New Study Upends the Idea of 'Habitable Zone' Planets

A thought-provoking new study suggests that planets which scientists once considered to be ideal locations for alien life may not be so friendly after all. Produced by a team of researchers at the University of California at Riverside and published today in an astrophysics journal, the project looked at planets said to reside in what astronomers call the 'habitable zone.' This designation, which is also colloquially called the 'Goldilocks zone,' means that the world is close enough to a star to possess liquid water and, ostensibly, some kind of lifeforms.

However, upon closer inspection, the researchers at UC Riverside determined that there are additional factors which must be taken into consideration when it comes to these planets, specifically toxic gasses. They explain that within the range of what would be considered the 'habitable zone' are a number of worlds in which possessing liquid water would require "tens of thousands of times more carbon dioxide than Earth has today" and, as such, complex creatures such as humans and animals could not survive there.

More on this story, including why it may not be such a bad thing when it comes to finding alien life, at the Coast to Coast AM website.

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