The Apple Of God's Eye

October 9, 2009

The Earth: The Only "Goldilocks" Planet!

Mixing astronomy and fairy tales isn’t commonly done, but scientists studying the “Goldilocks Zone” may have found the perfect spot, and it’s right in our back yard. It’s a spot in space that’s inhabitable to life forms — not too hot and not too cold — just right!

Many scientists are now realizing that the factors required for a civilization to exist are almost impossibly complex – and must be exceedingly rare, even in a universe as incomprehensibly vast as ours. Consider the following facts and how perfectly aligned they had to be to even entertain the notion of life. Then realize how foolish it is to believe that life on earth came from nothing:

The Earth

  1. Is the perfect distance from both the sun and moon to have a stable, predictable orbit. Twenty four hour days ensure the earth’s entire surface is properly warmed and cooled daily.
  2. It is the perfect size and mass. If it were less dense, an atmosphere wouldn’t form and remain. If it were more dense, the atmosphere would be uninhabitable. As it is, our atmosphere allows just the right amount of radiation to keep us warm, but not kill us.
  3. Earth’s metal core produces a magnetic field that protects the surface from radiation from space. Radioactive heat from the core, mantle and crust creates plate tectonics necessary for life.
  4. Humans need 27 elements to live. Earth has just the right mix of them.
  5. Earth has just the right amount of water in the proper ratios of liquid, solid,  and gas. A little more and the continents would be drowned. A little less and the planet would probably be too hot to host life.

The Moon

  1. The mass ratio of the moon compared to the earth is 50 times greater than that of any other known moon-planet combination. Yet it is the perfect size to stabilize the tilt of earth’s rotational axis. Without our moon, the tilt of our planet would vary from zero to 85 degrees, producing catastrophic climate changes.
  2. The gravity of the moon creates tidal movement. Thus, ocean waters do not stagnate – they clean the waters on the coasts from toxins and enrich them with nutrients. Yet these massive ocean movements never spill over across the continents.
  3. The ocean currents also regulate climate by circulating enormous amounts of heat.

The Sun

  1. Most stars (2/3 to 3/4 of them) are found in groups of two, three, four and more. If we had more than one sun, it would make life far less stable on earth because of erratic gravitational effects, and/or possible dangerous eruptions of tidal gas passing between the stars.
  2. 95% of all stars are less massive than the sun. A smaller, less dense sun would mean we’d have to be much closer to it to stay warm. The tidal locking would create synchronous rotation – where the same side of the earth always faced the sun. Thus, half the planet would freeze.
  3. It has the perfect luminosity. Because it is a yellow star, its energy lies mostly in the visible part of the light spectrum – not even 10% of its energy is ultraviolet. If it was much hotter, producing mostly ultraviolet light, life would be impossible. If it was a small red star, the supply of visible light would be inadequate.
  4. The sun’s size and distance from earth creates stable temperature fluctuations that allow the earth’s water to remain in perfect balance among its three phases: liquid, solid and gas.

Solar System

  1. Giant planets act as “comet and asteroid catchers.” Their gravity cleans up our solar system of space junk that might otherwise collide with earth. Cosmic collisions can cause mass extinctions.
  2. Our solar system is unusually rich in metal content, necessary for advanced life.

Cosmic Location

  1. Evidence suggests that elliptical galaxies lack enough elements heavier than helium to host advanced life. Spiral galaxies like ours have enough.
  2. Within the Milky Way, we sit in the “galactic habitable zone,” – far enough from the center that we’re not killed by radiation, but close enough that sufficient heavy elements needed for life are present.
  3. We’re nowhere near dangerous star clusters, quasars, nebulae, neutron stars, or supernovas.
  4. Real estate brokers often say the key to property value is location, location, location. If this principle applies to the cosmic scene, earth’s location would be considered way beyond prime. The earth appears to reside in the only neighbourhood in the universe where human life can exist and thrive long enough to enjoy a global, high tech civilization and to discover how rare they are.

For decades, scientists have been debating the conditions needed to replicate an Earth-like probablility of complex beyond the microbial level. We now know that the number of planets in our own galaxy alone could easily tally in the hundreds of billions. Astrobiologist vainly cling to the faint hope that a number of these could be carpeted in the  chemistry we call life, thus proving that life on Earth may be unique, but not miraculous.

Well, good luck because as I’ve shown, there needs to be an exceedingly (and almost impossible) complex host of conditions present for such a scenario. This cannot happen by fiat, nor can it be sustained. Yes, scientists will keep looking, but they won’t find a penny’s worth of evidence otherwise.

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