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Evolution and the Emergent SelfThe Rise of Complexity and Behavioral Versatility in Nature$
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Raymond Neubauer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231150705

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231150705.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

The Prospects for Habitable Worlds

The Prospects for Habitable Worlds

(p.226) 11 The Prospects for Habitable Worlds
Evolution and the Emergent Self

Raymond L. Neubauer

, Xuan Yue
Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the prevalence of habitable worlds where life might begin its evolutionary journey. Research in the last two decades suggests that planets around stars other than the sun may be a common occurrence. Data from the most recent space telescopes indicate that even Earth-size planets in the habitable zone around their star may be numerous in the universe. Most astronomers now believe that planet formation is a regular part of star formation. Stars and planets develop together from massive clouds of dust and gas that float through interstellar space. Planets may not be in the nearly circular orbits often found in the solar system. This chapter first considers the role of star size in the origin of life before discussing the possibility that life exists in red dwarfs, moons and failed stars, and multiple-star systems. It then looks at galactic habitable zones, the metallicity of planet-bearing stars, and the chances of a rocky Earth-like planet where complex life could evolve. The chapter concludes by describing indicators of life on other planets.

Keywords:   habitable worlds, evolution, interstellar space, solar system, red dwarfs, moons, habitable zones, metallicity, planet-bearing stars, origin of life

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