Planet Buster Dead Star Vaporizes Mini-Planet

Scientists using NASA’s Kepler space telescope (the K2 mission) have uncovered strong evidence of an object being torn apart as it spirals around a white dwarf star.


( object vaporizes as it orbits a white dwarf star )

The devastated planetesimal, or cosmic object formed from dust, rock, and other materials, is estimated to be the size of a large asteroid, and is the first planetary object to be confirmed transiting a white dwarf. It orbits its white dwarf, WD 1145+017, once every 4.5 hours. This orbital period places it extremely close to the white dwarf and its searing heat and shearing gravitational force.

"For the last decade we’ve suspected that white dwarf stars were feeding on the remains of rocky objects, and this result may be the smoking gun we’re looking for,” said Fergal Mullally, staff scientist of K2 at SETI and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

One of my favorite science fiction expressions is "planet buster" - a weapon so powerful it can destroy a planet. I first read it in Frank Herbert's quirky but excellent 1972 novel The Godmakers:

We'll take up a tight orbit. Out beyond us will be five transports full of I-A marines plus a Class IX Monitor with one planet-buster...

However, as far as I know, the first reference to the term is from a great story, Assignment to Aldebaran (1953) by Kendall Foster Crossen.

"One of our largest space bombers was over the planet. The commander warned the Aldebarans that unless they agreed to surrender the diamonds at once, he would drop a planet buster - that’s a Class-A oxygen bomb. The Aldebaran’s return message, expressed in the crudest possible language, told the commander what he could do with the bomb.”
(Read more about the planet buster)

Via NASA. Thanks to @nyrath of Project Rho for tweeting about this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/9/2016)

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 ")

When Will We See The First Space Hotel?
'The heart of it was a vast hexagonal structure of welded metal, ten miles across...' - Jack Williamson, 1939.

SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.

A Floating Cosmodrome
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.' - Otfrid von Hanstein, 1930.

Space-Based Solar Power Roundup
Who first thought about this concept?

 

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

Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...'

FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.

Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed. For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'

Google Commits To Fighting Deepfakes
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

China Accused Of Harvesting Organs From Unwanted Groups
'The death penalty was his immortality, and he would vote the death penalty for any crime at all.'

Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.

When Will We See The First Space Hotel?
'The heart of it was a vast hexagonal structure of welded metal, ten miles across...'

SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.

Mindar The Robot Buddhist Priest Offers A Blessing
'Not working is the hardest work of all.'

Does Your Company Need A 'Chief Dreamer'?
As far as the future is concerned 'they're the only experts we have'.

Helios Modular Touch Screen Wall Lights
'The walls and ceiling bore an irregular spacing of illuminum tiles...'

Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'

Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

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.