Astronomers have made a recipe for an ideal planet for life

(ORDO NEWS) — Our Earth is the only planet known to mankind on which life originated and flourishes.

However, we often underestimate the uniqueness of its conditions, including a suitable balance of land and water on its surface.

Is it possible for life to arise on a planet of a different type, and if so, what is the recipe for an “ideal” planet for life?

Approximately 29 percent of our planet is land, and the remaining 71 percent is ocean, while there are very few places on Earth where there are no life forms.

The viability of the Earth is made up of many factors: from the presence of liquid water and tectonic activity to the chemical composition of the earth’s crust, proximity to the Sun and the presence of a magnetosphere.

When searching for exoplanets potentially suitable for life, scientists are guided by the parameters of the Earth.

They look for habitable worlds at a certain distance from the star (in the “habitable zone” ), which guarantees the possibility of the presence of liquid water on the planet. But does the abundance of the seas always speak in favor of a potential future colony?

To determine this, researchers from the Potsdam Institute for the Study of Climate Change (Germany) analyzed the relationship between the Earth’s tectonics and its habitability.

For example, erosion processes on land serve as a source of nutrients for the inhabitants of the continental shelves, which means a decrease in the amount of carbon on land – but this process, in turn, is balanced with volcanic eruptions that saturate the Earth’s atmosphere with carbon dioxide.

All of these factors are connected in feedback loops: say, if there were more land on Earth, the climate would be colder and drier, which would limit plant growth and slow down the formation of an oxygen atmosphere.

On the other hand, if there were more water on Earth, the shelf seas would lack nutrients, which again would prevent the formation of a full-fledged biosphere.

Astronomers have made a recipe for an ideal planet for life 2
A land planet ( left ) will be no less unsuitable for life than an ocean planet ( right )

Thus, even the presence of liquid water on the surface of the planet does not mean that it is habitable: the necessary balance of water and land is required for a planet in the life zone to be habitable.

Since a study was already published six years ago , according to the results of which the evolution of an earth-like planet of the type “planet-land” or “planet-ocean” is most likely, it is worth recognizing the obvious: humanity has little chance of finding a “second Earth”.

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