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The earth has been inhabited for billions of years – simulations show that it is “just luck”



Evolution took 3 or 4 billion years to produce Homo sapiens. If the climate had failed only once during that time, then evolution would have stopped the catastrophe and we would not be here now. So to understand how we existed on planet Earth, we will need to know how the Earth has survived for billions of years.

This is not a minor problem. The current global warming shows us that the climate can change significantly for even several centuries. It is even easier to change the climate during geological periods. Calculations show that the Earth’s climate is likely to deteriorate to temperatures below zero or above boiling in just a few million years.

We also know that the Sun has become 30% brighter since life evolved. In theory, this should cause the oceans to return by now, given that they were not usually frozen in early Earth ̵

1; this is known as the “paradox of the young faint sun”. And yet somehow this habitat puzzle was solved.

Scientists have come up with two main theories. The first is that the Earth may have something like a thermostat – a feedback mechanism (or mechanisms) that prevents the climate from wandering to fatal temperatures.

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The second is that of the many planets, some may just be lucky and Earth is one of them. This second scenario is made more plausible than the discoveries made in recent decades on many planets outside our solar system – the so-called exoplanets. Astronomical observations of distant stars tell us that many of them have orbits around them and that some are large in size and density and orbital distance, so that temperatures suitable for life are theoretically possible. It is estimated that there are at least 2 billion such candidate planets in our galaxy alone.

Planets in space.