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Could there be life on other planets?

The group of research Science, Reason and Faith (CRYF) organized the seminar "Exoplanets and the Earth-Moon system".

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Sebastián Ferrer Martínez, professor at the University of Murcia. PHOTO: Manuel Castells
27/01/14 11:18 Fina Trèmols

On January 21, Sebastián Ferrer Martínez, Full Professor of applied mathematics at the University of Murcia's School of Computer Science at the University of Murcialed the interdisciplinary seminar "Exoplanets and the Earth-Moon system" organized by the group of research Science, Reason and Faith (CRYF) of the University of Navarra. Professor Ferrer coordinates a group of research on topics of orbital dynamics of natural and artificial bodies in the solar system. 

Since the end of the last century, when planetary systems accompanying stars close to the Sun were discovered, the issue of observed exoplanets has been growing steadily. New planets are registered every day. At the time of the pronouncement of lecture there were already 1,022. Before, it was considered strange that a star should have planets. Now the paradigm has changed and the opposite is thought to be true: it is normal for every star to have them. In this new stage of astronomy, the goal is to select those in the habitable zone, defined in comparison with the conditions we have in our solar system.

After a historical note on the role of planets in culture, speaker presented the results of some recent programs of study on this topic topic. He highlighted the diversity of factors, particularly dynamic ones, that make life on Earth possible. "Habitable zone is one in which there is water and a certain stability that allows the appearance of some subject of life, he commented. Life is currently being sought beneath the icy crust of our planet. Achieving this would help to understand how life could have started on Earth".

In the subsequent colloquium one of the attendees asked whether life on our planet could have come from space, to which Professor Ferrer replied that "the Earth is very unique, but I do not consider that it has to be the only scenario in which life has made its way".

"Astrobiology is the new branch that addresses these questions. It is an example of interdisciplinary approach that should be present in the teaching and research of Natural Sciences today," concluded Professor Ferrer.