For a long time we thought our Solar system was the standard for the planets which we can find in the Universe. The inner, solid worlds, prevailing in the hottest part of the Solar system with big gaseous planets are rotating much further. The largest of these solid planets is, of course, the Earth, the smallest gas giant — Uranus, the difference in mass between them 17 times, while Uranus is four times bigger than Earth in radius. Imagine what was the surprise of scientists, when we began to open exoplanets. Among them were not only the planets of different sizes and masses, of which there are in the Solar system and was not, but most of them were presented turned out to be the most common type of planets: super-earths. In our Solar system is actually… there.
This class of planets — super-earths — is placed in the category of the masses from two to ten earth (with appropriate radius) and exceeds in number any other class of planets, including planets like Neptune, Jupiter, Earth (and less) and others that we could find. Along with this discovery came many questions. For example:
– What are these worlds more like Earth with a solid surface and thin atmosphere, or Uranium, with a thick gas blanket?
– Do they have large amounts of hydrogen and helium, or these elements are too light to escape their gravitational pull?
– Whether they are potentially habitable and fit life like ours, or conditions totally unsuitable for life?
According to the latest numerous reports and recent presentations by NASA, you might think that the answer to the last question is “Yes” and these worlds are suitable for the realization of our extraterrestrial dreams. But the cold, hard look at the scientific facts — and for physics beyond the planetary science, puts an end to this unambiguous. In fact, modern science tells us that the idea of a “super-Earth” is not tenable. But until we actually can find a life in another world — or to learn more about the planets that have just begun to discover — we don’t know what conditions are required for intelligent life and which ones are just a Fluke. When we classify exoplanets as a planet earth-like, we look at its radius, how much energy it receives from its star.
Yesterday you might have thought that there was something out of the ordinary, but in fact expectations were a bit inflated. We found seven interesting exoplanets, but not one iota closer to finding this “super-earths” and even more “habitable super-earths”.
In the past, we used to say that if the worlds are approximately similar in size to Earth and get about the same amount of energy per square meter as the Earth, they will be similar to Earth, they are earth-like or earth-like. But this conclusion we made before got enough data to it to clarify. Although the NASA mission Kepler provides us with plenty of information about the radius and orbital parameters of the planet, it is almost impossible to say whether this planet is gaseous (like Uranus or Neptune) or solid as the Earth, not by measuring its weight. But thanks to the subsequent observations of the attraction of the planets to their star, we got this mass of hundreds of such worlds. And it turned out terrible.
It turned out that the transition from the “solid” planet to the “gas” occurs at twice the earth’s mass. If your exoplanets will be a mass two times larger than the earth and she will receive the same amount of energy from the star, you will almost certainly get a permanent hydrogen-helium sheath gas, which creates atmospheric pressure, in the hundreds or thousands of times bigger than that which we have the honor to experience on the Earth’s surface. The hope is that super-earths are like our Earth, disappears without a trace, and we can safely put super-earths, mini-Neptune and naturopathy worlds in the same category.
However, we can find solid worlds, which are much more Land. They can even be called “solid supersense” if you want, but they will be even more hostile to the inhabitants of our green planet. You see, if you take the world by type of Neptune, which would be too close to their star, the intensity of radiation light will vaporize not only hydrogen and helium, but also large part of the atmosphere of this world. Will remain tight, solid world like mercury, only much more mass and size than even the Earth. If you place Jupiter is very close to the Sun, its entire envelope of gas will boil and will leave behind a solid super-earths.
No matter under what sauce to submit, super-earths will never be like Earth. If you move away from the Sun to get the temperature close to the earth, you will find yourself buried under a thick layer of the atmosphere. If you get too close to boil the atmosphere, the world will be toasted.
The most common mass planets in the Universe may not be represented in our Solar system, but perfectly demonstrate that even be called a world “super-earths” — bias. Scientists Jingjing Chen and David Kipping remind us:
“A large number of planets with 2-10 earth masses are often cited as evidence that super-earths are very common and that the view of the Solar system is very unusual… However, if you shift the boundary between earth and Neptune worlds to 2 earth mass, the Solar system will no longer look unusual. Three of the eight planets in the Solar system, in our definition, represent the the Neptune worlds, which are very common near other stars like ours”.
In General, if you believe in the existence of habitable (or potentially habitable) supertall (that is, planets slightly more, but still as the Earth), concludes. Solid, gaseous, super-earths are not suitable for people, alas.
However, this does not mean that we are alone.