Scientists analyzed in two different scientific papers how hard it would be for aliens living on Super Earth’s—planets ten times the size of Earth—to reach space using rockets.
Elon Musk is currently developing the ‘Big F*cking Rocket’, but as it turns out Aliens would need an even Bigger F*cking Rocket to reach space, due to the gravitational pull of Super Earth’s.
According to a recent research paper that discusses alien life, if extraterrestrial beings are out there somewhere, they might be trapped by the gravity of their home planet.
Experts have researched just how hard it would be to launch a rocket into space from a Super Earth—planets in the universe believed to be up to TEN times the size of our world.
Astronomers have found that a large number of Super-Earth’s orbit their host star in the so-called Goldilocks-zone, the area in space around the star where the planet’s surface temperature is ideal to support life as we know it.
Now, scientists have analyzed just how hard it would be to reach space from such a world.
Experts calculated the gravitational pull of Super-Earth’s and found that it would be nearly impossible to launch a spacecraft into space, from the surface of these supermassive planets.
That is, using the technology we’ve developed on Earth.
Experts have calculated that to launch a spacecraft like the one that took mankind to the moon, a rocket would need a mass of approximately 400,000 metric tons, because of fuel requirements, researchers have found.
This means that for an alien civilization to reach space, they’d have to come up with rockets that don’t necessarily rely on chemical fuel.
study author Michael Hippke, an independent researcher affiliated with the Sonneberg Observatory in Germany, told Space.com that: “Many rocky exoplanets are heavier and larger than the Earth and have higher surface gravity, This makes space-flight on these worlds very challenging, because the required fuel mass for a given payload is an exponential function of planetary surface gravity.”
“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,” added Hippke.
Here on Earth, we can overcome the gravitational pull of our planet with the use of massive rockets. For example, there’s Elon Musk’s upcoming space vehicle dubbed ‘Big Fucking Rocket.’
However, aliens on distant Super Earth’s might need an even Bigger f*cking rocket.
Two separate studied have taken a look whether it would be possible even to build a rocket powerful enough to beat the gravitational pull of distant super-Earth’s.
In one scientific paper, Hippke investigated just how hard it would be to launch a rocket into space from a hypothetical super-Earth that was around severity percent wider, and ten times more massive compared to Earth. Curiously, these are the approximate dimensions of an alien world dubbed Kepler-20b, located some 950 light years from Earth.
Hippke found that in this super world, the escape velocity needed to reach space would be 2.4 times greater than that on our home planet.
Here on Earth, spacecraft need to achieve an escape velocity of around 40,000 kilometers per hour.
“Civilizations from super-Earths are much less likely to explore the stars. 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,” said Hippke.
One possibility is that potential alien civilizations inhabiting super-Earth’s could use their home planet’s tallest mountaintops to launch a vehicle to space.
However, given the severe gravity on the planet, mountains would grow very tall, suggest scientists.
All of this doesn’t mean that aliens on super Earth’s cant go to space. It only means—hypothetically—that they would need to come up with different methods to achieve their goals.
In addition to Hippke’s scientific paper, another study, published by Dr. Abraham Loeb from Harvard University suggests that nuclear-powered spaceflight may be achieved by distant alien civilizations on large massive planets, helping them overcome strong gravitational pulls.
“An advanced extraterrestrial civilization could use other propulsion methods, such as nuclear engines or light sails which are not constrained by the same limitations as chemical propulsion and can reach speeds as high as a tenth of the speed of light. Our civilization is currently developing these alternative propulsion technologies, but these efforts are still in their infancy,” said Dr. Loeb.
Featured Image Credit: Dana Barry / SpaceX