Earth can be exceptionally unique

(ORDO NEWS) — According to the study, the chance of planets covered by land is about 80%, while the chance of planets covered by oceans is about 20%. Only in 1% of cases, the distribution of land and water was similar to that of the earth.

The universe is a huge place. She is really huge. Perhaps we can get an idea of ​​how big it is by looking at estimates of the number of stars and planets in our galaxy.

According to the latest calculations, there are about 250 billion stars in our home galaxy. This is a billion with the letter B.

It is estimated that there are about 400 billion planets in the Milky Way. Of these 400 billion, there are at least six billion planets that should be similar to the Earth.

But what exactly does “like Earth” mean? What exoplanet is rocky? That it revolves around its star in the habitable zone? What does it have water on? Oxygen?

The researchers found that searching for dry, cold “pale yellow dots” around other stars could be more successful than searching for Carl Sagan’s “pale blue dot”.

A Swiss-German study presented at the Europlanet Science Congress 2022 suggests that it is the unusual balance of land and water on Earth that could make life flourish in space. In other places, things may be different.

The study by Tilman Shpohn and Dennis Hoening aimed to determine how continents and water cycles may determine the development of terrestrial exoplanets.

According to their model, land-covered planets have a probability of about 80%, while ocean-covered planets have a probability of about 20%. Only in 1% of cases, the distribution of land and water was similar to that of the earth.

On our home planet, earthlings enjoy a balance of land and ocean. “It’s tempting to think that a second Earth will be similar to ours, but our simulations show that this is unlikely,” explained the executive director of the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland.

Based on their numerical models, the average surface temperature would not differ much, perhaps varying by 5° Celsius, but the distribution of land and ocean would affect the climate of the planets.

It is likely that a world that is predominantly oceanic and has less than 10% land mass will have a humid and warm climate, similar to that which existed on Earth during the era of asteroid impacts, when the dinosaurs were destroyed.

The climate on continents where oceans make up less than 30% would be more severe, dry and cold. The continents on this planet may have cool deserts in the depths, and their climate will be similar to that of Earth during the last ice age.

Volcanic activity and weathering contribute approximately the same to the growth of continents on Earth. In areas with direct solar radiation, life based on photosynthesis thrives.

The oceans serve as a reservoir for water, preventing a drier climate from occurring.

Professor Shpon explained that the activity of tectonic plates is due to internal heat, which creates earthquakes, volcanoes and rock formations. As water exchanges between the atmosphere and the subsoil, land erosion occurs.

The interplay between these cycles in our numerical models indicates that the Earth may be an exceptional planet and that land equilibrium may be unstable for billions of years.”

The professor concluded that while all modeled planets are habitable, their fauna and flora may be very different.

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