(TMU) — The idea that there is no “Planet B” has long been a slogan for environmentalists trying to convey the gravity of the unfolding ecological catastrophe on our planet, but new research could render the mantra moot as scientists have revealed that exoplanets may exist in the universe that are capable of supporting abundant life-forms—and they could, in fact, be more hospitable a home than Earth.
Researchers have released a new study revealing the “surprising conclusion” that “conditions on some exoplanets with favorable ocean circulation patterns could be better suited to support life that is more abundant or more active than life on Earth,” according to geophysicist Stephanie Olson of the University of Chicago.
And while these exoplanets are so distant from our own solar system as to render it impossible to reach them with space probes, scientists are working on new remote sensing tools such as telescopes that would allow us to better understand what condition are actually like on these planets which may have the ability to support life on a scale unknown on our own planet.
Scientists have long estimated that roughly 35 percent of all known exoplanets larger than Earth are likely to be rich in water.
“NASA’s search for life in the Universe is focused on so-called Habitable Zone planets, which are worlds that have the potential for liquid water oceans,” Olson said.
What is an #exoplanet?
Planets that orbit around other stars are called exoplanets. Exoplanets are very hard to see directly with telescopes. So how do we look for Earth-like planets in other solar systems? pic.twitter.com/A5HMNZVhUq
— NASA Space Place (@NASAspaceplace) August 16, 2019
Continuing, she explained:
“Our work has been aimed at identifying the exoplanet oceans which have the greatest capacity to host globally abundant and active life. Life in Earth’s oceans depends on upwelling (upward flow) which returns nutrients from the dark depths of the ocean to the sunlit portions of the ocean where photosynthetic life lives. More upwelling means more nutrient resupply, which means more biological activity. These are the conditions we need to look for on exoplanets.”
Olson’s team modeled a number of different types of exoplanets using ROCKE-3D software designed by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) to create simulations of planetary bodies with their own unique climates and ocean habitats.
The research discovered that those planets with thicker and more dense atmospheres, slower rates of rotation, and the presence of continents all created higher upswelling rates. Olson noted:
“A further implication is that Earth might not be optimally habitable—and life elsewhere may enjoy a planet that is even more hospitable than our own.”
The research, which was presented as a keynote lecture at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Congress in Barcelona, Spain, serves as a reminder that life is always more common than “detectable” life that lies in plain sight, Olson said. In the future, scientists should “should target the subset of habitable planets that will be most favorable to large, globally active biospheres because those are the planets where life will be easiest to detect—and where non-detections will be most meaningful,” she added.
Chris Reinhard of the Georgia Institute of Technology commented:
“We expect oceans to be important in regulating some of the most compelling remotely detectable signs of life on habitable worlds, but our understanding of oceans beyond our solar system is currently very rudimentary. Dr. Olson’s work represents a significant and exciting step forward in our understanding of exoplanet oceanography”.
Equipped with the knowledge contained in the study, scientists can now devise the best means through which to detect these new planets teeming with life. Olson concluded:
“Now we know what to look for, so we need to start looking.”
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.