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III. Ecosmos: A Revolutionary Fertile, Habitable, Solar-Bioplanet Lifescape

J. Super Earth Nova: Our Especial Home be Could the Fittest, Smartest, Bioworld Candidate

We have reached an especial Natural Genesis section which can report and documentan increasing apparent but unknown 21st century radical realization. It has long been thought that due to the vast multitudes of galaxies, stars and now orbital planets ought to contain myriad life-bearing worlds. But as Earthumanity learns on her/his own, by 2022 it is found that a biosphere to noosphere evolution process need pass through many check points (see below) to reach this moment. In novel regard, our home Earth might well be the fittest, optimum candidate.

For a title citation, we propose to expand “Anthropic principle” about cosmic parameters that have precise values so to allow life and people to exist (Chap. III. G). An “Earthropic principle” could denote the unexpected discovery that amongst an infinity of stochastic bioworlds our special planet merits a rarest temporal and spatial significance. We continue on with some October 2022 musings (cutting it much to close).

Super Earth Nova Some 13.8 billion years on, our collective, aware observance and accumulated knowledge repository, so it may seem, could be what life’s evolutionary developmental gestation in a solar incubator needs to retrospectfully affirm both our “geonate” success, and possibly the whole ecosmic procreation. A vital point may then be that an informed realization requires our own (autocatalytic) personal and planetary initiative. We broach such glimpses so to wonder what awesome vistas might be in our midst so to reveal a peaceable future.

Here is broad sample of recent findings across the 140 section entries. It is followed by a long tabulation of just how problematic it has been

Ambrifi, Alessandro, et al. The Impact of AGN Outflows on the Surface Habitability of Terrestrial Planets in the Milky Way. arXiv:2203.00929.
Anand, Rajagopal. Orbital Properties and Implications for the Initiation of Plate Tectonics and Planetary Habitability. arXiv:2202.10719.
Ballmer, Maxim and Lena Noack. The Diversity of Exoplanets: From Interior Dynamics to Surface Expressions. arXiv:2108.08385.
Canup, Robin, et al. Origin of the Moon. arXiv:2103.02015.
Chopra, Aditya and Charles Lineweaver. The Case for a Gaian Bottleneck: The Biology of Habitability. International Journal of Astrobiology. 16/1, 2016.

Erdmann, Weronika, et al. How the Geomagnetic Field Influences Life on Earth. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres. 51/231, 2021.
Foley, Bradford and Peter Driscoli. Whole Planet Coupling Between Climate, Mantle, and Core. arXiv: 1711.06801.
Frank, Adam. Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth. New York: Norton, 2019.
Hall, Shannon. Summer Solstice Mystery: Does the Earth’s Tilt Hold the Secret to Life? New York Times. June 21, 2018.
Haqq-Misra, Jacob. Does the Evolution of Complex Life Depend on the Stellar Spectral Energy Distribution? arXiv:1905.07343.

Horner, Jonathan, et al. The Influence of Jupiter, Mars and Venus on Earth’s Orbital Evolution. arXiv:1708.03448.
Kopparapu,, Ravi, et al. Characterizing Exoplanet Habitability. Meadows, Victoria, et al, eds. Planetary Astrobiology. Tempe: University of Arizona Press, 2020.
Lingam, Manasvi. Implications of Abiotic Oxygen Buildup for Earth-like Complex Life. arXiv:2002.03248.
Martin, Rebecca and Mario Livio. Asteroids and Life: How Special is the Solar System?. arXiv:2202.01352.
McIntyre, Sarah, et al. Planetary Magnetism as a Parameter in Exoplanet Habitability. arXiv:1903.03123.
O'Callaghan, Jonathan. A Solution to the Faint-Sun Paradox Reveals a Narrow Window for Life. Quanta Magazine. January 27, 2022.

