More than 70 percent of our planet's surface is covered by water. To some this may seem excessive, but a new study makes a supposition that our world is in this respect a truly unique and unique as you would think. The fact that the most habitable exoplanets are likely to be true water worlds, where the water will take up 90 percent of the entire surface. And although the primitive marine life, such conditions are likely to Paradise, to developing civilizations that would be a real curse.
These findings are submitted on the pages of the latest issue of the magazine "Monthly notes of the Royal astronomical society". Using a computer model, astronomer Fergus Simpson from Institute of space Sciences at Barcelona University have calculated that the habitable exoplanets are likely to be covered with water. In most cases, this water will take up 90 percent of the entire surface of these planets.
These results suggest that the Earth with its vast land tracts is a unique cosmological phenomenon, so to find a true twin of our planet may be much more complicated than we thought. Moreover, this may also be to some extent an explanation of why we still have not made contact with intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations. It should be noted that a similar idea has been already submitted in the framework of the so-called hypothesis of a unique Land, according to which sampletable planet to allow complex organisms are extremely rare for this Universe.
this picture shows the relationship of all water (blue) to the size of the planet. To some it may seem far-fetched, but in fact the surface of our planet is relatively flat
Simpson, in his work indicates that the planet must meet a certain balance, to have vast land masses and vast oceans. In this case, the factors controlling this balance are: the volume of water available on the planet, the space where the water can be contained and the presence of dynamic topographic features, ranging from huge ocean basins and ending ridges. If the depth of the oceans is relatively small, and the height above sea level will be low, in this case, the excess water will cover most of the rest of the planet's surface. Our planet has topographical features, which allow only about 29 percent of the land area to remain above sea level. This ratio has remained relatively stable for a very long time, which allowed to appear and grow terrestrial animals, including us.
A Study by Simpson reveals that the Earth is in the background of his models is truly the exception to the rule. The model insists that these sampletable habitable planets located in the so-called habitable zones (allowing the water to retain its liquid form on the surface of planets) of their stars, the majority will be submitting water worlds. Moreover, if we consider our planet more closely, it turns out that our world is very far gone from being completely covered with water.
Of Course, all these findings should not be taken at face value if only because they are based not on observations of real scopename, but rather represent the essence of the most fresh ideas and insights on planetary formation.
"I'm a little puzzled by this article", — said astrophysicist Sean N. Raymond, who did not participate in the study.
"I find this study interesting, but I find it hard to interpret. We still remains a lot of important questions that have no answer."
Important in the overall task is to answer the question about where all taken from water on the planets. Disputes on this subject are still, but the most convincing hypothesis in this regard at the moment associated with asteroids and comets. Most scientists believe that these space objects brought water to Earth. If so, then to calculate the probable volume of water on other planets will be almost impossible. In this case, you will at least need to know the average volume of water delivered to our planet. Even if it somehow manages to do it still does not solve the problem, because each star system the number of asteroids and comets, not to mention the volumes of water contained in, there will always be very different. To calculate all this would be impossible.
"In the "classical model" of the formation of the terrestrial planets, the volume delivered to the Ground water is a random figure, so it is easy to imagine that hypothetical in another Land, this amount can be ten times more or ten times less," — says Raymond.
"I would also Like to add that under the new models, the amount of supply water on the Ground could be less than indicated in other models. A fundamental role is played here by the rather quantitative, not qualitative delivery of water — comets and asteroids brought her to us often, but in smaller amounts".
Raymond here alludes to the conclusions made on the basis of observations that show that in the inner reaches of the Solar system contains less water than in the external.
"In my opinion, water worlds can only exist outside the so-called line of permafrost", — is connected to the discussion on Adam Sarafian, graduate student of Department of studying the Earth, atmosphere and planets at the Massachusetts Institute of technology.
"This line of permafrost appeared in the earliest stages of the emergence of the Solar system, in fact until the formation of the planets. Beyond this line, water will always remain in the solid state in the form of ice. Hence, observations showing that in the outer borders more water than domestic. Therefore, one would expect the presence of aquatic worlds on the outer reaches of the Solar system, rather than internal, where there are relatively dry planet."
In the discussed study, Sarafian did not participate in the moment, trying to figure out why on Earth so much water, and how she got here.
"Recent data indicate that in the internal boundaries of the Solar system water came very early, so Mars might really look like Earth (partially covered with water) soon after formed", — says Sarafian.
"the Interest of the study of planets closer to the Sun, above, because a star provides enough energy for life and allows water on the surface remain in the liquid state. Monitoring of permafrost is a different case. One ice and darkness".
But there are other factors to consider when deciding on how the Earth was and is able to contain so much water. For example, it would be worthwhile to find out whether there is a relationship between ocean depths and the ocean bottom interact with the earth's mantle. It is possible that our planet has some truly unique features, making some of its water basins as deep. To clarify all the details would have to conduct a separate study on this topic.
Simpson, in turn, said that took into account some of these factors in the models takes into account the deep-water cycles, erosion and deposition (that is, the processes by which sediments and soil are added and form the total weight of the land). But despite this, the models still show that water on the inhabited planets should be more than sushi. Interestingly, some simulations have shown that planets with small oceans, land masses will in the majority of cases is covered by deserts, while the large sampletable planet is almost always presented in the form of aquatic worlds.
"the Big planets can be more prone to flooding for two reasons. First, if the weight ratio of the water and land masses would be the same, it is likely that the planet will have a deep oceans. Second, the stronger the planet is gravity, the harder it will be to hamper the processes that change its topographical diversity. Therefore, the water will not meet serious obstacles for further distribution across the surface of the planet," — says Simpson.
If Simpson's conclusions are correct, then, most likely, this means that our planet has somehow found the perfect balance between land and water. In the future it may even help us to understand why our civilization has been able not only to receive but also to evolve on Earth. Among scientists there is an opinion, according to which the development of highly advanced and high-tech civilizations is hardly possible in worlds like ours, and our planet in this respect, too, is an exception to the rule. Too many exceptions for the sake of one small blue ball, is not it? By the way, Simpson in his work also reflects the selective work of the anthropic principle, according to which, in short, the universe has a certain optimal organization (primarily on the basic principles) the appearance of the person. Here you have another reason to call the Earth is unique because if it were not, we would not be here.
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