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Key elements make stars cooler, better for life

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by GoodGame, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/07/scienceshot-for-lifes-evolution-.html?ref=hp


    Credit: NASA/Kepler Mission/Dana Berry



    Basically the elemental composition of a solar system affects the rate at which the central star goes through its lifespan, affecting the amount of time planets have to evolve life before changes in the star affects the habitable zone's size/location in the solar system.

    Interesting that carbon, sodium and magnesium mentioned are either common components or nutrients in life.

    Do you think this indicates that life throughout the universe (if present) may tend to be made of the same building blocks?
     
  2. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    Here's the abstract:

     
  3. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Retired Moderator

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    I think so, yes. There are only so many elements, and they all have the same chemical and electronic properties - this should (in my layman's mind) constrain the possible paths the evolution of life might take.

    Will any non-terrestrial life be DNA/RNA based? I strongly doubt that. I suspect it's that's a legacy of the contingent history of evolution (first chemical, then biological).

    I do, however, suspect that the first life we encounter elsewhere in the solar system will be familiar. I think it's highly likely that early impacts on earth scattered enough early life into the solar system that some of it is probably got a foothold on, say, Mars or the moons of Jupiter. It's stunning to think that the Earth spent at least 2.5 billion years with nothing but simple-life-stew on it.
     
  4. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    I think it makes sense that the highest likelihood of finding planets we could use or planets with life would be around stars similar to the Sun. Stars that form in the absence of any atoms by hydrogen will probably be large because they will take longer to ignite, but then will burn much faster.
     
  5. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    I'd agree that there's nothing to the OP finding to suggest specific macromolecules of life, just the key elements.
     
  6. Earth AD 2754

    Earth AD 2754 Erþō, Ertho, and Earth

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    I never knew that carbon, silicon, magnesium, and sodium can slow down the evolution cycle of stars. And I never knew the amount of oxygen determines how long planets stay in the stars habitable zone.
     

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