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

I. Our EarthMost Distinction: A Rarest Planetary Confluence of Life in Person Favorable Conditions

Pacetti,, Elenia, et al. The Impact of Tidal Disruption Events on Galactic Habitability. arXiv:2008.09988. University of Rome and Florida Institute of Technology astroresearchers including Amedeo Balbi and Manasvi Lingam add another impediment to planetary habitations by pointing out that perilous radiations which seem to suffuse far interstellar reaches will be deleterious in various ways to living systems. See also The Habitability of the Galactic Bulge at 2008.07586.

Tidal Disruption Events (TDEs) are characterized by the emission of a short burst of high-energy radiation. We analyze the cumulative impact of TDEs on galactic habitability using the Milky Way as a proxy. We show that X-rays and extreme ultraviolet (XUV) radiation emitted during TDEs can cause hydrodynamic escape and instigate biological damage. In particular, we show that planets within distances of ∼0.1-1 kpc could lose Earth-like atmospheres over the age of the Earth. We conclude by highlighting potential ramifications of TDEs and argue that they should be factored into analyses of inner galactic habitability. (Abstract)

To summarize, two broad conclusions emerge from this work. First, the cumulative negative impact of TDEs on habitability is comparable to that of Active Galactic Nuclei. Second, some fraction of planetary systems closer to the central black hole of the Milky Way may have been adversely affected. Our analysis suggests that TDEs might exert a substantive influence on planetary habitability. (5)

Panov, Alexander. Post-Singular Evolution and Post-Singular Civilizations. Grinin, Leonid, et al, eds. Evolution: A Big History Perspective. Volgograd: Uchitel Publishing, 2011. While not citing Ray Kurzweil’s technological version, within this evolutionary cosmos a Moscow State University physicist philosopher cites a central, transformative event, a “global biospheric revolution,” whence planetary life might finally rise and awaken to a consummate intelligence. At this ultimate moment, a worldwise civilization need be able to proactively achieve a common knowledge, mindfulness and peaceable allegiance to reign in machines and weaponry. If this half-way point can be successfully passed through, a second phase of a creative “Exo-humanism” future spreading across galaxy and cosmos can commence. See also in this volume The Noospheric Concept of Evolution, Globalization and Big History by Vasily Vasilenko.

It is shown that the ability of the world civilization to overcome a singularity border (a system crisis) determines some important civilization's feature in an intensive post-singular phase of development. A number of features of the post-singular civilization can stimulate its ‘strong communicativeness’, which is a prerequisite for the formation of ‘the galactic cultural field’. Post-singular civilizations – carriers of the cultural field – are considered as potential partners in interstellar communication and as our own potential future. (Abstract)

We proposed the scenario of post-singular evolution in which the leadership system is a post-singular civilization in intensive phase of development. A post-singular civilization is exo-humanistic and exo-humanitarian, one that is part of the galactic cultural field. The typical features of an exo-humanitarian civilization must be moral imperatives of exo-humanism and, apparently, a declining state of investigations with the classical scientific method, at least in the field of fundamental sciences. Such a civilization is communicative in the strong sense. It would not be overstating the case to say that, when establishing contact with such a civilization, we contact the wider cultural field and become an element of it. (228)

Paradise, Adiv, et al. Climate Diversity in the Habitable Zone due to Varying pN2 Levels. arXiv:1910.02355. As if we did not already have enough finely tuned conditions which serve to make this home habitable Earth so very special, here University of Toronto astrophysicists and a biologist point out that an optimum band and pressure of atmospheric nitrogen is another vital parameter. For our bioplanet, it nominally is 79% and 21% oxygen within a tight zone of a few percent either way. In addition this range which has remained relatively stable for millions of years.

A large number of studies have responded to the growing body of confirmed terrestrial habitable zone exoplanets by presenting models of various possible climates. However, the impact of the partial pressure of gases such as N2 has been poorly-explored, despite the abundance of N2 in Earth's atmosphere. We use PlaSim, a fast 3D climate model, to simulate hundreds of climates with varying N2 pressures, insolations, and surfaces to identify the impact of the gas partial pressure on the climate. We find that the climate's response is nonlinear and highly sensitive to this factor. We identify CO2 and H2O absorption lines, warming or cooling by the water vapor greenhouse positive feedback, heat transport, and more as competing mechanisms that determine the equilibrium climate. (Abstract excerpts)

Pearce, Ben, et al. Pearce, Ben, et al. Organic hazes as a source of life's building blocks to warm little ponds on the Hadean Earth. arXiv:2401.06212. Johns Hopkins University, University of Northern Iowa, and University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei cite a newly realized paleo-environment a half-billion years ago as another variable factor as life sought to complexify itself. See also Deep Beneath Earth’s Surface, Clues to Life’s Origins by Maya Wei-Haas in Quanta (Jan. 5, 2024).

