Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

M-Dwarf Stars May Not Have Habitable Planets

Picky, picky, picky. It appears that we have become so blasť about our ability to discern star systems with planets that we are now winnowing out the uninteresting uninhabited star systems.

An Earth-like planet orbiting an M dwarf -- the most common type of star in the universe -- appears to have no atmosphere at all. This discovery could cause a major shift in the search for life on other planets.

Because M-dwarfs are so ubiquitous, this discovery means a large number of planets orbiting these stars may also lack atmospheres and therefore are unlikely to harbor living things.

The work that led to the revelations about the no-atmosphere planet, named GJ 1252b, are detailed in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

This planet orbits its star twice during the course of a single day on Earth. It is slightly larger than Earth, and it is much closer to its star than Earth is to the sun, making GJ 1252b intensely hot as well as inhospitable.

"The pressure from the star's radiation is immense, enough to blow a planet's atmosphere away," said Michelle Hill, UC Riverside astrophysicist and study co-author.

Earth also loses some of its atmosphere over time because of the sun, but volcanic emissions and other carbon cycling processes make the loss barely noticeable by helping replenish what is lost. However, in greater proximity to a star, a planet cannot keep replenishing the amount being lost.

(Via ScienceDaily.)

Science fiction great E.E. 'Doc' Smith has similar complaints during a manual search for habitable planets described in his 1934 classic Skylark of Valeron:

At the edge of the strange galaxy though they were, many days were required to reduce the intergalactic pace of the vessel to a value at which maneuvering was possible, and many more days passed into time before Crane announced the discovery of a sun which not only possessed a family of planets, but was also within the specified distance of a white dwarf star.

To any Earthly astronomer, whose most powerful optical instruments fail to reveal even the closest star as anything save a dimensionless point of light, such a discovery would have been impossible, but Crane was not working with Earthly instruments. For the fourth-order projector, although utterly useless at the intergalactic distances with which Seaton was principally concerned, was vastly more powerful than any conceivable telescope.

Driven by the full power of a disintegrating uranium bar, it could hold a projection so steadily at a distance of twenty light-years that a man could manipulate a welding arc as surely as though it was upon a bench before him which, in effect, it was-and in cases in which delicacy of control was not an object, such as the present quest for such vast masses as planets, the projector was effective over distances of many hundreds of light-years.

Thus it came about that the search for a planetiferous sun near a white dwarf star was not unduly prolonged, and Skylark Two tore through the empty ether toward it.

I also think that the scientists of today should take note of the word "planetiferous" and add it to the scientific argot of our time.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/1/2023)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1955.

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.' - Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.

SpaceX Wants A Moonbase Alpha
'And he had been sent with troops, supplies and bombs to command Russia's most trusted post, the Moonbase.' - L. Ron Hubbard, 1948.

NASA Wants Self-Driving Or Remote-Controlled Vehicles For Lunar Astronauts
'THE autobus turned silently down the wide street of Hydropole. Robot-guided, insulated from noise and cold...'

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

NYC/Dublin Portal Fails To Meet 'Guardian Of Forever' Standards
I am the Guardian of Forever.

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

The FLUTE Project - A Huge Liquid Mirror In Space
'It's area, and its consequent light-gathering capacity, was many times greater than any rigid mirror...'

Robot Preachers Found To Undermine Religious Commitment
'Tell me your torments,' the Padre said, in an elderly voice marked with compassion.

CyberCab - Tesla Renames The Robotaxi
'A cybercab dogged their heels...'

SpaceHopper Microgravity Robot Lands On Its Feet
'...a slender-legged tripod surmounted by a spherical body no larger than a football.'

Brin's 1990 Novel Earth Still Full Of Predictions
'... making the point that their likenesses, every move they made, were being transmitted.'

'Whisper Mode' ala Blue Thunder Researched At Bristol
'Forest Lawn.'

Gaia - Why Stop With Just The Earth?
'But the stars are only atoms in larger space, and in that larger space the star-atoms could combine to form living matter, thinking matter, couldn't they?'

Microsoft VASA-1 Creates Personal Video From A Photo
'...to build up a video picture would require, say, ten million decisions every second. Mike, you're so fast I can't even think about it. But you aren't that fast.'

Splendid View Of Eclipse From Orbit Visualized And Repurposed By Arthur C. Clarke
'The area affected was five hundred kilometres across, and perfectly circular.'

Bespoke Environment Music From AIs
'Call 'em Winter Mute," said the other, making it two words.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.