Which came first: life or habitability?

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by paddoboy, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    The quest for inhabited habitable planets:

    Which came first: life or habitability? Although this question seems at first sight contradictory, a new paper by Colombian researchers is bringing to the attention of astrobiologists a classical conundrum: Is life also required for habitability? On Earth it is almost a matter of fact that in the same way as habitable conditions on our planet are mandatory for life, the existence of life could also be determinant at making our world permanently habitable. And, if this is the case for Earth, it should be also for other inhabited habitable planets elsewhere. Consequently, if our goal is to find life in the Universe, we should not exclude life itself when predicting on which planets it could thrive

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-06-quest-inhabited-habitable-planets.html#jCp
     
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  3. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    There are thousands of different life forms on Earth. Many of them live deep in the ocean,on volcanos , in forests and in the desert. They adapt to their environment so they can live their ways.
     
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  5. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    Depends on what you mean, is it required for ANY life or for us. If it's any life then no, life needs habitability to start because otherwise there won't be any life. For example there had to be water and the other conditions for the anchent colonies of bacteria to survive which created the oxygen, who's build up and modification in the atmosphere became the ozone layer which meant life could come out of the oceans.
     
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  7. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

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    Life did make Earth permanently habitable, algae and other green plants were around early on and created the free oxygen. I don't know so well, but I think there may have been anaerobic bacteria and viruses as well.

    I thought your point was going to be that perhaps other planets have life radically different from our own. Like if life forms can thrive at deep ocean vents, maybe it can arise in all sorts of conditions hostile to our sort of life. Maybe, Jupiter, for instance, has life that arose that loves the heat, pressure and atmospheric content there that would die instantly in a pastoral Earth meadow on a sunny day. Maybe there is even life that depends on the weird orbits of some of the exoplanets discovered that alternately swing in close to their parent star(s) and far back out again. The extreme elliptical of life, rather than the circle of life. Who can say?

    I looked at the article , and I see what they are saying, but couldn't it also be true, as I am supposing that life (pre-life) is more capable than we imagine and can arise in conditions we would not think were possible?
     
  8. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

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    In the article you have cited, Prof. Zuluaga says, "Contrary to abiotic processes, living systems contain and maintain impressive amounts of information that give them unparalleled regulatory capabilities." Isn't that just an egghead way of saying people build houses? Foxes have dens, and birds have nest?
     
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. Generally speaking though, and to align with current knowledge, when astrobiologists/physicists talk of ETL, they are talking of life as we know it........
    Life "as we don't know it", is also a possibility albeit an unknown one.
     
  10. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

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    As has been discussed on this forum, we can't even tell for sure if dolphins or octopi are intelligent. It may just be their intelligence is of a different order that we don't get. I know we are discussing life in general, not necessarily intelligent life, but I say that because while, say, deep sea vent worms at first glance may not even seem to be living creatures, I am, perhaps irrationally, supposing that if we encountered alien life, we would immediately recognize it as such even if it were great gelatinous globs with sense organs we didn't even know the purpose of, floating around in boiling hot ammonia (for example).
     
  11. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Just Released:
    """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
    Two planets orbit nearby ancient star
    53 minutes ago"


    An international team of scientists, led by astronomers at Queen Mary University of London, report of two new planets orbiting Kapteyn's star, one of the oldest stars found near the Sun. One of the newly-discovered planets could be ripe for life as it orbits at the right distance to the star to allow liquid water on its surface.


    Based on the data collected, the planet Kapetyn b is at least five times as massive as the Earth and it orbits the star every 48 days. This means the planet is warm enough for liquid water to be present on its surface. The second planet, Kapteyn c is a more massive super-Earth and quite different: its year lasts for 121 days and astronomers think it's too cold to support liquid water.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-06-astronomers-ancient-worlds-galaxy-door.html#jCp
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    No. I think he's talking about the "information" that's stored in DNA and in the systems inside organisms, including our species. He probably also refers to the information that's stored in the interaction of social organisms like bees and humans--those are systems too. For that matter, so are the systems comprised of predator and prey, or parasite and host, or symbiotic systems like sharks and remora.
     

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