Over 4 billion years ago, Earth is thought to have been a hazy world akin to Saturn's moon Titan. The organic hazes in the atmosphere could contain a vast prebiotic inventory, and may have seeded warm little ponds. In this work, we produce organic hazes in the lab atmospheres with high (5%) and low (0.5%) CH4 abundances. The ideal conditions for the delivery of life's building blocks from organic hazes would be when the Hadean atmosphere is rich in methane, but not so rich as to create an uninhabitable surface. (Excerpt)

Our results suggest that the ideal conditions for the origin of life would be when the Hadean atmosphere is rich in methane and producing lots of organic haze, but not so concentrated in CH4 that the surface becomes uninhabitable. Finding the exact value for this atmospheric methane concentration will require sophisticated climate modeling; however, our results suggest that 0.5% mabe a reasonable value to consider. (11)

Pilat-Lohinger, Elke. The Role of Dynamics on the Habitability of an Earth-like Planet. International Journal of Astrobiology. 14/2, 2015. In an Exoplanet issue, a University of Vienna astrophysicist reaches a notable conclusion about our own solar system. It seems especially conducive because the orbital planets all lie in the same plane, and have basically circular orbits. Such a relative stability over a long time period is most favorable for a suitable biosphere upon which life can evolve and emerge to a noosphere able to observe itself and a planetary neighborhood.

Prantzos, Nikos. A Probabilistic Analysis of the Fermi Paradox in Terms of the Drake Formula. arXiv:2003.04802. Two decades after his Our Cosmic Future book, the Institute of Astrophysics, Paris, research director provides a new update of this equation estimate of how many Earth-like worlds might exist. It is also cast another response to Enrico’s 1950s concern that no one actually seems to be there. An underrated factor may have been the lifetime duration of a technical civilization. This would have a major winnowing effect if they could not get their common act together so as to save their home bioworld. Based on our own terminal perils, this situation could imply that a decisive planetary self-realization and selection, indeed a sustainability singularity, is a critical. imperative step. In Prantzos’ expansive view, civilizations are seen to randomly come and go, some for a short period, others may be longer. Earth is not the first, nor the last, but at the present time is alone for these reasons.

In evaluating the number of technological civilizations N in the Galaxy through the Drake formula, emphasis is mostly put on astrophysical and biotechnological factors describing the emergence of a civilization and less on its lifetime L, which is strongly related to its demise. It is argued that this factor is in fact the most important regarding the practical implications of the Drake formula, because it determines the extent of the "sphere of influence" of any technological civilization. The Fermi paradox is then studied by way of a simplified Drake version through Monte Carlo simulations of N civilizations expanding in the Galaxy during their space faring lifetime. In that frame, the probability of "direct contact" is set as the fraction of the Galactic volume occupied collectively by N civilizations. The results are used to find regions in the parameter space where the Fermi paradox holds. (Abstract excerpt)

Provenzale, Murante, et al. Climate Bistability of Earth-like Planets. arXiv:1912.05392. Eleven astroscientists from Torino to Trieste report that our own world seems to have passed through both colder, icy states and warmer, watery times. By these findings, this prior occasion appears as dual climatic options, depending on relative levels of energetic forcings. And as noted, such dynamic shiftings may play a serious role as evolutionary organisms may proceed on their course.

About 500 million years ago, our planet seems to have experienced snowball conditions, with continental and sea ices covering a large fraction of its surface. This situation points to a potential bistability of Earth's climate, that can have at least two equilibrium states for the same external solar radiation forcing. Here we explore the probability of bistable climates in earth-like exoplanets, and the properties of planetary climates obtained by varying the semi-major orbital axis, eccentricity, obliquity, and atmospheric pressure. To this goal, we use the Earth-like surface temperature model (ESTM) to provide a climate estimator for parameter sensitivity and long climatic simulations. An intriguing result of the present work is that the planetary conditions that support climate bistability are remarkably similar to those required for the sustenance of complex, multicellular life on the planetary surface. (Abstract excerpt)

Pruss, Susan and Benjamin Gill.. Life on the Edge: The Cambrian Marine Realm and Oxygenation. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. 52, May, 2024. As scientific analyses probe ever deeper and the Abstract describes, Smith College and Virginia Tech geoscientists scope out another ajar opening that life had to squeeze through. Again it is just the right oxygen level so fauna and flora could breathe but not burn up.

The beginning of the Phanerozoic saw two biological events that set the stage for all life that was to come: (a) the Cambrian Explosion of marine invertebrates and (b) the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE). Here, we examine current understandings of aqueous environments from the late Ediacaran which spans this important interval. Through a review of geochemical, mineralogical, sedimentary, and fossil records, we argue that the period sustained low and variable oxygen levels that led to animal extinction along with biodiversification. Therefore, marine ecosystems existed on the fine edge between enough oxygen to sustain them and the terminal risk of endemic stressors that could overwhelm them. (Abstract)

Quarles, Billy, et al. Obliquity Evolution of Circumstellar Planets in Sun-like Stellar Binaries. arXiv:1911.08431. We add this report by Georgia Tech and NASA astronomic researchers including Jack Lissauer because it broaches another vicarious variable which could influence for better or worse life’s chances to evolve and reach global abilities to retrospectively perceive realize this reality.

