The scientific community largely agrees that there are aliens out there somewhere. Some planets in the outer space might host far more advanced civilizations than us. So, why haven’t aliens been able to contact us or reach earth yet? A startling new study says they might be trapped by gravity on their respective planets. A higher gravitational force could make it difficult for the extraterrestrials to leave their home and explore other planets.
Michael Hippke, an independent researcher affiliated with the Sonneberg Observatory in Germany, says in a new research paper that most of the exoplanets suitable for hosting intelligent life are larger than our own planet. The ‘Super-Earths’ are 1.2 to 2 times larger than earth in diameter. Their mass could sometimes reach up to 10x that of our planet. It leads to doubling up of gravity on the Super-Earths.
On exoplanets that are 2x the earth in diameter, you would weigh twice as much as you do on the earth. Since the gravity there is far stronger than earth, aliens will have a lot of difficulty leaving their home planet if they are using chemical rockets like we do, says Michael Hippke. It means aliens will require huge amounts of fuel to escape their surface gravity and travel into space. Space flight for them might be extremely expensive if they lack high-end technology. Maybe aliens haven’t found their Elon Musk yet.
Hippke tried to figure out how much fuel would be required to launch a giant rocket from the Super-Earths into outer space. Aliens would have to build extremely massive rockets and use a sizable fraction of their resources as fuel for the rocket launch. It would dramatically limit the number of flights to the outer space. Spaceflight on the Super-Earths would be “exponentially more expensive,” said Hippke.
Too many difficulties might be preventing the civilizations from Super-Earths to explore the space. They are “to some extent arrested on their home planet.” Hippke says aliens are more likely to make use of lasers and radio telescopes for interstellar communication rather than sending spaceships or probes.
However, it would not be entirely impossible for them leave their planet. If aliens wanted to send rockets from their planets, the rockets need not necessarily been twice as big as our spacecraft to escape the gravity. As NBC News points out, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket weighs about 1,500 tons, and can take 17 tons of material into deep space. On a planet 2x the diameter of the earth, it would take a rocket weighing 15,000 tons to perform the same task.
That rocket would be about twice as high as the Falcon Heavy rocket or 40% larger than the Saturn V rocket that took astronauts to the moon nearly 50 years ago. It’s not impossible at all. People on Super-Earths could have more diversity of life forms, a thicker atmosphere, and more abundant resources. All these factors should help intelligent life evolve faster than on the earth.
Even if a stronger gravitational force and other challenges delayed the aliens from leaving their planets for a century or two, how does it matter?
Separately, a team of physicists claims to have found evidence of ancient water on the moon. It could offer proof that aliens once roamed around on the moon because water is critical for life to evolve. Researchers from Japan and Germany examined 13 lunar meteorites using advanced microscopes. One of the meteorites called NWA 2727 contained moganite, a mineral containing silicon dioxide.
Moganite on earth forms only when alkaline liquids are trapped under high pressures. The study was published in the Science Advances journal. Last month, astronaut Buzz Aldrin passed a lie-detector test while being quizzed about his encounter with an alien. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first people to set foot on the moon. Aldrin has said on many occasions that he had spotted a UFO on the way to the moon. He said, “There was something out there that was close enough to be observed, sort of L-shaped.”