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Mega-Volcanoes Might Be Detectable On Exoplanets

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the already-planning-a-discovery-channel-series dept.

NASA 67

astroengine writes "Could we detect a huge volcanic eruption on an exoplanet 30 light-years from Earth? Possibly, say scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. What's more, there may be an opportunity for us to spot the ashy pollution ejected into the exoplanetary atmosphere when NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is launched in 2014. According to Discovery News, this would be a huge discovery if an Earth-like world was found to have active volcanoes: 'A geologically active terrestrial planet may be more suitable for life. It recycles crust, unleashes greenhouse gasses, opens new environmental niches, and generally provides a dynamic environment for advantageous life forms.'" According to a related story at the BBC, we should soon be able to detect the presence of oceans on distant worlds as well. The JWST will be able to resolve the reflection of light off an ocean's surface from 20-30 light-years away.

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would be nice (2)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 4 years ago | (#33536736)

if we could detect dinosaurs

Re:would be nice (4, Funny)

mandark1967 (630856) | about 4 years ago | (#33536758)

Have you seen Abe Vigoda lately?

Re:would be nice (2, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 4 years ago | (#33536850)

Is he on an Exoplanet?

Re:would be nice (1)

scosco62 (864264) | about 4 years ago | (#33536866)

Leave Abe alone, man....might as well pick on Betty White

Re:would be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33537070)

Leave that old bitch out of this, man.

Re:would be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33537158)

Hey, show some respect to that dead, hot piece of GILF ass.

Re:would be nice (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | about 4 years ago | (#33537330)

GILF?

Try "Mitochondrial Betty". She just confirmed that "Eve" is her middle name.

Re:would be nice (1)

baKanale (830108) | about 4 years ago | (#33541230)

Why, is he dead again?

Re:would be nice (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | about 4 years ago | (#33537744)

if we detect the presence of split-crotch panties and perhaps some hot stewardesses.

Re:would be nice (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 4 years ago | (#33543948)

would be nice ... if we could detect dinosaurs

I don't know about you, but I look out of the window and I can see a black, white, orange and red dinosaur sitting on top of a street light and shitting onto my car.

Does that count as a detection?

Only a handful of prospects?! (3, Informative)

rwa2 (4391) | about 4 years ago | (#33536740)

Hmm, according to the map of the universe I have hanging on my cube ( http://www.astro.princeton.edu/universe/ [princeton.edu] ) there are just over a dozen stars closer than 30 light years (~9 parsecs). Yeah, that fact is noted in TFA as well.

Oh, well, it's a start... there are quite a lot of stars in the 100parsec range if they can somehow refine their technique. Or maybe just move the JWST closer to the galactic center?! ;-)

Re:Only a handful of prospects?! (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#33537048)

there are just over a dozen stars closer than 30 light years (~9 parsecs)

Yeah, and everybody knows that Vulcan has no oceans, so I'm not entirely sure what the excitement is all about ;)

Re:Only a handful of prospects?! (2, Insightful)

Rolgar (556636) | about 4 years ago | (#33538198)

According to Wikipedia's, there are 65 stars in 50 systems within 5 parsecs: Link. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Only a handful of prospects?! (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 4 years ago | (#33538762)

Ooh, thanks... that's a sweet map of the neighborhood!

Re:Only a handful of prospects?! (1)

ChatHuant (801522) | about 4 years ago | (#33539366)

Ooh, thanks... that's a sweet map of the neighborhood!

Try here [atlasoftheuniverse.com] for a really cool representation of the universe

Yo Mama Is So Fat (4, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 4 years ago | (#33536788)

That's she's detectable on exoplanets.

Re:Yo Mama Is So Fat (4, Funny)

GPLDAN (732269) | about 4 years ago | (#33537052)

Yo Mama's so ugly the Borg refused to assimilate her.

Re:Yo Mama Is So Fat (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 4 years ago | (#33537088)

Yo mama is so nasty she pop Methanethiol [wikipedia.org] Tic Tacs.

Re:Yo Mama Is So Fat (1)

tool462 (677306) | about 4 years ago | (#33538916)

Yo Mama's so fat she assimilated the Borg.

Re:Yo Mama Is So Fat (1)

trytoguess (875793) | about 4 years ago | (#33540678)

You mean your mama's so stupid. The Borg only care about what's on the inside. They're the ultimate socialists.

Yo Mama Is So Fat (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 years ago | (#33537896)

Yo Mama Is So Fat that you can detect her by the deviation of her sun's motion.

