Universe Today Podcast

Episode 639: Waterworlds. Can There Be Life Without Land?

March 12th, 2020  •  10 mins 16 secs  •  Download (9.4 MB)  •  Link with Timestamp

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One of the longstanding questions astronomers have had is, are we normal? Is our Solar System a template for what we might expect to see as we look out into the Milky Way at other star systems?

As the data continues to come in, the answer to that question really seems to be no, we’re not normal. Star systems seem to have a huge variety of planets orbiting them. Familiar planets like our own terrestrial, gas and ice worlds. But then there are also super earths, mini-neptunes, hot jupiters.

And it looks like there are planets, located in their star’s habitable zone, which are completely covered with liquid water. Like, oceans which are dozens and maybe even hundreds of kilometers deep.

What would it be like on one of these worlds, and of course, we always want to know, could they be habitable?