June 22, 2010

The Goldilocks Zone

I love the term Goldilocks (Habitable) Zone. It refers to the zone in a solar system that isn't too cold and isn't too hot, but just right when it comes to having a planet that could have life on it.

The current Kepler mission is out to find planets in such zones in different solar systems.

To me, as a layman, it only makes sense that in many solar systems that a such a zone would exist. The closer a planet is to its sun, the hotter it would be, so there has to be a point that is just right for life.

Of course, radiation may make certain solar systems uninhabitable (at least according to my understanding of how these things work), plus if a planet is gaseous it most likely can't handle life. And there are many stars that have no planets, or any planets that fall into the Goldilocks Zone.

Pretty much they are looking for rocky planets that can have water or have water.

Another thing that is fairly intuitive is that as suns get cooler, the Goldilocks Zone shifts to planets closer to their Sun. Makes sense that Mars might have been in that zone at one time, and it might still be, as scientists are now finding that some microbes can live at minus 80 degrees.

With billions of stars in the universe and billions of solar systems as well, there could be millions or billions of habitable planets out there.

This gets me thinking. Since those of us with a clue know how evolution works, you have to wonder how many of these planets have evolved humans that are very similar to us. Are there species out there that put our intellect to shame, how about the way our bodies function. Can something with a ginormous brain live on just energy from their sun; a really smart plant that walks around and has their own version of the internet.

But when you look and see the similarities of animals on this planet including man, there only seems a few ways to go. Mammals, the smartest animal here, either have two or four legs, a heart and a brain. We know how all these body parts came about.
Are worm like beings capable of being the dominant creature on a planet? With huge brains?

It also brings about some interesting speculation regarding religion. I'm pretty convinced that has man evolved, superstition was a necessary evil. It made life passable believing that lightning and other things that couldn't be explained had to be pawned off to a supernatural being or as a supernatural event. With self awareness came awareness of death, and without a supernatural belief attached to it, I could see it driving our ancestors crazy. So the invention of Gods probably paved the way for man to evolve to the point where we are now.

Was it really necessary? I think so. And if I'm right, it is probably necessary on every planet that has life forms that have equal or better brain power and self awareness that we have.

As Christianity dominates Earth right now as the number one religion, I wonder what kind of religions dominate other planets.

Another thought: How do Religious Fundamentalist Earthlings deal with the news of life on other planets.

Like most things, they probably don't really think about it. Many might think there are no other "humans" out there so God doesn't really care about life on the billions or other planets.

Some might think that Jesus has been busy visiting all kinds of planets and dying for their sins. Lots of Second Comings have to happen too. I wonder where Earth ranks on his list:)