A review of habitable zones—for animals as well as microbes, and in the galaxy and Universe as well as around our sun—leads to an inescapable conclusion: Earth is a rare place indeed. Perhaps the most intriguing finding of this line of research is that Earth is rare as much for its abundant metal content as for its location relative to the sun. As we will see in the next chapter, the metal-rich core of our Earth is responsible for much of its hospitality to life.

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