Re:Yo Mama Is So Fat (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 4 years ago | (#33542342)

That's she's detectable on exoplanets.

Still didn't stop ya for doing her.

Greenhouse gasses (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 4 years ago | (#33536896)

"unleashes greenhouse gasses"

Why, those un-green astronomers! Obviously exoplanets are responsible for global warming!!!

Re:Greenhouse gasses (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#33537060)

Don't worry, I'm sure the Exoplants have at least one ex-politician that flies around in a private jet lecturing everybody else about their carbon footprint ;)

Earth's naturally frozen (1)

mangu (126918) | about 4 years ago | (#33538954)

Earth would have remained a frozen snowball 650 million years ago if not for volcanism busting the surface ice apart. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Cambrian Explosion of multi-celled life forms soon followed.

If it weren't for greenhouse gases, earth would be frozen solid. But there have existed geologic periods when the concentration of greenhouse gases was so high that there was no ice anywhere on earth.

That goes to show how delicate equilibrium we have, a little bit more or less of those gases is enough to cause wide variations of temperature. Better be cautious.

You'd be surprised (1)

needs2bfree (1256494) | about 4 years ago | (#33536934)

how much energy is in a beam of light.
Prot.

seriously (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 4 years ago | (#33536990)

im a pretty scientifically minded person, but i think anything with more than one 'mega' or 'exo' needs to be reported exclusively by Carl Sagan...you know...for effect.

Re:seriously (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33537122)

He's dead, Jim. [wikipedia.org]

Re:seriously (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33537390)

Excuses, excuses. Damn lazy zombies ruin everything.

Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33537062)

Seriously.

"A geologically active terrestrial planet may be more suitable for life."

There's just something mealy-mouthed and vaguely self-serving about that statement.

And I think it's in the "terrestrial" part. Because if you have the other 9,499 other ecological characteristics of a "terrestrial" planet, then ceteris parabis may apply to geological activity. But maybe there are other ways to get the things that volcanoes give you, and maybe you don't really need the things that volcanoes give you. Thinking they're necessary is overstating the butterfly effect of volcanoes on the suitability of planets to develop biospheres.

Although I have to admit, it's only the geological instability of the Earth that prevented it from being Snowball Earth for all eternity. The sun's light could have been reflected into space forever, but the magma didn't know or care that the entire planet was a glacier, it wanted out, and created enough ash to lower the Earth's albedo and raise the solar absorption and cause the global warming that gave us back our tropics and dog days. So, post hoc ergo propter hoc applies to our terrestrial planet, for one.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33537212)

But maybe there are other ways to get the things that volcanoes give you

You're looking at it backwards. It's not what volcanos cause, it's what causes volcanos -- plate techtonics.

In other words, ceteris parabis.

After this, therefore because of this, post hoc ergo propter hoc and ceteris parabis are completely unnecessary. There is nothing you can say in Latin that can't be said in English. Maybe next time you'll try to impress us with your fluency in Mandarin? Latin isn't going to impress many here at slashdot, son. If you try too hard to look smart we'll be convinced that you're not.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (0, Troll)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33537640)

Thanks for that advice, Biggus Dickus.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33537824)

Good to see you showing your true troll colors so openly.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33538848)

E pluribus unum: there can be only one anonymous coward.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33539484)

your gradeschool knowledge of latin impresses no-one, and demonstrates nothing. you are, and always have been, a low grade troll.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (0, Troll)

Coren22 (1625475) | about 4 years ago | (#33537986)

Did you just tell mcgrew he has a big dick...wow...

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33538354)

Did you just tell mcgrew he has a big dick...wow...

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#33537244)

I had to read your post to figure out what you were trying to say, but then I realized you don't knwo what Terrestrial planet means:
"Terrestrial planet , a planet that is primarily composed of silicate rocks"

Oh and just for kicks:
Jovian planets, not primarily composed of rock or other solid matter.

I hope the helps prevent further nonsense from you regarding this matter.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33538254)

Gaseous planets are pretty much 100% active so there's no inactivity to differentiate from the "geological activity". And I bet their geological activity makes it more likely they'll have life as well.

Which means there's no point to the "terrestrial" if all it means is "primarily rocky".

But if the word is only meant to differentiate rocky planets from gaseous ones, then my answer is "well no duh." When you otherwise have no features likely to support life, the environmental randomness emanating from geologic activity is going to be your best chance to induce life to form (vs, say, all the molecules forming inanimate crystals). But as the title of this thread implies, it's also got a good chance of stopping it from forming.

