July 07, 2008

From Clark M. Thomas:

Re: Sunless but livable planets may be detectable (Sept. 10): Your recent article regarding life on dark planets has a major error/omission.

It cites a 1999 article as being the original study on this topic: “The real likelihood of detecting orphaned, habitable worlds is better than these estimates suggest, they continued, partly because the estimates omit two types of systems that could include such objects. One type is a planet-moon pair whose planet is a gas giant. The other is a planet with no partner; the original study [sic] seven years ago suggested such an abode could be habitable even without a moon.

“In that study, published the July 1, 1999 issue of the journal Nature, Dave Stevenson of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. , laid out the basic reasons why a sunless planet might harbor life.” Actually, there is a 1997 essay on the topic -- two years before the Stevenson essay. Here is that original essay’s URL: here.


There are additional key discoveries that will be announced years hence. Some of these “future discoveries” are already published in clear English -- not in prestigious old school publications such as Nature, but nevertheless accessible on the Web from a Google search. Your publication would be wise to consider what is already there to read. Here are three examples:


Clark M. Thomas


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