January 9, 2009

The Goldilocks Zone

Goldilocks ZoneI got a pleasant surprise just now when I happened to just check out this twitter ego thing called twitemperature. For a moment, I thought that some kind of Artificial Intelligence was running in it's backend to generate such a fitting remark for Exoplanetology:

"You're not too hot. You're not too cold. You're the Goldilocks of Twitter."

What's funny is that I happened to be thinking about The Goldilocks Zone just a few days ago.
If Earth were a little closer to the sun it might be like hot choking Venus; a little farther, like cold arid Mars. Somehow, though, we ended up in just the right place with just the right ingredients for life to flourish. We are in "The Goldilocks Zone."
The big prize in Exoplanetology is to spot a rocky planet that lies in this Goldilocks Zone, where the temperature is not so hot that water evaporates, nor so cold that it is perpetually frozen, but "just right", enabling water to exist in liquid form.
The 'Holy Grail' for today's planet-hunters is to find an Earth-like planet that also has water in its atmosphere.
In the search for life, it turns out that we are Goldilocks.