So maybe it's more to do with the type of geologic activity, and less with the existence of it.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#33539738)

Nice attempt to try and wiggle out of your stupidity, but ultimately it's a fail.

the quote is:
"A geologically active terrestrial planet may be more suitable for life."

As opposed to a terrestrial planet that ISN'T geologically active. That's the distinction that is being made. It's a correct and accurate statement.

Not the difference between all errestrial planet and Jovian planets.

I added the definition of Jovian simply because I thought it would be needed for someone who doesn't seem to know what "geologically active terrestrial planet " means.

Apparently I made the mistake of over estimating your capabilities. And for that, I am sorry.

|

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 4 years ago | (#33537288)

Thinking they're necessary

Who is saying that?

A geologically active terrestrial planet may be more suitable for life.

In other words, that statement not only isn't saying they are necessary, it's not even saying that they would help! Just that they might help.

I think you are trying way to hard to be argumentative.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33538038)

Well, that's the thing. They're not really saying anything. Not that it is or isn't more suitable, but that it may be. That's not science, it's just making conversation.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 4 years ago | (#33538790)

It's called "making a hypothesis". Coming up with new ideas, and trying to figure out ways of testing them is exactly what science is about.

As I said earlier, you're trying to hard. You're making a fool of nobody but yourself.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33538914)

Well, then, here's how you test it:

Determine the number of planets you'd need to find life on before you know that it's the geologic activity that determines whether the planet is or isn't more suitable, given that there are 9,499* other ecological characteristics that could be involved.

They might as well be hypothesizing whether it's the wand, the scar, the half-blood inferiority complex, or the receipt of constant hero-worship that gives Harry Potter his extra magical strength.

* - go ahead. Make fun of hyperbole.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 4 years ago | (#33539142)

As others have pointed out, the hypothesis states that the presence of volcanoes indicates geological activity. Geological activity can easily be shown to cause uncountable other phenomenon that can be shown to be essential to how life developed on earth. Earth is the only planet with life that we are able to study at this point. It is entirely reasonable to hypothesis that planets like earth are also able to sustain life.

Stop being wilfully dense, nobody finds it cute.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33539776)

Again, post hoc ergo propter hoc, and a fat helping of the weak anthropic principle.

It is entirely reasonable to hypothesis that planets like earth are also able to sustain life.

Wait. Did you just change "more suitable" to "capable"?

Here's the thing. We know that most of the planets and major moons in this solar system are geologically active.

How many of them harbor life?

And we get back to my statement that there are 9,499 other things involved.

Stop being wilfully dense, nobody finds it cute.

I'll take that as a childish non sequitur, because the premise is false, the conclusion is unfounded, and the purpose is to substitute pointless insult for rational argument.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 4 years ago | (#33541258)

Did you just change "more suitable" to "capable"?

No, I didn't. We know the Earth is capable of sustaining life. The moon does not sustain life and there is a good chance Mars doesn't either. Certainly not to the levels that earth does. Both of these bodies are more or less geologically dead. We have absolutely no indication that life can form on geologically inactive planets.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it's not a terribly unreasonable assertion that being geologically active might have something to do with it. Are there other factors? Of fucking course. Are some of them far more important? Undoubtedly, nobody has argued otherwise. Does any of this change that geological activity might have something to do with it? Hell no. The only assertion being made here is that it might have something to do with it. All of the science we have to date indicates that life seems to like relatively warm planets with atmospheres. It is trivial to demonstrate that temperature/atmosphere and geological activity are very related. Volcanic activity can be trivially linked to millions of the uncountable factors involved here (your '9,499' figure is laughably low).

Here's the thing. We know that most of the planets and major moons in this solar system are geologically active.

How many of them harbor life?

Completely irrelevant. Just because something can be made "more likely" doesn't mean that it is suddenly "likely" in the layman's sense of the term. Being geologically active could improve the odds from 1 in a billion to 1 in 100 million, but that still makes it "more suitable".

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it's not a terribly unreasonable assertion that being geologically active might have something to do with it. Is it the primary factor? Who knows, nobody is saying that it is. Are there other factors? Of fucking course. Are some of them far more important? Undoubtedly. Does any of this change that geological activity might have something to do with it? Hell no. The only assertion being made here is that it might have something to do with it. All of the science we have to date indicates that life seems to like relatively warm planets with atmospheres. It is trivial to demonstrate that temperature/atmosphere and geological activity are very related. Volcanic activity can be trivially linked to millions of the uncountable factors involved here (your '9,499' figure is laughably low, despite you foolishly thinking that was absurdly high).