Olson, Stephanie, et al. The Effect of Ocean Salinity on Climate and its Implications for Earth’s Habitability. arXiv:2205.06785.
Provenzale, Murante, et al. Climate Bistability of Earth-like Planets. arXiv:1912.05392.
Raymond, Sean, et al. Solar System Formation in the Context of Extrasolar Planets. Meadows, Victoria, et al, eds. Planetary Astrobiology. Tempe: University of Arizona Press, 2020.
Schwieterman, Edward, et al. A Limited Habitable Zone for Complex Life. arXiv:1902.04720.
Secco, Luigi, et al. Habitability of Local, Galactic and Cosmological Scales. arXiv:1912:01569.

Smith, Howard A. The End of Copernican Mediocrity. Zoe Imfeld and Andreas Losch, eds. Our Common Cosmos. London: Bloomsbury, 2018.
Synder-Beattie, Andrew, et al. The Timing of Evolutionary Transitions Suggests Intelligent Life is Rare. Astrobiology. November, 2020.
Wade, Jon, et al. Temporal Variation of Planetary Iron as a Driver of Evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 118/51, 2021.
Way, M. J.. et al. Large-scale Volcanism and the Heat Death of Terrestrial Worlds. arXiv:2204.12475.
Webb, Stephen. If the Universe is Teeming with Aliens-- Where is Everybody? New York: Springer, 2015.


2020: With regard to this incredible significance, we propose an EarthMost identity so to properly name and represent our possibly fittest, optimum home. As a Pedia progeny now may embark on her/his open frontier of evolitionary continuance, we are aware of how rudimentary our current understandings must be. But in this geonatal moment, when a decisive self-selection between end or begin, kinder or cinder, must be made, this august finding could bring a vital incentive. For an example so far, we suggest works by Marina Alberti and David Wallace-Wells.

Benign G-Type Star Our sun has been on relatively good behavior for billions of years. While M red dwarfs make up some 80% of galactic stars, this preferred solar type and temperature range is more conducive for life and evolution.

Multiple Suns are Common A majority of stellar objects are found to occur in vicarious double pairings or triple combinations. Binary star regimes in constant motion are considered to be hostile, highly variable environs.

Stellar Clusters in Galaxies Another usual condition is a tendency for stars to cluster together in fluid galactic groupings, which makes suns with orbital planets harder to form and maintain. Our star is not in a crowded area.

Stable Solar System Our own warm sun with an array of eight distinct worlds has experienced a rare long-term stability. A ninth outer planet or more is seen as disruptive. Most exosolar arrays found so far exhibit all manner of chaotic instabilities.

Unique Orbital Geometries For another anomaly, our familiar orrery of worlds all lie in the same plane, with mostly well spaced, circular orbits. A Bohr atom type swarm of planets every which way, often close in, is more prevalent.

Solar Habitable Zone Precious Earth resides in a relatively benign middle location from the sun between fried too near and frozen far out. So situated, its daily rotation and 365 day annual orbit are very conducive.

Galactic Habitable Zone The solar system is located half way from a prohibitive center and too far outer bands. By virtue, beneficial metallicities can occur in the sun and for planetary accretions.

Jupiter’s Journeys This orderly milieu is due to past movements of the gas giant Jupiter in toward the sun and back again. This is known as a “grand tack,” which served to remove a usual inner crush of rocky worlds, leaving only Mercury.

Rare Ratio of Land and Water Among thousands of exoworlds found so far, Earth has a unique 30 – 70 % division of dry land and ocean over a long time. A more usual state, e.g. Mars and Venus, and through the galaxy, is a default to all arid, wet/icy, or gaseous.

Plate Tectonics Still another rarity is the past movement and contact of continental land masses over many millions of years. Their geological and climatic dynamics are seen to foster evolutionary development, which a stationary mantle would not do.

A Timely Oxygenated Atmosphere Earth life’s embryonic biosphere was able to achieve at an early age (Gaian bottleneck) a stable optimum of a 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen balance. Below 15% or above 25% oxygen would starve or burn environments and organisms.

