While we cannot understand life on Earth without water, according to the examples we have in some exoplanets, too much water on a planet is hostile for life. And that might have been the case of Earth, also, according to a new study. According to the scientists, an ancient supernova saved the Earth from drowning in its own water.
At the moment, until astronomers spot an Earth-like exoplanet, our world is the only one that possesses both life and water covering the most of the land. That’s also a strong theory in the hunt for alien life forms – where is water, there has to be life. But according to recent studies, that’s not always true.
Too much water is hostile to life, as we could see in some exoplanets that the scientists spotted in the deep Universe, such as the TRAPPIST-1 planets. “Currently we have only an extremely limited understanding whether such worlds can develop life as we know it,” said Tim Lichtenberg from the University of Oxford, and the leading author of the new study.
Ancient Supernova Saved The Earth From Drowning In Its Own Water
The new study focused on radioactive metals, believed to have been a crucial component in turning the Earth into a habitable world, but not directly, as you may think. In reality, 4.5 billion years ago when the Sun just formed, a nearby ancient supernova populated our solar system and its planetesimals with radioactive aluminum-26.
It seems that aluminum-26, that was brought here by an ancient supernova, dehydrated the protoplanets in our solar system. Earth was already rich in water, so the presence of aluminum-26 only reduced the water, paving the road to life on Earth to develop. On the other hand, according to the computer simulations the scientists ran in their new study, most of the known exoplanets poor in aluminum-26 became ocean planets, being hostile to life.
“I am interested in the main factors that control whether a growing protoplanet can emerge as a potentially habitable world that is conducive to life as we know. We will need to learn so much more in order to come closer to an understanding of how many planets similar to Earth are out there in the galaxy,” added Tim Lichtenberg.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.