Strange ‘Eggshell’ Planets Orbiting Distant Stars –Too Thin to Sustain Plate Tectonics and Life

Eggshell Planets

 

Welcome to the strange new worlds of the Exoplanet Era. A new category of exoplanets, known as eggshell planets, have ultra-thin, brittle crusts only one kilometer in depth, too thin to sustain tectonics and will be hostile to life. Meanwhile, Earth and Mars are crusty down to depths of 40 and 100 km according to a new international study that will help identify whether newly discovered planets could support Earth-like plate tectonics, adding a new geological dimension to exoplanet classification. Earth-like subduction zone plate tectonics are a critical component of planetary habitability, not just because they are the most Earth-like of all geological processes known to science.

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