A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘extraterrestrial life

[LINK] “Was Venus the first habitable planet in our solar system?”

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The Guardian‘s Hannah Devlin reports on new models of Venus’ environment which suggest this world was very broadly Earth-like well into the history of solar system. This is tantalizing, not least because of the prospects for life.

Its surface is hot enough to melt lead and its skies are darkened by toxic clouds of sulphuric acid. Venus is often referred to as Earth’s evil twin, but conditions on the planet were not always so hellish, according to research that suggests it may have been the first place in the solar system to have become habitable.

The study, due to be presented this week at the at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Pasadena, concludes that at a time when primitive bacteria were emerging on Earth, Venus may have had a balmy climate and vast oceans up to 2,000 metres (6,562 feet) deep.

Michael Way, who led the work at the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, said: “If you lived three billion years ago at a low latitude and low elevation the surface temperatures would not have been that different from that of a place in the tropics on Earth,” he said.

The Venusian skies would have been cloudy with almost continual rain lashing down in some regions, however. “So while you might get nice sunsets you would have mostly overcast skies during the day and precipitation,” Way added.

[. . .]

Way and colleagues simulated the Venusian climate at various time points between 2.9bn and 715m years ago, employing similar models to those used to predict future climate change on Earth. The scientists fed some basic assumptions into the model, including the presence of water, the intensity of the sunlight and how fast Venus was rotating. In this virtual version, 2.9bn years ago Venus had an average surface temperature of 11C (52F) and this only increased to an average of 15C (59F) by 715m years ago, as the sun became more powerful.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 19, 2016 at 9:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • blogTO notes that 1975 was a formative year for Toronto.
  • Centauri Dreams speculates about the oceans of Pluto and Saturn’s Dione.
  • Crooked Timber talks about Hannah Arendt’s arguments about the importance of bearing testament.
  • D-Brief looks at the cnyodont, an extinct reptile ancestral to mammals.
  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of Patti Smith.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze suggests that K-class dwarf stars are best for life.
  • Language Log looks at a merging of Wu and Mandarin Chinese on signage.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on how supply chains can hide corporations from responsibility.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes an American court ruling to the effect that barring Syrian refugees is unconstitutional discrimination.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on collapsing life expectancy in many Russian regions, looks at Russia’s withdrawal from the plutonium agreement with the United States, and criticizes American policy towards Belarus and Lukashenka.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that Toronto has its first Ethiopian food truck.
  • Beyond the Beyond considers the alien ocean of Europa.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the protoplanetary disks of brown dwarfs.
  • D-Brief notes that Saturn’s moon Dione may have a subsurface ocean.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze looks at how broadly Earth-like exoplanets form their atmospheres.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog wonders about the benefits of praising failure, as a sign of risk-taking.
  • Far Outliers notes how the English village became an imaginary eden.
  • Language Log looks at a Hong Kong legislator’s Sanskrit tattoo.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes one man’s upset with the announcement that Wonder Woman must have a bi past.
  • The LRB Blog considers controversy over electoral boundaries in the United Kingdom.
  • The Map Room Blog links to some maps showing the continuing divisions of post-reunification Germany.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at the limit of Danish “hygge”, coziness.
  • Seriously Science looks at the surgeries performed on fish.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • D-Brief notes the apparent discovery by Hubble of water plumes from Europa.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper noting different solutions to the mystery of Boyajian’s Star.
  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of deserted Pripyat in Ukraine.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that 80% of Chicago police dashcams were disabled by the police.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money and Noel Maurer respond to the American presidential debate.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes that Europa is crying for exploration.
  • pollotenchegg maps electoral polarization in Ukraine in 2004.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the official Russian stances on the country’s demographic issues.
  • The Signal links to the Library of Congress’ online collections.
  • Torontoist reports on waterfront litter.
  • Towleroad shares the complaints of Mykki Blanco that gay hip hop stars are not given a chance for stardom.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how the Circassians of Syria are denied a chance to return to their ancestral homeland in Russia.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • The Big Picture shares photos of motorbike racing in South Africa.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the stellar weather that planets of red dwarf stars might encounter.
  • Dead Things looks at two genetic studies which complicate the narrative of humanity’s spread.
  • Dangerous Minds shares the infamous anti-disco night of 1979 that spelled the end of the genre in North America.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers how one makes a home among strangers.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the UKIP MP claims the sun is responsible for the bulk of the Earth’s tides not the moon, and reports on a Kentucky judge who says gays ruined straight men’s ability to hug.
  • Language Log looks at changing patterns of language usage in Japanese.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money mocks the cosmic perspective of Gary Johnson.
  • The LRB Blog reports from devastated Lesbos.
  • Maximos62 maps the smoke from this year’s Indonesian fires.
  • The NYRB Daily shares vintage photos from mid-1960s Cuba.
  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on a recent tour of NASA facilities.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on a call for a single Circassian alphabet, suggests a Russian initiative to use sufism to unite Russian Muslims will end badly, and argues that Russian criticism of language policy in post-Soviet countries is linked to geopolitics.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • The Dragon’s Gaze looks at Proxima Centauri b, its atmosphere and its geomagnetics and its history and, of course, its potential habitability.
  • The Dragon’s Tales wonders about the origins of Titan’s channels.
  • Torontoist notes mental health care issues for those without a family doctor.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes European Union rulings on linkage.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the poor position of local recruits in the Donbas republics’ militaries.

[FORUM] What do you think about Proxima Centauri b?

I’ve been excited by the apparent discovery of Proxima Centauri b, reporting the first rumours of the world’s discovery and then sharing (among other things) two news round-up posts.

My excitement is well-justified: In a best-case scenario, Proxima Centauri b could be as close to being an Earth-like world as we could reasonably imagine. It could be a second Earth, even home to life. If it’s not, then it would still be of note as the closest extrasolar planet, a world worthy of study. It would certainly make a tempting target for our first interstellar probes. Proxima Centauri b, whatever it is exactly, is a world that matters.

What do you think? Are you excited for reasons I share? Are there things that get you going? Do you not care much, or at all?


Written by Randy McDonald

August 28, 2016 at 11:59 pm