers of life forms that produce them and volcanoes that also produce them.

The planet Pandora orbiting the gas giant Polyphemus would be an example of this in fiction. 

12 hours ago, beecee said:

Any star will have its "goldilocks zone" or that region where water can exist in liquid form on the surface. Although I'm pretty sure that having the ability to have liquid water exist on the surface, is not the only criteria for life.

With regards to a "super Earth" "habitabity", while agreeing that it may even be better suited, perhaps any evolution of intelligent life, would take much much longer to overcome the  extra force of gravity that once bound us to our Earth.

 Stronger gravity would pose a problem, I have a planet in mind for a story I am preparing to write. The Planet is 20,000 miles in diameter with gravity of 2X earth Normal. A 10 bar atmosphere, lots of volcanism and a more active plate tectonics. Orbiting two K type stars would give the system a wider habitable zone and a much longer life. It would have to have large amounts of silicates and a core small in comparison to earth's but largeish in it's own right. 

We think that gases like CO, H2S, NH3, CH4 are poisonous but certain organisms both metabolize and produce these gasses and could be important to alien life forms but deadly to us. Such a planet could also hang on to hydrogen better and in our solar system Titan has something that consumes Hydrogen and has been postulated  to be life forms doing this. 

Yet another option would be a planet with a hydrogen atmosphere, a rocky surface and water ocean. Plants could consume methane and water vapor and produce hydrogen. Instead of storing energy via carbohydrates they could store energy in solid oxidizers. This would allow them to have fire. 

So many possibilities and so little data... 

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8 hours ago, Moontanman said:

Super habitable would mean a larger planet around smaller stars that the sun, vast oceans with huge shallow seas and land surface contained in large archipelagos, islands, and chains of islands. The atmosphere would be denser and possibly contain significantly larger amounts of Hydrogen Sulfide, Ammonia, CO2, CO, Methane and others due to larger numbers of life forms that produce them and volcanoes that also produce them.

The planet Pandora orbiting the gas giant Polyphemus would be an example of this in fiction. 

Why would a larger planet be better than Earth-sized or smaller for habitability? And why is denser atmosphere good?

Also a lot of what you described depends on plate tectonics, but as of now there's no consensus as to why or how plate tectonics started on Earth and why it didn't on Mars or Venus, for example. 

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15 hours ago, pavelcherepan said:

Why would a larger planet be better than Earth-sized or smaller for habitability?

A planet larger than Earth could have a denser atmosphere and could maintain the conditions for liquid water further from its host star.  A stronger magnetic field would be expected from a larger planet as well...

15 hours ago, pavelcherepan said:

And why is denser atmosphere good?

A denser atmosphere could maintain  liquid water further from its sun and give better protection from cosmic rays and other sources of radiation. 

15 hours ago, pavelcherepan said:

Also a lot of what you described depends on plate tectonics, but as of now there's no consensus as to why or how plate tectonics started on Earth and why it didn't on Mars or Venus, for example. 

I would appear that the jury is still out on that but some consider the Earth to be just big enough for plate tectonics and bigger planets would be more active. Surface water is theorised to have the effect of allowing crustal movement as well.

 http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2041-8205/725/1/L43/meta

Another super habitability quality would be to orbit a K type star, our sun will leave the main sequence in another 5 billion years but the slow expansion we currently observe in our sun will make the Earth uninhabitable far sooner. A K type start could stay on themai sequence 15 to 30 billion years compared to our sun's 5 billion years. 

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