Changes in planetary obliquity, or axial tilt, influence the climates on Earth-like planets. In the solar system, the Earth's obliquity is stabilized due to our moon which causes small amplitude variations beneficial for advanced life. Most Sun-like stars have at least one stellar companion and the habitability of their exoplanets is shaped by these pairings. We show that a stellar companion dramatically effects whether an Earth-like obliquity stability is possible. We present a new formalism for the planetary spin precession that accounts for orbital misalignments between the planet and binary. Thus, Earth-like planets likely experience much larger obliquity variations, with more extreme climates, unless they are in specific favorable states. (Abstract excerpt)

Ramirez, Rodrigo, et al. New Numerical Determination of Habitablility in the Galaxy. International Journal of Astrobiology. Online March, 2017. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and Instituto de Estudios Avanzados de Baja, California astrophysicists finesse quantifications of the relative galactic and cosmic occurrence of planetary life. While rudimentary organisms may likely proliferate, a global evolution of technological civilizations may be less common and hardly detectable.

Raymond, Sean. Sculpting Our Planetary System. American Scientist. September-October, 2018. In an issue on the many ways that Big Data/AI methods are bringing new capabilities to astronomical studies, a Laboratoire d’ Axtrophysique de Bordeaux researcher describes a novel, quite chaotic picture of how orbital worlds and solar systems form and evolve. Our familiar, orderly array, which was long taken as a norm, now seems a rare benign state as we learn about a usual crush of super-Earths, gas giants and rocky worlds in wildly shifting transits. See also by Formation of Terrestrial Planets by Raymond and Andre Izidoro at arXiv:1803.08830 and The Excitation of a Primordial Cold Asteroid Belt as an Outcome of the Planetary Instability by their group (1808.00609). The issue contains many entries from computations and astrochemistry to gravity waves and exoplanets.

The discovery of thousands of planets orbiting other stars has given us three surprising insights about our Solar System. First, we are weird: Our Solar System is a 1-in-2,000 rarity. Second, planet formation is a dynamic process, characterized by large-scale orbital drift as well as violent collisions and the ejection of young planets into interstellar space. Lastly, the second point may explain the first one—that is, how our Solar System formed is likely the root cause of our weirdness. (280)

Raymond, Sean, et al. Solar System Formation in the Context of Extra-Solar Planets. arXiv:1812.01033. Senior astrophysicists SR, University of Bordeaux, Andre Izidoro, Sao Paulo State University and Alessandro Morbidelli, University of Nice (search each) post a strongest analysis to date that our home Earth-Sun spatial and temporal array seems to be a rarest long term orderly, benign, conducive milieu for life to evolve and develop to a personsphere intelligence able to reach this auspicious conclusion. At the cusp of 2020, here is an incredible finding in our midst with implications for the fate and future not only of a geonate EarthKinder, but on to a self-chosen Ecosmos.

Exoplanet surveys have confirmed one of humanity's worst fears: we are weird. If our Solar System were observed with present-day Earth technology -- to put our system and exoplanets on the same footing -- Jupiter is the only planet that would be detectable. The statistics of exo-Jupiters indicate that the Solar System is unusual at the ~1% level among Sun-like stars (or ~0.1% among all stars). But why are we different? We argue that most Earth-sized habitable zone exoplanets are likely to form much faster than Earth, with most of their growth complete within the disk lifetime. Their water contents should span a wide range, from dry rock-iron planets to water-rich worlds with tens of percent water. Jupiter-like planets on exterior orbits may play a central role in the formation of planets with small but non-zero, Earth-like water contents.

We present three models for inner Solar System formation -- the low-mass asteroid belt, Grand Tack, and Early Instability models -- each invoking a combination of migration and instability. We identify bifurcation points in planetary system formation. We present a series of events to explain why our Solar System is so weird. Jupiter's core must have formed fast enough to quench the growth of Earth's building blocks by blocking the flux of inward-drifting pebbles. The large Jupiter/Saturn mass ratio is rare among giant exoplanets but may be required to maintain Jupiter's wide orbit. The giant planets' instability must have been gentle, with no close encounters between Jupiter and Saturn, also unusual in the larger (exoplanet) context. Our solar system is thus the outcome of multiple unusual, but not unheard of, events. (Abstract)

The discovery of extra-solar planets demonstrated that the current Solar System-inspired paradigm of planet formation was on the wrong track. Most extra-solar systems bear little resemblance to our well-ordered Solar System. While the Solar System is radially segregated, with small inner rocky worlds and more distant giant planets, few known exo-systems follow the same blueprint. Models designed with the goal of reproducing the Solar System failed spectacularly to understand why other planetary systems looked different than our own. (1)

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