Lone wolf planets able to support subglacial ocean life?

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marcus
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Unusual paper:
http://arxiv.org/abs/1102.1108

Some planets get ejected from their systems and wander off into interstellar space.
The authors investigate what would be needed for such a planet to remain able to support ocean-floor life for a protracted period on the order of a billion years.
 

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  • #2
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Not that unusual. David Stephenson, Martyn Fogg and even Ernst Opik have all speculated on such objects. The new paper is merely an extension of their prior studies and quite an interesting one - ice-locked oceans can exist on planets as small as 0.3 Earth masses, given an insulating blanket of CO2 snow.
 
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  • #3
FtlIsAwesome
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I've heard of this idea before.

So basically, the planet is heated from its interior.

Could sentient life live on such a world, or would it be unlikely?
 
  • #4
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I've heard of this idea before.

So basically, the planet is heated from its interior.

Could sentient life live on such a world, or would it be unlikely?
It's really hard to know. For our kind of life it needs oxygen, sources of which will be hard to find - high energy particles striking ice, photolysis and photosynthesis being the only reasonable sources. But we only know our kind of life.
 
  • #5
Chronos
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It is hard to imagine photosynthesis on such a planet and that is the principle source of oxygen on earth. There is no known abiogenic process that could produce significant amounts of oxygen. Perhaps a very slow metabolism could be sustained in a low oxygen environment - or perhaps based on some other oxidizing agent such as chlorine. Few such organisms are known to exist on earth. Oxygen based life forms have a distinct competitive edge on earth and tend to crowd out the competition.
 
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If the planet has a sufficient internal heat source then perhaps though extremely unlikely.

Even if the Earth lost the Sun, I'd think there would be sufficient internal heat that volcanic vents or something similar could support life until the Earth cooled enough.
 
  • #7
FtlIsAwesome
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An alternate scenario would be where an ejected jovian planet, not neccesarily a brown dwarf, had a moon and the jovian radiated heat to the moon in addition to the moon's interior heat source.
 
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Unwavering, unconditional belief in inevitable abiogenesis followed by inexorable evolution tends to make the the term "totally impossible" under certain conditions a bit irrelevant. Extremely unliklely, and highly improbable, yes, but totally impossible no. Especially when the infinite universe/multiple universes, limitless time and infinite dimensions are conveniently evoked.
 
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  • #9
FtlIsAwesome
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Unwavering, unconditional belief in inevitable abiogenesis followed by inexorable evolution tends to make the the term "totally impossible" under certain conditions a bit irrelevant. Extremely unliklely, and highly improbable, yes, but totally impossible no. Especially when the infinite universe/multiple universes, limitless time and infinite dimensions are conveniently evoked.
I'm not sure I get what you're saying. We were simply talking about if a planet without a star could have lifeforms on it.
 
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I'm not sure I get what you're saying. We were simply talking about if a planet without a star could have lifeforms on it.

And i responded by saying that certain assumptions appear to make the emergence of life almost anywhere inevitable. Isn't their life on the ocean floor which doesn't need light? It lives via chemical reactions (chemosynthesis) close to subaquatic volcanic sulfur-disgorging vents. In fact, one of our solar system's Jovian moons is suspected of having the same vents and is considered a strong candidate for such a type of life. Neither does a rogue planet without a star have to be internally cold since heat can be generated in such sub glacial oceans via gravitational stress as it circles another much denser planet that might be accompanying it on its journey. So once it's assumed that the right conditions spontaneously lead to life, a sunless rogue planet doesn't appear as such a big obstacle. That's what I'm saying.

Exotic Underground Bacteria Thrive On Radiation Rather Than Sunlight
http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20060919234956data_trunc_sys.shtml


Life as We Didn't Know It
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast13apr_1/
 
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  • #11
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Your initial statement wandered off into the usual Creationist argument over biogenesis that it's a matter of belief Radrook, which is kind of off-putting. Any particular reason why?
 