Asteroid Impact Rates By many paleo-studies, it has been found that Earth sustained a tolerable degree of asteroid hits, while the more usual rain of many more collisions which would be catastrophic to life and intelligence able to learn all this.

An Ideal Moon However it happened, Earth has had a largish moon in just the right place for a long duration. Its presence then causes moderate tidal flows and basins to foster stromatolites and cyanobacteria at life’s origins, go onto mediate weather, light up a dark night for hominins, and more favors.

A Good Axial Tilt for Seasons Earth’s polar axis goes through a 23.5 degree swing each year, aka obliquity, which causes vital seasonal variations. While a 10 to 50 degree range may harbor life, a spring, summer, autumn, winter cycle seems well suited.

A Geomagnetic Field 2021 findings imply that a relatively steady, stable strength is a vital necessity from life’s origin and throughout its developmental emergence.

Arboreal Tree Height As evident on Earth, life’s evolution was fostered by the right amount of ground water so that fertile forests could grow to an optimal size.

Planetary Magnetism Earth has maintained liquid surface water and an airy atmosphere over eons aided by a strong magnetic dipole moment. Other planets such as Venus and Mars do not have this vital feature.

Stellar Spectral Energy Radiance As a sun shines, it must do so at an appropriate rate over a long time span so that life on a habitable, orbital world can evolve from simple to complex entities like us.

Active Galactic Nuclei Their energetic emission in the Milky Way is another factor which can influence living, evolutionary systems

Volcanic Activity A vicarious degree of eruptions from molten global interiors can life’s chances to appear, survive and evolve. (May 2022)

Ocean Salinity It appears that the salt levels of watery expanses are beneficial, while higher, lower or changing amounts can inhibit. (May 2022)


We post next a sample of salient citations in support of these auspicious qualities. Please browse Astrobiology, Exoearths, Green Galaxy, and throughout for more reports.

2020 References:

Batygin, Konstantin and Greg Laughlin. Jupiter’s Decisive Role in the Inner Solar System’s Early Evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112/4214, 2015.

Canales, Manuel, et al. One Strange Rock. National Geographic. March, 2017.

Chopra, Aditya and Charles Lineweaver. The Case for a Gaian Bottleneck: The Biology of Habitability. International Journal of Astrobiology. 16/1, 2016.

Cirkovic, Milan. The Great Silence: Science and Philosophy of Fermi’s Paradox. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Frank, Adam, et al. Earth as a Hybrid Planet: The Anthropocene in an Evolutionary Astrobiological Context. Anthropocene. Online August, 2017.

Gribbin, John. Alone in the Milky Way. Scientific American. September, 2018.

Lingam, Manasvi and Abraham Loeb. Physical Constraints for the Evolution of Life on Exoplanets. arXiv:1810:02007.

Morbidelli, Alessandro, et al. Topical Collection on the Delivery of Water to Proto-Planets, Planets and Satellites. Space Science Reviews. 214/7, 2018.

Prantzos, Nikos. A Probabilistic Analysis of the Fermi Paradox in Terms of the Drake Formula. arXiv:2003.04802.

Raymond, Sean, et al. Solar System Formation in the Context of Extrasolar Planets. Meadows, Victoria, et al, eds. Planetary Astrobiology. Tempe: University of Arizona Press, 2020.

Secco, Luigi, et al. Habitability of Local, Galactic and Cosmological Scales. arXiv:1912:01569.

Smith, Howard A. The End of Copernican Mediocrity: Zoe Imfeld and Andreas Losch, eds. Our Common Cosmos. London: Bloomsbury, 2018.

Waltham, David. Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional. New York: Basic Books, 2014.

Webb, Stephen. If the Universe is Teeming with Aliens-- Where is Everybody? New York: Springer, 2015.

Ambrifi, Alessandro, et al. The Impact of AGN Outflows on the Surface Habitability of Terrestrial Planets in the Milky Way. arXiv:2203.00929. Into 2022 Vergata University of Rome and Florida Institute of Technology exophysicists including Arnedeo Balbi and Manasvi Lingam can quantify and report how such energetic emissions across the parsecs could be another factor which can influence living, evolutionary systems.

