Discovering Toxic Planets


We are hearing a lot about habitable planets besides our own, especially regarding Mars.  However, many of us forget that the only planet that we can really live on is Earth, and this is quite logical when you think about it.  After all, our bodies have evolved over millions of years in order to adapt to our environment, and so that is why we can live here.  Lifeforms on other planets, hypothetically speaking, would be perfectly adapted to their own environment in the same way that we are due to the process of evolution.

So, what is it about other planets that makes them uninhabitable for humans?  Well, if it weren’t for massive jumps in technology over recent years, we wouldn’t be able to give you a definitive answer.  But, NASA has been more capable of obtaining data regarding the habitability of other planets than ever before, meaning that for the first time, we can actually explain in detail why we would not be able to survive elsewhere.

Earth – the Only Truly Non-Toxic Planet for Us

When we discuss the habitability of other planets, we’re primarily talking about measurements of toxic gases.  What’s fascinating is that scientists believe that our complex and fascinating ecosystems allow for life on Earth to flourish, whereas it wouldn’t be able to elsewhere.  For one thing, scientists have created what are known as “habitable zones” as a way of determining which areas on other planets are habitable for humans based on their ability to sustain liquid water.  In order for water to remain liquid, it must be within a certain distance from a warm star.  Otherwise, it would freeze.  In order for water to remain liquid so far away from the sun, however, it would require a large amount of carbon dioxide in its atmosphere.  And, as we know, such a high volume of carbon dioxide would be deadly to humans.  Essentially, this means that even if water were liquid on other planets, we would not be able to survive due to the high carbon dioxide levels.

As a result, scientists have definitively concluded that carbon dioxide alone can determine whether or not a plant is habitable for humans and other species that exist here on Earth. 

Another factor that’s interesting has to do with carbon monoxide, another toxic gas.  Stars that are warm enough to keep water liquid seem to emit quite a bit of carbon monoxide, meaning that, once again, humans could not survive.  On Earth, carbon monoxide is essentially destroyed by the heat and light to which our planet is exposed thanks to its proximity to the sun. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that life doesn’t exist outside of our own planet.  As we said, lifeforms adapt to their environment, meaning that there’s no reason to assume that there aren’t species that are immune to these toxic gases.  However, scientists have determined that if life does happen to exist on another planet, it is likely beneath icy or rocky surfaces of the atmosphere.  Due to these findings, scientists have all the more reason to urge us to take care of our own planet.  As it turns out, its unique conditions are highly special and rare, meaning that we must preserve our ecosystem to the best of our abilities as it’s the only one that we have.

As It Turns Out, Earth is the Only Nontoxic Planet

While we continue to fantasize about finding other habitable planets in our solar system, the truth, according to scientists, is that Earth is all that we have.  Therefore, we must strive to protect it so that we can continue benefiting from its fascinating environment.

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