General, Research, Technology

What is the Goldilocks Zone?

We have discovered hundreds of exoplanets in the galaxy. But only a few of them have the right combination of factors to sustain life, like Earth. The weather forecast for most exoplanets is disappointing. The scorching sun, annual floods and deep snow significantly complicate the life of local residents (if they are, of course, available).

The bad news is that planet Earth isthe only livable place in the whole universe, as far as we know. As a species, we are interested in the habitability of other planets for a number of reasons, political, financial, humanitarian and scientific. We want to understand how our own climate is changing. How we will live in the climate of the future and what we can do to stop the growing wave of the greenhouse effect. After all, a little more and heavenly while the Earth will be hopelessly lost.

We are hardly seriously concerned about the search for cleanenergy sources or we will persuade politicians to deal with climate issues to the detriment of financial benefits. The question is much more interesting: when will we see aliens?

Habitable zone, also known asThe “Goldilocks zone” is the region around the star where the average temperature of the planet allows liquid water to exist, which we are so accustomed to. We hunt for liquid water not only for future use, but also to find a guideline: perhaps there may be a different life somewhere. Is it logical?

The problems outside this zone are pretty obvious. If it is too hot, the medium will become an unbearable steam bath, or it will break water into oxygen and hydrogen. Then, oxygen will combine with carbon to form carbon dioxide, and hydrogen will escape into space.

This happens to Venus. If the planet is too cold, the water forms solid pieces. Pockets with liquid water may be under the crust of ice, but by and large it is not the most pleasant place to live. We found this on Mars and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. And if you can roughly determine the potentially habitable zone, then this is the place where liquid water could exist.

Unfortunately, this equation consists not only ofdistance to the star and the amount of energy generated. The atmosphere of the planet plays a serious role. You will be surprised, but Venus and Mars are in the potentially habitable zone of the solar system.

The atmosphere of Venus is so thick that it holds the energy of the Sun and creates an unfavorable furnace for life, which will melt any hints of life faster than you say "two cups of tea to this gentleman."

On Mars, everything is completely opposite. The subtle atmosphere cannot retain heat completely, therefore the planet is very cold. Improve the atmospheres of both planets - and get worlds that can well shelter life. Perhaps we could push them together and mix the atmosphere? Need to think.

When we look at other worlds of the Milky Way and try to understand whether there is life there, it is not enough just to assess their location in the Goldilocks zone. We need to know the shape of the atmosphere.

Astronomers have found planets located ininhabited areas around other stars, but apparently, these worlds are not particularly located for life. They revolve around red dwarf stars. In principle, living in a reddish glow is not so bad, but there is one problem. Red dwarfs tend to behave very badly in their youth. They give rise to powerful flashes and coronal mass ejections. This cleans the surface of any planet that is too close.

True, there is some hope. After several million years of high activity, these red dwarf stars calm down and begin to suck their hydrogen reserves with a potential of trillions of years. If life can last long enough in the early periods of a star’s existence, a long happy life can be expected.

When you are thinking of a new home among the stars or trying to find a new life in the Universe, look for planets in a potentially habitable zone. But do not forget that this is a very conditional landmark.