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Earth is now considered a “Hybrid Planet”

Ancient History

Earth is now considered a “Hybrid Planet”

Based on new scientific data, researchers have concluded that planet Earth is a Hybrid Planet.

Scientists say how the dramatic influence of human activity on our planet is pushing Earth into a  state of ‘hybridization’ before our world eventually shifts into an entirely new planetary class.

For decades, astronomers have imagined the existence of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations, and even classified them according to the amount of energy that their inhabitants could conceivably seize and utilize.

Said alien worlds—hypothetical in nature—were eventually classified into three types according to a scheme described in 1964 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev.

A Type 1 civilization has the ability to manipulate all the energy resources of its home planet (a distant goal yet for our civilization) and a Type 2 all energy in its star/planet system.

A super advanced Type 3 civilization would use the energy of its entire galaxy.

The Kardashev scale has become a sort of gold standard for the classification of possible civilizations elsewhere in the cosmos, and how advanced they may have become through time.

But that’s not what we are writing about at the moment.

A team of scientists, featuring scientists from the University of Washington has devised a new classification system for the evolutionary stages of worlds based on “non-equilibrium thermodynamics” – a planet’s energy flow being out of synch, as the presence of life could cause.

The categories vary from imaginary planets that have no atmosphere whatsoever to those alien worlds with an “agency-dominated biosphere” or even a “technosphere,” revealing the accomplishments of a vastly advanced, “energy-intensive technological species.”

The new research paper, titled Earth as a Hybrid Planet: The Anthropocene in an Evolutionary Astrobiological Context, was published in September of 2017 in the journal Anthropocene.

Lead author of the study Adam Frank, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester says how the new research offers a new way of thinking about sustainability on a planetary scale in what is being recognized as the Anthropocene Epoch.

“Our premise is that Earth’s entry into the Anthropocene represents what might, from an astrobiological perspective, be a predictable planetary transition,” experts write in the study.

“We explore this problem from the perspective of our own solar system and exoplanet studies.”

“In our viewpoint, the beginning of the Anthropocene can be seen as the onset of the hybridization of the planet — a sort of transitional stage from one class of planetary systems to another.”

The classification scheme, the scientists write in the new study, is based on “the magnitude by which different planetary processes — abiotic, biotic and technologic — generate free energy, i.e., the energy that can perform work within the system.”

Scientists propose four different classes:

  • Class I represents planets that have no atmosphere at all, such as the planet Mercury and the Earth’s moon.
  • Class II planets have a very thin atmosphere containing greenhouse gases but do not have current life, such as the current status of planets like Mars and Venus.
  • Class III planets are considered those that have a perhaps thin biosphere and at least some traces of biotic activity, but  too little to “affect planetary drivers and alter the evolutionary state of the planet as a whole.” Scientists have not found any examples of such that exist in the solar system, but an early Earth may have been such a world — and even possibly early Mars if life ever existed there in the distant past.
  • Class IV planets have an extremely thick biosphere sustained by photosynthetic activity, and life has begun to strongly affect the energy flow.

Source: arXiv

Reference: Earth as hybrid planet: New classification scheme places Anthropocene era in astrobiological context

Ivan
Ivan is editor-in-chief at ancient-code.com, he also writes for Universe Explorers. You may have seen him appear on the Discovery and History Channel.
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