Intense Gravity of Super-Earths Could Trap Aliens on Their Home Planet

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Gravity is the force of attraction between one object and another.  Everything has a gravitational pull to it but it is only really observed at the macroscopic scale with stellar bodies.  This article may give an explanation as to why it is likely we won’t see extraterrestrial life from larger rocky planets.   The article explains how for a planet with higher gravity cause a problem with our method of escaping a planet’s gravity which would be the same problem sentient life on those super-earths.  Escape velocity is how fast an object has to be moving to escape the gravitational pull of another object, the earth having an escape velocity of 11.2 km/s which equates to about mach 33 or 10 times the speed of a bullet leaving the muzzle of a rifle.  These larger planets can have escape velocities that are two or three times that of earth which is a problem for chemical propulsion.  The example the article gives is if trying to send up a 6.6 ton satellite from one of these planets, Keplar-20b, would take the equivalent weight of full as a fully loaded WWII battleship.  Another issue is that many of these planets would at best be an archipelago of islands but most would tend to be shallow ocean worlds.  Launching from the ocean is feasible and would be akin to launching an ICBM.  A more reliable way to escape would be nuclear powered rockets or solar sails to even reach a medium orbit above the planet, where it would then make sense to build a space elevator.


This shows how we have a very unique circumstance that many take for granted today.  If we lived on one of these super-planets we may never have been able to send people into space or even have the extensive satellite network and all the perks that go with it.  It does however still allow hope that there may be life on these planets, we just need a way to go down and visit without getting stuck on said planets.  It’s a problem that isn’t really thought of when it comes to space travel, except for scientists and engineers, and will be something we will have to solve once we start exploring the galaxy.