Friday, January 24, 2014

Looking For A 'Superhabitable' World? Try Alpha Centauri B, Says Astrobiology Journal

The search for extraterrestrial life extends far beyond Earth's solar system, looking for planets or moons outside the "stellar habitable zone" that may have environments even more favorable to supporting life than here on Earth. 

These superhabitable worlds have unique characteristics and are ideal targets for extrasolar exploration, as described in a provocative Hypothesis Article in Astrobiology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Astrobiology website.

In "Superhabitable Worlds" René Heller, McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) and John Armstrong, Weber State University (Ogden, UT), propose how tidal heating can create conditions in which life could emerge on an icy or terrestrial planet or moon once thought to be uninhabitable.

Astrobiology, led by Editor-in-Chief Sherry L. Cady, Chief Scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and a prominent international editorial board comprised of esteemed scientists in the field, is the authoritative resource for the most up-to-date information and perspectives on exciting new research findings and discoveries emanating from interplanetary exploration and terrestrial field and laboratory research programs. The Journal is published monthly online with Open Access options and in print, and is the Official Journal of the Astrobiology Society. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Astrobiology website.
Credit: © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

"A great place for hydrothermal microorganisms and a volcanic eruption in the weather forecast every morning and evening," says Norman Sleep, Senior Editor for Astrobiology and Professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University, "a tidally heated planet would be unpleasant though spectacular to visit."

Contacts and sources:
Vicki Cohn
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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