While earthlings can escape Earth’s gravity and travel into space, hypothetical alien species living on super-earths would struggle to leave the gravity of the planets in order to achieve interstellar travel.
The velocity needed to launch rockets from telluric exoplanets may make it impossible to achieve space travel, according to a Talking Democrat report.
In 2017, astronomers discovered Gliese 625, which is a small red dwarf about 21 light years away. The star’s habitable zone contains a rocky super-earth, which is roughly 2.8 times the size of Earth. Many such planets exist throughout the universe.
Scientists believe these planets could be paradises for inhabitants with beautiful, shallow oceans and thicker atmospheres that block more radiation, which they call “archipelago-planets.” It sounds incredible, but the physics of leaving such a planet would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to work out.
Among the things civilizations on such planets might not have are satellites, space telescopes, moon missions, and possibly even TV, according to Space.com.
Michael Hippke, an independent researcher affiliated to the observatory of Sonneberg, Germany, said that the high gravity of super-earth planets complicates space travel. His article on the research is pending publication in the International Journal of Astrobiology.
In fact, in order to launch a traditional rocket from a exoplanet with a mass 10 times that of Earth, the civilizations’ rockets would need to be 70 percent wider than earth and weigh 10 times more. Plus, the fuel would weigh an outrageous amount.
Another possibility for leaving a planet such as these might be space elevators or nuclear pulse propulsion, instead of conventional rockets. The possibility of launching from a higher point, like a mountain, could also help in escaping the dense gravity of these giant planets. Unfortunately, the planets’ additional gravitational forces would likely keep any mountains on the surfaces much smaller than necessary to help make much of a difference.
These enormous obstacles for interstellar travel make it far less likely that alien civilizations living on these planets would explore space, which, in turn, would make it more difficult for people on Earth to find out about such aliens residing in different solar systems around the universe.