In short, only an idiot would get try to start an argument over this. Hell, you've already demonstrated your stupidity by showing you didn't even know what terrestrial means, as was kindly pointed out by others. The more you try to weasel your way out of what you already said in a conveniently uneditable slashdot comment, the more you prove yourself an idiot. I believe we are through here.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33537448)

Although I have to admit, it's only the geological instability of the Earth that prevented it from being Snowball Earth for all eternity. The sun's light could have been reflected into space forever, but the magma didn't know or care that the entire planet was a glacier, it wanted out, and created enough ash to lower the Earth's albedo and raise the solar absorption and cause the global warming that gave us back our tropics and dog days. So, post hoc ergo propter hoc applies to our terrestrial planet, for one.

Blasphemer!!! Only people cause global warming not volcanic ash! How can you say such lies?! Haven't you seen "An Inconvenient Truth"?!! Bush Supporter!!!

Oh, wait, I get it now. "Magma" is a code word for G. W. Bush... sorry about the rant.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33537662)

Close. "Magma" is the oil industry. "Cocoa Puffs" is G. W. Bush.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

damburger (981828) | about 4 years ago | (#33537566)

Translation into plain English: Even if life-bearing planets need to be volcanically active, volcanically active planets are not necessarily life-bearing because there are other factors required.

You made a good enough point, but did you have to labour it so much? This is science, not postmodernism.

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33537688)

It was a critical deconstruction. I'm just not feeling pithy today.

Or maybe I am...

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33538668)

"A geologically active terrestrial planet may be more suitable for life."

There's just something mealy-mouthed and vaguely self-serving about that statement.

And I think it's in the "terrestrial" part.

Wow. That's an extra-ordinarily douche-baggy way of saying "that I don't understand".

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 4 years ago | (#33539350)

Thinking they're necessary is overstating the butterfly effect of volcanoes on the suitability of planets to develop biospheres.

Well good thing they didn't say volcanoes are necessary, then, isn't it? What they said is that they may make a planet more suitable, and more importantly they're saying we have a chance of actually being able to see them with the JWST.

There are many things that may make planets more suitable for life. Not many of them do we have a chance of seeing any time soon. Volcanoes are one of the ones where there's a chance. Surface oceans are another. It has nothing to do with "necessary". It has to do with "possible to find".

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33539658)

Why bring them up if you're not making them a necessity for the existence or suitability or prevalence or preference or low, low mortgage rates for life?

Why not say it this way:

If we can observe the incidental evidence of a major volcanic eruption on another planet, that suggests a methodology for finding the incidental evidence of a major biomass on another planet.

Why put in a causal relationship that may or may not be relevant, just to invoke the "we're not just looking at volcanoes (though as astrogeological geeks that's really all we care about), we're looking for life on other planets (because as astrogeological geeks we know we need that sort of sensationalism to sell our grant applications to funding authorities and to get the attention of a brain-dead public who just don't grok the coolness of astrogeology)"?

As I said. Seriously.

P.S. Would anyone like to critique my punctuation?

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 4 years ago | (#33540388)

Why bring them up if you're not making them a necessity for the existence or suitability or prevalence or preference or low, low mortgage rates for life?

In real life situations, observing indicator A can mean X is more likely, without implying "X only if A". Even if indicators B, C, and D are more important, if you can't observe them then they can't tell you anything. This is called "conditional probability", and it's means "conditional" based on knowledge. For example, there's a given probability that you will develop heart disease based solely on the overall frequency in the population. Knowing that your family does (or does not) have a history of heart disease will modify that probability*, but that history is neither necessary for you to develop heart disease, nor proof that you will. If you were orphaned at birth with no family records, that history can't be used to narrow down the risk you're at regardless that it's very significant.

So, why would scientists bring up a potential indicator of habitability that we may be capable of seeing, if they're not implying it is a necessity?

Because it's still useful, especially by virtue of being visible. Hopefully that's clear now.

Why not say it this way: If we can observe the incidental evidence of a major volcanic eruption on another planet, that suggests a methodology for finding the incidental evidence of a major biomass on another planet.

Because unfortunately this doesn't indicate any way of finding evidence of biomass on another planet. It only suggests a method for saying life is more likely on one planet vs another. That would give us another axis by which to prioritize planets to look at in the future, once we do develop methods for finding other indicators of life.

Besides, that could still be misread as implying that finding evidence of volcanoes is a necessary step in finding evidence of life just as easily.

