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.
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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 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.