Active galactic nuclei (AGN) are accompanied by winds and emission which may reach 10 percent the speed of light. Here, we describe how AGN winds can heat atmospheres and drive their escape, which forms nitrogen oxides which cause ozone depletion. Our models estimate the maximal distance to which these deleterious effects are rendered significant for Earth-like planets, and show that this value may extend to ≲1 kpc. In the case of quasars hosting larger supermassive black holes, such effects could actually influence the AGN host galaxy as a whole. (Abstract excerpt)

Anand, Rajagopal. Orbital Properties and Implications for the Initiation of Plate Tectonics and Planetary Habitability. arXiv:2202.10719. new findings pour in, an Indian Institute of Technology astrogeologist can look more deeply into our Earth life occasion and realize the vital role played by mobile plate tectonics. Thus another key factor is added to an extent that the paper closes with an Earth, the Unique Planet title.

The existence of plate tectonics on the Earth is directly dependent on the internal viscosity contrast, mass of the planet, availability of liquid water and an internal heat source. However, the initial and long term optimum conditions of rotational velocity and periodicity of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun must also have been significant for the inception of plate tectonics. Such an optimal condition for the rotational and revolutionary periodicities could be essential for the development of plate tectonics on the Earth. (Abstract excerpt)

In either case, these two events (moon formation and core segregation) have major implications for the initiation of plate tectonics and the emergence of life. Plate tectonics provided the essential ingredients in the form of a uniquely evolving atmosphere, hydrosphere and active geomorphology. The latter in turn provided sources and sinks for sedimentation processes that could circulate nutrients for organic evolution and contribute to the ultimate emergence of life forms as diverse as it is on the Earth. (2)

Angier, Natalie. The Earth’s Shell has Cracked, and We’re Drifting on the Pieces. New York Times. December 18, 2018. The popular science writer draws upon a Royal Society meeting about plate tectonics and Philosophical Transactions A issue from it (see Robert Stern herein for more) about how our home planet has been distinguished and enlivened by mobile continental forms over a billion years, while Venus and many other worlds have not. It is noted that this ancient surface balance of land and sea is vitally crucial for a planet to become habitable for life and evolution. She consulted with R. Stern (UT Dallas), Jun Korenaga (Yale), Aubrey Zerkle (St. Andrews, Scotland)), and others as this rare Earth crustal and oceanic interplay grows in significance.

This volume brings together contributions from the Royal Society Discussion Meeting on ‘Earth dynamics and the development of Plate Tectonics’ held in March 2018. Plate tectonics is not seen on other planets, so why does it occur on Earth, and when did it start? The nature of tectonics depends on initial conditions, mantle thermal states, and an ability to weaken the lithosphere to allow plate boundaries to form. Geodynamic models, rock deformation experiments, models for growth of the continental crust, and evidence from the rock record are consistent with the development of plate tectonics from a single-lid state. Major changes occurred in the geological record near the end of the Archaean, suggesting that plate tectonics had become the dominant gobal regime by the Proterozoic. Modern plate tectonics and the generation of stable continents were key events in the evolution of the biosphere on Earth, and similar tectonic processes could be crucial for the development of habitability of exoplanets. (Synopsis)

Armstrong, Stuart and Anders Sandberg. Eternity in Six Hours: Intergalactic Spreading of Intelligent Life and Sharpening the Fermi Paradox. Acta Astronautica. 89/1, 2013. The physicist Enrico Fermi famously asked in the 1950s that for a universe then thought to be rife with advanced civilizations, so “Where is everybody?” This question has been much debated since, a Wikipedia entry under its name provides a good survey. Here Oxford University, Future of Humanity Institute, philosophers contend that galactic travel and celestial reengineering are really not prohibitive, so once a world which did not destroy itself got unified and going, they should have formed evident reconstructions. But nothing like a “Dyson sphere” built by a civilization around its star has been seen. Even though Kepler satellite discoveries forecast some quintillions of earth-like bioplanets across galactic spacescape, the authors go on to allude that there may not be anyone else out there.

