TNRTB Archive – Retained for reference information
British astronomers uncovered more evidence that the solar system possesses unique characteristics for the support of life. They discovered that our solar system probably formed by a completely different process than the one responsible for the 108 extrasolar planets detected so far. They point out that the detected extrasolar planets condensed out of the same gaseous material from which their parent stars arose, a process that would not be conducive to the formation of small rocky planets. The solar system planets, on the other hand, formed through the agglomeration of pebbles into large rocks, which then coalesced into planetesimals, which later aggregated into rocky planets. Even the solar system’s gas giant planets (e.g. Jupiter or Saturn) differ from the detected extrasolar planets in that large rocky cores formed first and then attracted thick atmospheres of gas. Thus, evidence continues to accumulate that the solar system is far from typical. The more we learn about extrasolar planets, the stronger becomes the evidence that our solar system is uniquely and supernaturally designed for life.
- M. E. Beer et al., “How Special Is the Solar System?” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, (2004), in press.
- Philip Ball, “Earth-Like Planets May Be More Rare Than Thought,” Nature, 30 July, 2004, doi:10.1038/news040726-14
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