Why put in a causal relationship that may or may not be relevant, just to invoke the "we're not just looking at volcanoes (though as astrogeological geeks that's really all we care about), we're looking for life on other planets (because as astrogeological geeks we know we need that sort of sensationalism

Ha!

Astro-geeks do care about extra-solar volcanoes for their own sake, but they also care a great deal about the search for extraterrestrial life. There isn't a necessary causal relationship between planets in the "habitable zone" and life, but they designed the entire Kepler mission around being able to find planets in it. So that, subsequently, they'll be able to study those planets more closely. If some of them show signs of volcanism, then those will be focused on even more closely. It's one of the greatest mysteries in the universe right now, and you better believe astronomers care about it beyond getting grant money!

So, they didn't put a causal link in there, you just assumed they had to be, but nevertheless it's still interesting and relevant to the search for extraterrestrial life.

* P(H|F) "probability of heart disease given family history of heart disease" > P(H) "probability of heart disease with no additional knowledge" > P(H|!F) "probability of heart disease given no family history of heart disease"

Re:Pay no attention to the pyroclastic flow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33549806)

it's ceteris paribus btw

Well, duh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33537128)

Of course a mega-volcano will be detectable if you're on an exoplanet and there is a huge fucking volcano there...

Proof of Galactic Warming? But is it AGW? (2, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 years ago | (#33537230)

If they find this evidence of volcanoes it will be another nail in the coffin for AGW supporters - unless we can get Al Gore out there to prove that it really is AGW - Alienpomorphic Galactic Warming!!!

Might? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about 4 years ago | (#33537256)

Mega-Volcanoes Might Be Detectable On Exoplanets

And, a politicians might be honest. What kind of useless message is this title? Can't we get something that gives a more positive possibility? How about "maybe we can, and maybe we can't, detect mega-volcanoes on exopanets"

JWST First Light (1)

archer, the (887288) | about 4 years ago | (#33537264)

Planet-sized...
Billboards: "Your ad here." "Save money on your spacecraft insurance by switching to..."
Bumper Sticker: "My other moon is a Death Star."
Solace: "We apologize for any inconvenience..."
Wraparound error: The back end of the JWST.

this stretches credibility (-1, Troll)

Simonetta (207550) | about 4 years ago | (#33537342)

It stretches credibility to believe that astronomers could detect volcanos on planets 30 eff-ing light years away. I think that they are just bullshitting the feds in order to get more funding, what with astronomy being a rather low priority with the USA trillons of dollars in debt, the banking system collapsing, and the easy sources of oil depleting.

    What difference would it make anyway? Even if technology were to continue on the same arc that it has for the past 150 years, it would still be a 5000 year project to get to another planet that is 30 eff-ing light years away.

    Don't you just love all the Star Trek films where faster-than-light giant interplanetary starships are exploring distant reaches of the galaxy in only 200 years from now ? In 200 years from now, we will still be paying off the Iraq/Afghanistan war and trying to figure out how to grow grass in the thin layer of topsoil that used to be the corn-belt of the North American MidWest. Not to mention protecting our kids for antibiotic-resistant TB that resulted from late-20th century abuses.

    Jeez, guys, stop wasting our time with science fiction fantasies about volcanos on planets 30 eff-ing light years away!

Re:this stretches credibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33538540)

Volcanism on exoplanets can be detected by less direct means. If we can pick up the light reflecting off an exoplanet, spectronomy can tell us a lot about the composition of the atmosphere which could indicate signs of volcanisn (dust, ash, gases, etc.)

What If (1)

MrTripps (1306469) | about 4 years ago | (#33537352)

It would be cooler to find a mega-shark in a mega-volcano on an exoplanet.

It could be a normal mega volcano or. . . (3, Funny)

rev_sanchez (691443) | about 4 years ago | (#33537372)

the evil galactic emperor Xenu could be dropping nuclear weapons into normal exoplanet volcanoes in an attempt to destroy the souls of brain-washed alien dissidents thereby creating exo-Thetans that will torment the future residents of said exoplanet.

Teach the controversy!

May Could Possibly Might (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | about 4 years ago | (#33537454)

Discovery "News" scoops the field with this exercise in weasel words. No science was harmed in the making of this story. And besides, the pig might learn to fly.

> and generally provides a dynamic environment
> for advantageous life forms.

Well of course. It's well known that following any global scale catastrophe there's a surge in speciation. Turns out this happens because the environment is dynamic, rather than the old scientists' wives tale about a few survivors taking over the available niches since pretty much everything else that might have been competition was wiped out.

By the time we get there though.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550638)

The Sun will have collapsed into a black hole

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