Plate tectonics aren’t absolutely required for life. However, they play a significant part by helping to keep the temperature of the planet in check. They also permit heat to escape from the core, which is vital since an excessive amount of heat in the center would restrict the protective magnetosphere that surrounds our planet. It’s conceivable that life can only exist on Earth where there are continents. The fluid mantle of the Earth allows the continents to “float” on top of it because the heat coming from the center of the globe prevents the blanket from becoming solid and pinning the continents down. However, a new study conducted by Jane Greaves, an astronomy professor at the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University in Wales, aims to improve the efficiency with which researchers look for planets that may support life.
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Therefore, the hunt for life and planets that are suitable for human habitation should focus mainly on rocky worlds that include plate tectonics. Our primary objective is to locate worlds that are divided into continents. Plate tectonics are what give rise to continents, and planets that have continents are able to maintain greater biomass for more extended periods of time than planets that do not. The temperature has a significant role in this. Assuming the center of a rocky world generates a sufficient amount of heat, then the planet most certainly possesses active plate tectonics. Furthermore, we are aware of the reason why the Earth’s core generates heat.
In order to figure out which planets may have continents, Reaves devised a method that involved determining which planets could have plate tectonics.
This is explained by the connection that exists between stars and the celestial bodies that develop around them. Planets are formed from precisely the same stuff that stars are, which may be found in the solar nebula. Therefore, the quantity of different compounds in a star will be mirrored in the planets that form orbiting that star.
Plate tectonics on Earth are estimated to have begun around 3 billion years ago, which is equivalent to approximately 9.5 billion years from the inception of the universe. According to Greaves’ research, the first continents emerged on thin disk stars two billion years before they did on Earth. Her research revealed that the thick disk stars generated stony planets with continents that emerged even earlier than Earth’s, around 4 billion to 5 billion years earlier.
There is an incredible amount of information included within all of this, and a single research is unable to compile all of it. The work of Greaves is an attempt to comprehend it from a broader perspective.