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Author Topic: "Super-Earth" Alien Planet May Be Habitable for Life  (Read 1092 times)

Dragonoake

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"Super-Earth" Alien Planet May Be Habitable for Life
« on: November 08, 2012, 09:03:51 pm »
The planet is only 42 light-years from Earth and may contain liquid water, but scientists do not know whether the world is rocky or gaseous

Scientific American

Dragonoake

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Re: "Super-Earth" Alien Planet May Be Habitable for Life
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2012, 09:07:23 pm »
Quote
"... we simply do not know whether the planet is a large Earth or a small, warm Neptune without a solid surface."


Wouldn't a warm Neptune become unstable, and therefore lose atmosphere, below a certain mass threshold?

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Re: "Super-Earth" Alien Planet May Be Habitable for Life
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2012, 11:10:03 pm »
Quote from: Dragonoake;80147
The planet is only 42 light-years from Earth and may contain liquid water, but scientists do not know whether the world is rocky or gaseous

Scientific American

 
And here is the Universe Today article on the same subject, for those who like to read from more than one source.

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Re: "Super-Earth" Alien Planet May Be Habitable for Life
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 08:14:00 am »
Quote from: Dragonoake;80149
Wouldn't a warm Neptune become unstable, and therefore lose atmosphere, below a certain mass threshold?

It's hard to say as there are so many variables: mass of the planet, type of atmosphere, distance from the star (and type of star), how active the star is, etc.  All planets lose atmosphere, but a smaller gas giant close to a star seems like a candidate for losing atmosphere fairly quickly.
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Re: "Super-Earth" Alien Planet May Be Habitable for Life
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2012, 08:32:55 am »
Quote from: Dragonoake;80147
The planet is only 42 light-years from Earth and may contain liquid water, but scientists do not know whether the world is rocky or gaseous

Scientific American

 
My first thought was "And after the scientists come the corporatists" because a "new planet" will be seen as nothing more than a new place to gather resources and make profit and, unfortunately, scientists tend to lose out to big business.

I'm kind of glad it's so far away.
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Re: "Super-Earth" Alien Planet May Be Habitable for Life
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2012, 03:00:04 pm »
Quote from: dionysiandame;80181
a "new planet" will be seen as nothing more than a new place to gather resources and make profit.


I wouldn't worry too much about that for a while
Space travel is still expensive enough that a solid gold asteroid 42 AUs out wouldn't be practical to go after

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Re: "Super-Earth" Alien Planet May Be Habitable for Life
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2012, 03:05:51 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;80176
It's hard to say as there are so many variable


And, of course, there is the small issue that wouldn't know how much atmosphere it was losing unless it transited the star, thus making my hypothesis difficult to test

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