The Goldilocks Zone
“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
I’m sure you remember the fairytale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldilocks tries to eat papa bear’s porridge but finds it too hot. So she turns to a second bowl, and it’s too cold. Finally she discovers a third bowl of porridge and finds it to be just right, so she eats it all up.
Since the 1970s, astronomers have described our own planet as being situated in what they call a cosmic Goldilocks Zone that is just right for life to exist. It is neither too hot nor too cold, neither too far away from the sun nor too close. Years ago, however, NASA noted that the Goldilocks Zone is much larger than they ever expected.
“Scientists have found microbes in nuclear reactors, microbes that love acid, [and] microbes that swim in boiling-hot water,” wrote NASA. They also observed, “Whole ecosystems have been discovered around deep sea vents where sunlight never reaches and the emerging vent-water is hot enough to melt lead.”
But now, scientists are once again rethinking their position. Nature magazine reported that “tidal heating shrinks the ‘goldilocks zone’ and concluded that this “overlooked factor suggests fewer habitable planets than thought.”
With each new discovery in recent years, the size of the Goldilocks Zone is shrinking. Perhaps one day scientists will realize that only one planet in the universe occupies the Goldilocks Zone … the planet we call home!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for placing the Earth in the exact spot of the universe which is suitable for life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Author: Steven J. Schwartz
Ref: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2003/02oct_goldilocks/ The Goldilocks Zone, NASA Headline News, 10/2/03. R.A. Lovett, “Tidal heating shrinks the ‘goldilocks zone’,” Nature, 5/8/12. Illustration: By Leonard Leslie Brooke on page 25 of “The Story of the Three Bears.” (1899)
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