The Fermi paradox is the discrepancy between the strong likelihood of alien intelligent life emerging (under a wide variety of assumptions) and the absence of any visible evidence for such emergence. In this paper, we extend the Fermi paradox to not only life in this galaxy, but to other galaxies as well. We do this by demonstrating that travelling between galaxies – indeed even launching a colonisation project for the entire reachable universe – is a relatively simple task for a star-spanning civilisation, requiring modest amounts of energy and resources. We start by demonstrating that humanity itself could likely accomplish such a colonisation project in the foreseeable future, should we want to. Given certain technological assumptions, such as improved automation, the task of constructing Dyson spheres, designing replicating probes, and launching them at distant galaxies, become quite feasible. We extensively analyse the dynamics of such a project, including issues of deceleration and collision with particles in space. Using similar methods, there are millions of galaxies that could have reached us by now. This results in a considerable sharpening of the Fermi paradox. (Abstract)

The “we are the first/only civilization” explanation is also weakened from the expanded potential origin space: the likelihood of intelligent life must be reduced by many orders of magnitude compared to previous arguments. If this explanation is the true answer, the future is also far bigger than commonly thought; (post)humanity can expand over very vast distances and achieve very large populations in an otherwise empty and value-less universe. We may hence be obliged to safeguard the potential value of this vast future from risk to a far greater degree than is normally recognized. (12)

Arnould, Jacques. Astrobiology, Sustainability and Ethical Perspectives. Sustainability. 1/4, 2009. In this online journal which has become a home for authoritative writings about saving the planet, a CNES French Space Agency philosopher contends that an expansive panorama that views earth and human in the context of a conducive, life friendly cosmos could be of much utility and incentive.

Astrobiology, a new field of research associating the prospects and constraints of prebiotic chemistry, mineralogy, geochemistry, astrophysics, theoretical physics, microbial ecology, etc., is assessed in terms of sustainability through the scientific and social functions it fulfils, and the limits it encounters or strives to overcome. In the same way as sustainable development, astrobiology must also take into account the temporal dimension specific to its field of investigation and examine its underlying conception of Nature. (Abstract)

Bach-Muller, Nanna and Uffe Jorgensen. Orbital Eccentricity: Multiplicity Correlation for Planetary Systems and Comparison to the Solar System. arXiv:2010.10371. As exoplanet findings grow in number and variety, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen astroscientists can perceive another unusual aspect of our home orrery. With regard to most other systems with a few worlds, our 8 or 9 member planets as well as their relatively round orbit and even spacings is a quite rare confluence. As we post in late 2020 with our precious, precarious Earth beset by so many perils, this awesome significance grows in validity. See also Solid Tidal Friction in Multi-layer Planets by Emeline Bolmont, et al at 2010.04587.

The orbit eccentricities of the Solar System planets are unusually low compared to the average of known exoplanetary systems. A power law correlation has been found between the multiplicity of a planetary system and the orbital eccentricities of its components for systems above two worlds. In this study we investigate the correlation for an expanded data sample by way of planetary systems as units (unlike studies of individual planets). Our full survey contains 1171 exoplanets in 895 systems whence the correlation between eccentricity and multiplicity follows a clear power law. We find that Solar System orbits fit the general trend and suggest that the Solar System might not show uncommonly low eccentricities but rather more planets compared to a "standard" planetary system. Based on the power law correlation, we estimate that the probability of a system having 8 planets or more is of the order of 1%. (Abstract excerpt)

Balbi, Amedeo and Francesco Tombesi. The Habitability of the Milky Way during the Active Phase of its Central Supermassive Black Hole. Nature Scientific Reports. 7/16626, 2017. Vergata University of Rome astrophysicists add still another deleterious impediment due to excessive galactic radiations from the main galactic black hole which prohibit the long multi-million year span necessary for organisms to form, evolve and complexify.

