Oceans are the great climate modifier here on Earth. And according to new research, oceans are an important building block to support life on Earth-like planets. In a paper published in Astrobiology, a team of researchers from the University of East Anglia looked at the need for oceans to stabilize the climate.
In a statement released to the press, David Stevens, a professor at UEA’s School of Math and Environmental Sciences, talked about the findings. “The number of planets being discovered outside our solar system is rapidly increasing. This research will help answer whether or not these planets could sustain alien life. We know that many planets are completely uninhabitable because they are either too close or too far from their sun. A planet’s habitable zone is based on its distance from the sun and temperatures at which it is possible for the planet to have liquid water.”
A panel last week convened by NASA said that finding life on another planet is highly likely. They are just waiting for the telescope technology to get us to that point of discovery. Some have put the timeframe in as little as two decades. Here’s hoping they are right and the life is intelligent.
NASA already has the means to discover bodies of water on various planets and moons. Stevens talked about the role of oceans and the ability our own oceans have in controlling our climate.
“Oceans have an immense capacity to control climate. They are beneficial because they cause the surface temperature to respond very slowly to seasonal changes in solar heating. And they help ensure that temperature swings across a planet are kept to tolerable levels. We found that heat transported by oceans would have a major impact on the temperature distribution across a planet, and would potentially allow a greater area of a planet to be habitable.”
The hope is the new telescopes find the answers scientists want. Life on other planets. Now all we need is legitimate space ships to get us to any possible new homes. One can dream.