Many scientists believe extraterrestrial life does, in fact, exist out there. It’s merely about finding a livable planet with a habitable orbit. The orbit allows for near-Earth temperatures and could permit the existence of water. Many such planets do actually exist outside Earth’s solar system. However, some scientists now believe gravity may prove to be a major problem and the ‘reason’ preventing extraterrestrials from leaving their planet.
The Super-Earth and Gravitational Force
Super-Earths are planets similar to Earth in the sense that they could present water and livable temperatures. However, these planets are substantially larger than Earth. Our planet is not that substantially large.
Super-Earths are also known as exoplanets. Due to the sheer size of such an exoplanet, which likely increases the gravity, leaving the planet’s atmosphere would prove very difficult, if not impossible, claim some.
The Force Required for Leaving Orbit
In order to exit the atmosphere of many of these exoplanets, an Apollo mission-based rocket would reportedly by necessary. Such a spacecraft would weigh an astronomical 440,000 tons (for all the fuel required).
This volume is on par with the size and mass of the Egypt pyramids. Due to the sheer cost of space travel, it would also likely be near impossible for extraterrestrial life to leave their homes. That is unless a different and more powerful source of energy was harnessed.
The Benefits of a Thicker Atmosphere
While the atmosphere of a super-Earth might prevent extraterrestrials from leaving the planet, it would also protect them as well. Namely, a thicker atmosphere would avert solar radiation.
The gravitational forces on such planets would prove far more intense than that of Earth. These planets often have 10 times the mass of Earth.
For example, a planet called Kepler-20b, which is 950 light-years away from Earth, fits these parameters. To leave the orbit of this exoplanet, the “escape velocity” would need to be 2.4 times larger than what is required to leave Earth’s atmosphere.
The heavier gravitational forces would not necessarily mean that a hypothetical extraterrestrial race would be unable to leave its planet. However, by Earth’s standards, it would prove extremely difficult, far more dangerous, and substantially more expensive.
Michael Hippke, a German researcher, is the one to have proposed this exoplanet gravity theory. As it is, the consensus is that the paper raises an interesting point as to what other races would have to achieve to reach the outer space.
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