  • #12
FtlIsAwesome
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Wikipedia has a short article on interstellar planets http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_planet" [Broken]. At the end it lists several rogue planets that appear in fiction, though the fiction isn't always accurate.
It has a link to a 1998 article by David Stevenson on habitable rogue planets.
http://www.gps.caltech.edu/uploads/File/People/djs/interstellar_planets.pdf [Broken]


Wikipedia
A study of simulated planet ejection scenarios has suggested that around five percent of Earth-sized planets with Moon-sized moons would retain their moons after ejection. A large moon would be a source of significant geological tidal heating.
Thus rogue planets with satellites can be warmer, and therefore more habitable. This also applies to tidally-heated moons of rogue planets.


Speculating on the aspects of such lifeforms, if they had any sense of sight at all they would focus on far infrared rather than the visible spectrum.


I find this sentence interesting.
arxiv.org/abs/1102.1108
The ability of a rogue planet to
support life is of interest as a sort of pathological example of planetary habitability....because
such a planet could be the closest source of extrasolar
life for exploration by humanity in the distant future.
 
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  • #13
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Your initial statement wandered off into the usual Creationist argument over biogenesis that it's a matter of belief Radrook, which is kind of off-putting. Any particular reason why?

Can you please specify how my initial statement was a religious one?
 
  • #14
FtlIsAwesome
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Habitable interstellar planets with an alternate heat source - dark matter.
http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1103/1103.5086v1.pdf [Broken]
 
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  • #15
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Habitable interstellar planets with an alternate heat source - dark matter.
http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1103/1103.5086v1.pdf [Broken]
Depending on the nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy and the sub-glacial biosphere of free-floating planets might last 100 billion trillion years...

A biotic cosmos demystified?
 
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  • #16
FtlIsAwesome
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Something I'd like to add:

Planets of lone blackholes could be very similar to rogue planets, and may be habitable by either or both of the methods presented in this thread.

A stellar-massed blackhole outputs a tiny amount of energy due to Hawking radiation, this has little effect on orbiting objects. The only way a planet could be affected would be due to tidal forces, which could provide a source of heat; though the orbit would circularize eventually (or the planet get torn apart if it orbits within the Roche limit).



An alternate scenario would be where an ejected jovian planet, not neccesarily a brown dwarf, had a moon and the jovian radiated heat to the moon in addition to the moon's interior heat source.
Now thinking about that, the heat radiation from a jovian would probably be negligible.
 
  • #17
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One issue with planets around black holes: As I understand it, the hot host star goes via a long red giant phase to supernova. This is probably bad for nearby planets and their volatiles. I suppose that there might be something left of a distant jovian but then, with the star's mass loss, will the jovian remnant remain in orbit ??
 
  • #18
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One issue with planets around black holes: As I understand it, the hot host star goes via a long red giant phase to supernova. This is probably bad for nearby planets and their volatiles. I suppose that there might be something left of a distant jovian but then, with the star's mass loss, will the jovian remnant remain in orbit ??
Good question. If the supernova blows away most of its mass in one explosion, then all the planets would be unbound. If the mass-loss happens slowly, then escape is slightly more difficult. Planets can also form from the materials blasted into space, though what would remain bound to the star is hard to estimate.

Very high mass stars can implode directly into black-holes and they might retain planets.
 
  • #19
FtlIsAwesome
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One issue with planets around black holes: As I understand it, the hot host star goes via a long red giant phase to supernova. This is probably bad for nearby planets and their volatiles. I suppose that there might be something left of a distant jovian but then, with the star's mass loss, will the jovian remnant remain in orbit ??
This ~2 1/2 month old thread raised the question of blackholes having planets.
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=459998
It has one of my early posts in it, I think less than my 10th post.
In the thread was a link to an axiv paper; a revision of this paper has been published. To see the revised version simply replace v1 with v2 in the URL.
 

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