Exploring our origin – the search for habitable exoplanets

After millions of years of gradual evolution, the footsteps of this blue planet is an intelligent species trying to understand the inexplicable universe. Humans.

One trait that we, as humans, share is an intense thirst for understanding our origin. This leads to intense endeavors, and as we continue to delve into the scientific field, we gradually come to some concrete answers.

In 1931 the Belgian Cosmologist George Lemaitre He proposed an astonishing idea – one that ended the pious scientific tradition that revolved around the deep beginning of the universe.

The idea was that a single catastrophic explosion of a “super atom” was the beginning of the current universe. This discovery was prepared by the American astronomer Edwin Hubble.

Hubble, using the telescope at Mount Wilson in California, has shown that distant galaxies appear to recede from us. This uprooted the idea of ​​a fixed universe. So, the universe is expanding, and the fabric of spacetime is stretching.

The early universe was filled with giant gas clouds, which later condensed into stars due to gravity. Through telescopes, such as Hubble and, more recently, James Webb, we get a peek into the past by capturing light from galaxies with less well-defined and more compact structures.

In the outer arm of a brilliant spiral galaxy, the Milky Way, was the Solar Nebula, a swirling cloud of gas and dust. Perhaps due to the shock wave from a nearby supernova explosion, this nebula collapsed, giving rise to the formation of the Sun and planets.

The third planet from the Sun is our home, Earth. But the conditions of stay were not so generous from the start. The early Earth was a ball of fire that later cooled, water vapor condensed, and torrential rain formed vast bodies of water.

Scientists Alexander Oparin and JBS Haldane He put forward a hypothesis to explain the origin of the first life, which is now known as phylogeny or the theory of chemical evolution. He stated that the first life arose from abiotic materials in the reduced atmosphere of the Earth of the Adolescents.

In 1953, Stanley Miller and Harold Urey conducted experiments to probe this theory. They prepared conditions similar to those of the early Earth, with a temperature as high as 800 degrees Celsius, an electric discharge to mimic lightning, water vapor and a mixture of gases (H2O, NH3, CH4 and N2). They let the experiment run for a week.

Later, a groundbreaking observation was made – many of the building blocks of life, such as proteins and amino acids, have already formed in the “hot diluted soup”!

These monomers have been polymerized into large molecules as confirmed by Sidney Fox Subsequently, these large molecules formed protopions.

However, one key feature was missing from these primitive structures – the ability to reproduce. But due to structural modifications, nucleic acids such as DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid) formed and started self-replication. After millions of years of evolution and the unbridled succession of one life form through a more advanced form, the plants and animals we see today have emerged.

life evolution

A curious man is back on a cruise to spread religion with an atheistic approach and a bit of knowledge. Charles Darwin, a revolutionary scientist and naturalist, formulated the evolution of life forms through the doctrines of branching descent and natural selection during his voyage aboard the HMS Beagle. book books About the origin of specieswhich is not less than Bible for evolutionary biologists. Darwin proclaimed the idea of ​​”survival of the fittest,” which always referred to reproductive fitness.

Gregor Johann Mendel Putting forward the genetic approach to the cause of diversity in organisms. He stated that the recombination of “factors” (now genes) were responsible for the change in genetic makeup, and thus the physical and physiological features of the species.

The chemical and physiological examination of the basic structural units ensures the process of evolution. Later, genetic techniques such as “karyotype analysis” and “chromosome binding” He confirmed the similarity in the DNA of humans and lower primates, indicating evolution.

Gradually, the process of evolution produced the pioneering species, Homo sapiens, who could sense and produce responses to external stimuli, control and harness natural resources, and venture to understand the universe.

Today, after years of heavy traffic, humans have succeeded in conquering this planet. But how long can we enjoy our conquest?

Our overheating universe can cause cosmic disasters without warning. Technically advanced, we can handle a few of them, but huge ones could wipe us off the face of the Earth, just like the asteroid that wiped out our reptilian ancestors, the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago.

Therefore, scientists strive to find another suitable habitat that can protect us, humans, in the event of unexpected and indomitable disasters. One aspect of this research is the discovery of exoplanets.

An exoplanet, short for exoplanet, is a celestial body orbiting a star other than our sun. Such celestial bodies, if they happen to lie in the habitable zone—the optimum temperature zone for sustaining life—of the star they orbit, could support living things on Earth.

The innovative Kepler spacecraft was working by keeping aside straightforward methods for detecting exoplanets. He had the ability to measure tiny, ultra-accurate dips, which indicate the presence of small planets.

NASA’s TESS spacecraft has been lifted atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which launched in mid-2018 and quickly and successfully completed its mission, identifying exoplanets in orbit of bright stars 300 light-years away in the northern sky using a telescope. wide range.

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