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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Evidence for Uniqueness of Our Solar System in the Milky Way?

The recent startling discovery that there is a lower percentage of oxygen beyond our solar system's heliosphere from the data analysed from the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) satellite confronts us with the question of whether this unexpected abundance in the solar system might be a precondition for life. One hypothesis is that the solar system may have been formed when it inhabited a more oxygen rich region of the Milky Way. Given that it has there evidence for a correlation for periodic extinction events on earth as the solar system bobs closest to our companion Andromeda galaxy, it seems to me rather premature for astronomer Geoff Marcy to state that this IBEX discovery has no bearing upon the habitability of exoplanets simply because there is plenty of oxygen being produced by stars in the galaxy.

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