Asteroid Belt Oasis

A new theory suggests that an asteroid belt, positioned at just the right place in a planetary system, can help promote the development of life. In order for life as we know it to evolve, a planet must have some water and the organic, carbon based building blocks that form the needed chemical stew.

There is a region in our Solar System known as the “snow line” or “frost line”. It marks the point where frozen ice can be melted and dissipated by energy from the Sun. Whether or not ice particles are available has an affect on how planets form. The four planets inside our frost line are smaller and more rocky, while outside the line, larger, wetter, gas giants form.

Asteroid belts may be formed by a disruptive influence from a large gas giant that prevents the material from forming into a planet, keeping it dispersed as a belt of debris. This belt of debris offers a source of water and can serve to stir the evolutionary environment on smaller planets such as our Earth.

Our asteroid belt may be a rare oasis of survival supplies that can both threaten our extinction and push our evolution forward. One of the next steps in our evolution as a species is to move out into the asteroid belt.

Asteroid Belts at Just the Right Place are Friendly to Life – [nasa.gov]

Solar systems with life-bearing planets may be rare if they are dependent on the presence of asteroid belts of just the right mass, according to a study by Rebecca Martin, a NASA Sagan Fellow from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and astronomer Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.

They suggest that the size and location of an asteroid belt, shaped by the evolution of the sun’s planet-forming disk and by the gravitational influence of a nearby giant Jupiter-like planet, may determine whether complex life will evolve on an Earth-like planet.

How Planets Form – [colorado.edu]

Summary: The terrestrial planets formed close to the Sun where temperatures were well suited for rock and metal to condense. The jovian planets formed outside what is called the frost line, where temperatures were low enough for ice condensation.

SEE ALSO:
Life in the Asteroid Belt
Freedom in Space
Kardashev Scale Meets Fermi Paradox

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