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Facing Reality About Life on Other Planets: Geophysics

by Dr Henry Richter This is a continuation of my discussion on the requirements to allow life to exist on a planet elsewhere in the universe. My discussion moved from our position in the galaxy, our position in the solar system, and then focused on the earth, looking at the influence of our moon, our […]
Earthrise 2015 LRO

Moon Bombarded by Crashing Theories

Strange things happen on our nearest neighbor. Stranger things happen in the heads of theorists trying to figure out our nearest neighbor.

Underground Oceans Can't Last Forever

If Pluto and Enceladus have oceans under the crust, why are they still liquid after billions of years?

Only Earth Is a Life Haven

Here are more discoveries that make it reasonable to think complex life is rare in the universe, and might be unique to Earth.

First Pluto Papers Published

Planetary scientists have published their first official findings about the 9th planet (or dwarf planet), Pluto.
The geyser plumes of Enceladus can be seen from long distances

Tiny Enceladus Beats Saturn in Plasma Output

An astonishing case of the tail wagging the dog: tiny moon is major source of plasma in Saturn's magnetosphere.

Cassini Plunges Through Enceladus Geyser, and Other Saturn News

Yesterday's daring plunge through a plume of an Enceladus geyser is the highlight of recent Saturn news.

Ski Pluto: Glaciers Are Flowing

Planetary scientists are dumbfounded by more evidence of youth at Pluto, both on the surface and in the atmosphere.

Astrobiology Hopes Diminish

Recent findings both near and far create challenges for beliefs that life is common in the universe.

Sun Attacks, but Earth Fights Back

Geophysicists have found that the Earth fights deadly solar radiation with a plasma punch.

Lunar Dust Problem Re-opened

Long-lost Apollo data on lunar dust accumulation has been found, showing a tenfold increase over previous estimates. What does that imply about the age of the moon?

Planet Habitable Zone Cannot Be Too Windy

The "habitable zone" of a planet usually concerns its distance from the star such that it can support liquid water. But what if the star fries the surface with intense stellar winds?

A Brain Wouldn't Survive Star Travel

Don't take a star trek unless you want to arrive demented.

Our Poisonous Moon: Better from a Distance

The moon stabilizes Earth's axis and regulates the tides, but enjoy it from a distance. Now there are more reasons you wouldn't want to live there.

A Young Moon for Life

Our moon is unique in the solar system. Just the right size and just the right distance, it is positioned to stabilize the tilt of Earth’s axis, providing stable seasonal cycles. Science lacks data so far to know just how unique the Earth-moon relationship in a habitable zone is among other stellar systems. We know from the planets of our own solar system that moons come in all sizes, from tiny Deimos to massive Titan, and orbit in apparently arbitrary radii from their host planets. What astrophysicists can do is predict what would happen on earth if things were different. That’s what one scientist did. Another discovery could change the view of the moon’s surface being unaltered for billions of years.
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