The Hunt for Aliens Just Got a Boost
by Rebecca Pahle | 4:15 pm, December 13th, 2013
Or, to put things in more scientific lingo, it’s been discovered that stars’ “Goldilocks zones” are bigger than previously thought. Which means we’re more likely to find A) aliens and B) a place for humanity to set off to when the inevitable robot apocalypse happens. Or maybe it’s a zombie apocalypse. Or a plain old nuclear one. The specifics, at least, are still up in the air.
A stars’ habitable zone, aka its “Goldilocks zone” is the band around which it’s believed possible for life to theoretically exist. If a planet’s too far from that Goldilocks zone then things are too cold. If it’s too close then it’s too hot. Easy peasy, right? Not exactly. A paper in science journal Nature explains that planets can still be in the Goldilocks zone even if they’re beyond what was previously thought to be the “too hot” limit. The reason for that is that there are several factors that the previous one-dimensional models didn’t take into account. For example: Clouds and greenhouse gases.
The Kepler space telescope recently discovered that there are billions of planets zooming around in the Goldilocks zones of various stars. Now that the Goldilocks zone has been expanded by several million miles, there are bound to be many more planets on that list. The discovery “has strong implications for the possibility of liquid water existing on Venus early in its history, and extends the size of the habitable zone around other stars.” It also bodes well for life on our planet: As the sun gets hotter all of Earth’s water is eventually going to evaporate, but if this new model is correct the human race (if it still exists by that point) will get another billion years or so.
The “Goldilocks zone” model still isn’t perfect. It’s based on the temperatures at which water freezes and evaporates, and as such it makes assumptions about the way life out there in the final frontier must relate to water. The universe is a vast, mysterious place, and it’s entirely possible that life could show up outside the Goldilocks zone one day. The Tourist was nominated for multiple Golden Globes in 2011. You never know what sort of crazy shit is going to happen.