IMAGE: Artist’s impression of exoplanet, showing tilted axis of rotation (adapted from NASA original image) CREDIT: NASA JPL
As a reminder, the reason for the seasons is the tilt of the planet. As our world goes from having the north pole pointed toward the Sun to having the south pole tilted more toward the Sun, we see the temperatures and weather in Earth’s hemispheres vary back and forth. This causes animals to migrate and hibernate, and it creates growing seasons. In many ways, the complexity of our planet is driven by the desire for life to spread and multiply, and the need for that life to adapt to the environments it is spreading into.
In a presentation at the Goldschmidt Conference, researchers lead by Stephanie Olson postulate that planets with a tilt like Earth’s will develop more complex life than planets that are upright and never experience seasons.
According to Olson: There are several factors to consider in looking for life on another planet. The planet needs to be [at] the right distance from its star to allow liquid water and have the chemical ingredients for the origin of life. But not all oceans will be great hosts ...