Criteria for habitable planets and implications for Earth
What makes a habitable planet? The Triple Helix Online has a very interesting write-up on the subject:
The search for extraterrestrial life has always been one of our greatest fascinations with the universe, and there is no better time to be fascinated than now. With the advent of newer technology, the search for habitable planets has recently been successful in identifying planets that could possibly harbor life, even if it may exist in the form of microbes.
The question of the definition of a “habitable” planet is fundamental in understanding the requirements for life to exist on Earth. There is a frightening number of criteria that must be fulfilled in order for simple microbes to survive on a planet, and even more limiting criteria for intelligent life. The magnetic fields, the direction of the orbit, the position of the planet and even the presence of a moon are all essential characteristics of a habitable planet like Earth.
What are the other criteria according to science? How successful has this search been in actually finding an Earth-like planet? And what can we do when we do find such a planet?
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