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Aliens can not escape the gravity of a super-Earth



Space travel is seen here on Earth as the ultimate achievement of an advanced civilization. For some hypothetical alien species inhabiting super-earth planets, space travel may be impossible due to the speed needed to escape the gravitational pull of their planet. These unfortunate beings would, indeed, have all the trouble in the world to pull off rockets from the surface of these telluric exoplanets, which are much larger than the earth.

At 21 light-years away, a small red dwarf called Gliese 625 secretly held a huge treasure until astronomers discovered it in 201

7. There he orbits a rocky planet in the habitable zone of the star, which is 2.8 times as massive as the earth and belongs to the category of super-earth. These worlds, which are very common in the universe, can reach up to ten times as much as the Earth's mass. This is the case of Kepler-20b, the largest known super-Earth revolving around the Kepler-20 star, 945 light-years from our planet.

For any hypothetical resident, this kind of exoplanet would be a kind of paradise. The thicker atmosphere, which is held back by the higher gravity, blocks the harmful radiation better. Huge, shallow oceans littered with dammed land could cover the flattened and eroded surface and turn the super-earth into an "archipelago planet." But if these extraterrestrials would one day desire to leave, they would find it very difficult to escape the gravity of their giant planet, according to Michael Hippke, an independent researcher affiliated with the Sonneberg Observatory in Germany.

Available in an article At ArXiv, pending its publication in the International Journal of Astrobiology, the researcher emphasizes the limitations of space technologies used on Earth when transmitted on other planets, such as super-Earths. In fact, high gravity makes space travel difficult. So to differentiate from an exoplanet of ten earth masses, a conventional rocket with chemical propulsion must weigh 400,000 tons! In comparison, NASA's Saturn V-carrier, designed by NASA for the Apollo missions, by far the largest ever built, weighed only 3,050 tons.

While humans live on a planet of reasonable size that is compatible with space travel, "Other civilizations, if they exist, may not be so happy," says Michael Hippke, interviewed by Space.com. To stand out from a super earth, the aliens must double their efforts. A rocket needs to reach the so-called 11.2 km / s liberation speed to escape the Earth's pull, but a rocket ten times the size of Earth needs a speed of 27.1 km / s.

a stronger rocket that consumes more fuel and depresses the ship. The required amount of fuel increases exponentially depending on the weight. Astronomical dimensions are reached very quickly, as Michael Hippke's calculations prove.

For comparison from left to right: the pyramids of Giza (about 150 m high); Ariane 5; the Delta Heavy; the falcon 9; the hawk heavy; the American Space Shuttle; Saturn V; and finally, the huge 400,000-ton rocket that aliens were supposed to build to take off from a super-Earth like Kepler-20b. © Michael Hippke, 2018, arXiv

For example, a 6.2-ton payload launching Kepler-20b payload carried by the James Webb Space Telescope will have to carry 55,000 tons of fuel. For larger loads of the order of 45 tons needed during the Apollo missions to the Moon, a huge rocket of 400,000 tons is needed. Worse, for planets beyond ten Earth masses, if they exist, the researcher believes that driving a single rocket would consume almost all the fuel of the exoplanet.

As a result, "Subterranean civilizations are far less likely to explore the universe, preferring to be confined to their planet and, for example, using lasers or radio telescopes to communicate through space instead of sending probes or spaceships." However, his calculations are traditional Rockets with chemical drive. Other technologies, such as nuclear missiles, could be used.


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