Super-Earth’s gravity might be preventing aliens from reaching to us: Study

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In a new study, scientists have found out that gravity on Super-Earth planets might be preventing the alien life from visiting our Earth. That means the aliens on ‘Super-Earth’ planets may be trapped by gravity and that is why they are not able to make contact with earth.

Scientists believe that Super-Earths are strong contenders for supporting alien life and if there are aliens on them then their super gravity might be preventing the aliens from visiting Earth. The latest study was made by Michael Hippke, an independent researcher affiliated with the Sonneberg Observatory in Germany.

Hippke found out that as because the Super-Earths are larger and heavier than Earth, they have a higher surface gravity which affects space flight. It makes traveling to space difficult. So, Hippke feels, the strong gravitational pull on Super-Earths might be making it difficult for the aliens, if any, to leave the planet and travel to space.  Aliens will require a massive amount of fuel to travel into space and due to the absence of high-end technology, the space flight may be extremely expensive.

Hippke said, “On more-massive planets, spaceflight would be exponentially more expensive. Such civilizations would not have satellite TV, a moon mission or a Hubble Space Telescope.” Normally Super-Earths are about two times wider than Earth and their mass can reach up to 10 times that of our Earth. Such an enormous mass leads to doubling up of the surface gravity as compared to Earth. This indicates that the space flight from the surface of those planets will require massive fuel to escape the atmosphere.

The latest research tried to find out how much fuel would be required to launch a rocket to space from those Super-Earths. Hippke and his team found out that a sizable fraction of the Super-Earth planet would have to be used up as fuel for the rocket launch, thus limiting the number of flights traveling to space. Also, as more fuel is required for space flight, extremely massive rockets need to be made for the same.

Hence, aliens on such Super-Earths might be facing too many difficulties in launching themselves into space. Hippke said, “Civilizations from super-Earths are much less likely to explore the star. Instead, they would be to some extent arrested on their home planet and, for example, make more use of lasers or radio telescopes for interstellar communication instead of sending probes or spaceships.”

While some conspiracy theorists believe that may be alien civilisation have overcome the problem of money and resources to make such a revolutionary spacecraft that would make intergalactic travel. However, our universe is so huge that locating us would be very difficult until and unless we find a potent way to establish a communication with them and let them know our exact location.

Moreover, a super-Earth is an extrasolar planet with a mass higher than Earth’s, but substantially below the masses of the Solar System’s ice giants, Uranus and Neptune, which have masses of 15 and 17 times Earth’s, respectively. The term super-Earth refers only to the mass of the planet, and so does not imply anything about the surface conditions or habitability. In general, super-Earths are defined by their masses, and the term does not imply temperatures, compositions, orbital properties, habitability, or environments.

While sources generally agree on an upper bound of 10 Earth masses (~69% of the mass of Uranus, which is the Solar System’s gas giant with the least mass), the lower bound varies from 1 or 1.9 to 5, with various other definitions appearing in the popular media. The term “super-Earth” is also used by astronomers to refer to planets bigger than Earth-like planets (from 0.8 to 1.25 Earth-radii), but smaller than mini-Neptunes (from 2 to 4 Earth-radii). This definition was made by the Kepler Mission.

Some authors further suggest that the term Super-Earth might be limited to rocky planets without a significant atmosphere, or planets that have not just atmospheres but also solid surfaces or oceans with a sharp boundary between liquid and atmosphere, which the four giant planets in the Solar System do not have. Planets above 10 Earth masses are termed massive solid planets depending on whether they are mostly rock and ice or mostly gas.

The latest study was published in the International Journal of Astrobiology.

The citizen scientists have discovered a new star system that is orbited by five planets. This discovery of five new exoplanets by citizen scientists has been confirmed by the scientists of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US as well as the CALTECH in Pasadena. The five exoplanets are orbiting a far-off sun-like star called K2-138 which is situated almost 620 light years away from Earth in the constellation Aquarius.

As per the data collected by NASA’s Kepler telescope, these five planets are called as super-Earth as their sizes range between 1.6 and 3.3 times the radius of Earth. All these five planets are orbiting their parent star in a resonance chain, which is unique. Since 2009, the Kepler telescope under the K2 mission is looking at sun-like star systems beyond our solar system that harbor Earth-like planets. A research team led by Dr. Jesse Christiansen, from Caltech in Pasadena, carried out the latest research whose results were revealed at the 231st American Astronomical Society meeting in National Harbour.

According to the researchers, the citizen scientists across the world contributed immensely to the discovery of the five super-Earth exoplanets. The research team carried out their project dubbed Exoplanet Explorers through Zooniverse, a popular online citizen-scientist platform. Dr. Christina formed that People from anywhere across the globe can log on and learn what real signals coming from exoplanet look like, and then look through actual data collected from the Kepler telescope to vote on whether or not to classify a given signal as a transit, or just noise.

At first, the researchers ran a signal-detection algorithm to spot potential transit signals in the K2 data, and after that, they made those signals available for users on the Zooniverse platform. What the users had to do is to determine whether a signal is a planetary transit or not. The users could see the actual light curves collected by the K2 mission. If they thought the curve looked like a transit, they clicked ‘Yes’ and if not then they clicked ‘No’. For the signals to get confirmed for further analysis by researchers, at least ten users should look at a potential signal and then ninety percent of users should have to vote ‘yes’ for that signal.

Ian Crossfield, assistant professor of physics at MIT, said, “We put all this data online and said to the public, ‘Help us find some planets’.” According to him, the project was exciting as they got the public excited about science and it really leveraged the power of the human cloud. In 2016, it was announced that four planets are orbiting the K2-138 star. But Dr. Christian was confident that there are some more planets orbiting the distant sun-like star. So, he intensified his research and discovered the fifth planet through citizen scientists.

About the author

Tejas Sharma

Tejas Sharma is a lead guitarist in his band and speed maniac. Being an automobile enthusiast he loves to cover the latest news on automobiles, smartphones and other gadgets.


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  • Interesting non sense.
    You mean to say, they can’t even emit radio signals? Gravity of super earth is so high that they can’t send any kind of signal beyond their planet?

    EVERYTHING that is written is ASSumption.

  • Claiming that “expense” may be prohibiting aliens from leaving their planet’s gravitational field is erroneous. This assumes application of our severely flawed debt money financial scheme. For truly intelligent life, this would be easily addressed.

  • Perhaps a super earth civilization focused their space travel development on antigravity or some form of time travel given their gravity challenge. Just saying.

  • I would surmise that if sentient being wanted to explore the stars and high gravity was one of the major hurtles, most of their science would be focused primarily on tackling this (like we did). That primary focus would advance things like anti gravity or light weight materials or energistic psychic travel for that matter. We have to look beyond the anthro lens.

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