Other Worlds, Other Tectonics, Other Life

Planets are warmed by their sun. Planets also has their own internal warmth that drives local volcanism and tectonics and helps keep water liquid and not frozen. Scattered around the Milky Way are stars that resemble our own sun—but a new study is finding that any planets orbiting those stars may very well be hotter and more dynamic than Earth and not due to their suns. That’s because the interiors of any terrestrial planets in these systems are likely warmer due to their radioactive composition than Earth—up to 25 percent warmer, which would make them more geologically active and more likely to retain enough liquid water to support life.

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