Valerians, Your Heavy Gravity Planet Has Been Found

Researchers from University of Hertfordshire and the University of Goettingen have found a hitherto unknown heavy gravity world that is in the habitable zone to support life - and Dutch colonists from Earth.


( Super-Earth HD40307g alongside its host star [Credit: J. Pinfield])

Star HD40307 has been checked out before, and in the first investigation, three massive planets were found - but all of them were fiery worlds orbiting too close to their sun to have water or life on their surfaces.

Now, astronomers Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire and Guillem Anglada-Escude of the University of Goettingen have found three more planets in the system, one in the habitable zone of the star, where liquid water could exist.

"The longer orbit of the new planet means that its climate and atmosphere may be just right to support life," Hugh Jones, also a researcher at Hertfordshire, said. "Just as Goldilocks liked her porridge to be neither too hot nor too cold but just right, this planet or indeed any moons that it has lie in an orbit comparable to Earth, increasing the probability of it being habitable."

The boffins calculate that HD40307g has about seven times the mass of Earth, and lies at such a distance from HD40307 that it isn't "tidally locked" with one face constantly pointed at its sun - thus it has days and nights, and is potentially much more hospitable to life. The scientists don't know how large it is, or even for sure that it is a rocky world like ours, which makes it hard to say just how strong the gravity on the surface might be. However it seems safe to say that if the planet is indeed rocky it probably has a much stronger surface gravity than Earth does - probably several Gs or more, depending how much larger it is, which would make it hard for un-adapted humans to live there (having got there somehow). Any resident aliens or future human colonists would probably be extremely physically powerful compared to Earth residents, along the lines of the heavy-world people or lifeforms found in science fiction*.

EE 'Doc' Smith was one of many science fiction authors who were fascinated with the idea of habitable planets with heavy gravity; he wrote about dutch colonists from a heavy gravity planet called Valeria in his 1937 classic Galactic Patrol:

Sergeant Peter van Buskirk led the storming party of Valerians-men of human ancestry, but of extraordinary size, strength, and agility because of the enormous gravitation of the planet Valeria-in wiping out those of the pirate crew not killed in the battle between the two vessels.

Another example is Jinx, one of Larry Niven's creations from his Known Space stories. Jinx is a satellite of a gas giant named Binary in the Sirius A system. Jinx has a surface gravity of about 1.78 times Earth normal.

Via the Register; thanks to an anonymous tipster who clued me into this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/9/2012)

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 ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.' - Robert Heinlein, 1939.

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...' - Frederic Arnold Kummer, Jr., 1940.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks' - Robert Heinlein, 1948.

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.' - Nat Schachner, 1937.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.'

LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'

Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

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.