During the peak of their accretion phase, supermassive black holes in galactic cores are known to emit very high levels of ionizing radiation, becoming visible over intergalactic distances as quasars or active galactic nuclei (AGN). Here, we quantify the extent to which the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way may have affected the habitability of Earth-like planets. We focus on the amount of atmospheric loss and biological damage suffered by planets exposed to X-ray and extreme ultraviolet radiation. We find that terrestrial planets could lose a total atmospheric mass comparable to that of present day Earth even at large distances from the galactic center. (Abstract excerpt)

Ballmer, Maxim and Lena Noack. The Diversity of Exoplanets: From Interior Dynamics to Surface Expressions. arXiv:2108.08385. The paper also appears in a special issue Geoscience Beyond the Solar System issue of Elements magazine (17/4, 2021). University College London and Free University of Berlin astroscientists extend exoworld studies so as to factor in effects of variable internal compositions upon relative habitability. Indeed it is found that over eons and eras their core to crust fluctuations could play a major role. See also Starting Life and Searching for Life on Rocky Planets by Paul Rimmer, et al (2108.04.08388) in the same edition.

The coupled interior-atmosphere system of terrestrial exoplanets remains poorly understood. Exoplanets show a wide variety of sizes, densities, surface temperatures, and interior structures, which all effect this coupled system. Many exoplanets could have a "stagnant lid" at the surface, with a rigid stationary crust, sluggish mantle convection, and minor volcanism. However, if exoplanets have Earth-like plate tectonics and tectono-magmatic activity, then these features may be critical for planetary habitability and have implications for the development (and evolution) of life in the galaxy. (Abstract)

Barnes, Luke. Testing the Multiverse: Bayes, Fine-Tuning and Typicality. arXiv:1704.01680. Reviewed more in Anthropic Principle, the University of Sydney astronomer (search) posts his presentation at a 2014 London Philosophy of Cosmology conference. As a coauthor with Geraint Lewis of A Fortunate Universe (2016), this entry discusses anthropic themes along with Bayesian “theory testing” methods for better iterations of “relative certainties or credences.” For this Greatest Earth section, it is wondrous that inquisitive, globally cognizant peoples can imagine whole cosmoses at all. With 400th anniversary events underway for Galileo, what can these expansive vistas from our moon to a multiverse ever portend? As latest currents seem to presage, human beings ought to have a significant purpose in the actual scheme of things.

Barnes, Rory. Tidal Locking of Habitable Exoplanets. Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy. 129/4, 2017. A University of Washington astronomer quantifies one more crucial condition as to whether a candidate orbital world could harbor living, evolving systems, or be prohibitively hostile to it. Since this Earth has been benign long enough to reach our global observation, its tidal regime, in accord with the moon and sun, must have been fortuitous. See also Niche Amplitude, Tidal Locking and Fermi’s Paradox and Evolutionary Exobiology II by David Stevenson in the International Journal of Astrobiology (Each online July 2018).

Potentially habitable planets can orbit close enough to their host star that the differential gravity across their diameters can fix the rotation rate at a specific frequency, a process called tidal locking. Tidally locked planets on circular orbits will rotate synchronously, but those on eccentric orbits will either librate or rotate super-synchronously. Lower mass stellar hosts will induce stronger tidal effects on potentially habitable planets, and tidal locking is possible for most planets in the habitable zones of GKM dwarf stars. These results suggest that the process of tidal locking is a major factor in the evolution of most of the potentially habitable exoplanets to be discovered in the near future. (Abstract excerpt)

Tidal locking is the name given to the situation when an object’s orbital period matches its rotational period. A great example of this is our own Moon. The moon takes 28 days to go around the Earth and 28 days to rotate once around it’s axis. This results in the same face of the Moon always facing the Earth. We see other examples of this in our solar system and universe. An extreme example is the case of Pluto and Charon. Charon is such a large satellite compared to Pluto that they are tidally locked together. (spaceanswers.com)

