Saturday, February 16, 2013

If Mars had women

By Donald Sensing

Well, okay, forget what Mars would be like if it had women and consider what it would be like if it had a dense, oxygen-rich atmosphere and oceans:

The cutline is worth pondering. Despite the breathless announcements that astronomers have found another "Earthlike planet," in fact exactly zero have been found in the galaxy. More accurately, there are Earth-size planets, but size is not very high is the ranking of characteristics that make a planet potentially habitable. Density matters more than size since density determines mass and mass determines gravity.

No, there are no other known Earth-like planets. Even from almost 4 billion miles away, Earth is recognizably a pale blue dot.

Large amounts of liquid water is probably the most important factor in what would make a planet earthlike, but even the Earth has less water in total than you might think.

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