Another day, another new planet discovered by NASA
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Join Date: Dec 2007
01-11-2011, 09:47 AM
Originally Posted by
I wouldn't call those 'small'. The 'smallest' of the Gliese 581 planets that are thought to be within its goldilocks zone, g, is theorethical only, its existence not proven, and it comes in at four times the mass of Earth. That's four times the gravity of Earth. Landing there won't be too hard, but coming up again might prove a bit more difficult than it was back in the good old days on the Moon. The capsule they took off in probably wouldn't even have raised off of its platform if they'd fired it up on Earth. Gliese 581 c and d are believed to be somewhere between five and six times Earth's mass. I don't expect whoever has to go down and plant that flag to ever come up again. And even if we could, and there was some form of life (vegetation, animal) there, building anything permanent is made a lot harder as construction materials need to be a lot lighter and/or stronger than on Earth just to bear their own weight. At 5 times Earth's gravity, average Joe's heart probably won't be able to keep that spongy thing behind his eyes supplied with freshly oxygenated blood, so Joe'll pass out, fall and pick up a lot more speed on the way down than he would on Earth and probably kill himself or at least break some bones no matter how he lands...
I say we keep looking.
Well Super Earths are little when compared to the Super Jupiters whipping around their staar in 3 to 4 days, ( I don't buy that, no matter what the Astronomer I used to date says). The image of a giant jupiter like planet going around it's star that quickly without it's losing it's atmosphere just doesn't form right in my mind's eye.