Batygin, Konstantin and Greg Laughlin. Jupiter’s Decisive Role in the Inner Solar System’s Early Evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112/4214, 2015. As the rush of Kepler satellite findings become assimilated, radical new understandings of near and far stellar-planetary topological and dynamical arrays are being realized. Here Cal Tech and UC Santa Cruz astronomers report another way that our home system is unusual because this gas giant served to sweep away an original phase of close in worlds that often wreak instabilities. A commentary in the same issue by Smadar Naoz notes that our “unique” arrangement is a “second generation” sequence. Along with nine planets in the same plane with circular orbits for over a billion years, it is dawning that we Earthlings abide in a rare, especially conducive, habitable zone.

The Solar System is an unusual member of the galactic planetary census in that it lacks planets that reside in close proximity to the Sun. In this work, we propose that the primordial nebula-driven process responsible for retention of Jupiter and Saturn at large orbital radii and sculpting Mars’ low mass is also responsible for clearing out the Solar System’s innermost region. Cumulatively, our results place the Solar System and the mechanisms that shaped its unique orbital architecture into a broader, extrasolar context. (Significance)

The statistics of extrasolar planetary systems indicate that the default mode of planet formation generates planets with orbital periods shorter than 100 days and masses substantially exceeding that of the Earth. When viewed in this context, the Solar System is unusual. Here, we present simulations which show that a popular formation scenario for Jupiter and Saturn, in which Jupiter migrates inward from a > 5 astronomical units (AU) to a ≈ 1.5 AU before reversing direction, can explain the low overall mass of the Solar System’s terrestrial planets. (Abstract)

Batygin, Konstantin, et al. Born of Chaos. Scientific American. May, 2016. Astrophysicists Batygin, Gregory Laughlin and Alessandro Morbidelli (search) write a popular article about the dynamic formation of the solar system and of our planet Earth just now being reconstructed, which all leads to an auspicious realization. In this post-Kepler satellite and worldwide collaborative era, it has been found that prolific arrays of orbital objects typically exhibit a contingent jumble of small rocky to giant gaseous planets in every which disordered location, especially close in to the host star. But our home solar community has a rare, well-spaced procession from one small Mercury to Venus, Earth and Mars onto larger outer worlds. Over its history, the planet Jupiter first moved toward the sun which cleaned out planetesimals and super-Earths, except for Mercury. It then tacked outward which led to further destructions or expulsions. See also Jupiter’s Decisive Role in the Inner Solar System’s Early Evolution by Batygin and Laughlin in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (112/4214, 2015) and the third quote.

In Brief: A wealth of new evidence from computer simulations as well as observations of planets throughout the galaxy is revealing new details of our solar system’s dynamic and violent history. The solar system’s configuration of small inner rocky worlds and large outer giants is anomalous in comparison with most other planetary systems, which have different architectures. (30)

Like strands of DNA, that on sequencing, reveal the story of humankind’s ancient migrations across the surface of our small planet, astronomical clues have permitted our computer simulations to reconstruct the planets’ majestic wanderlust during the solar system’s multibillion-year lifetime. From its birth in roiling molecular clouds, to the formation of its first planets, to the world-shattering growing pains of the Grand (At)Tack and the Nice (Cote d’Azur Observatory) model, to the emergence of life and sentience around at least one sun in the vast Milky Way, the complete biography of our solar system will be one of the most significant accomplishments in modern science—and undoubtedly one of the greatest stories that ever can be told. (37)

The Solar System is an unusual member of the galactic planetary census in that it lacks planets that reside in close proximity to the Sun. In this work, we propose that the primordial nebula-driven process responsible for retention of Jupiter and Saturn at large orbital radii and sculpting Mars’ low mass is also responsible for clearing out the Solar System’s innermost region. Cumulatively, our results place the Solar System and the mechanisms that shaped its unique orbital architecture into a broader, extrasolar context. (B & L Significance)

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