Skip to comments.New Type of Alien Planet Is a Steamy 'Waterworld'
Posted on 02/25/2012 4:22:01 PM PST by KevinDavis
To date, astronomers have discovered more than 700 planets beyond our solar system, with about 2,300 more "candidates" awaiting confirmation by follow-up observations.
(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...
In the isothermal atmosphere model, the pressure doubling depth is kT/mg, and this is not so much different on the hypothetical steam planet than on earth.
g is almost the same, using the figures of 2.7 earth radii and 7 earth masses from the article. m is the mass of an atmospheric molecule, so this is less by about 18/28. kT is bigger by about 400/300, so that is just about double the exponential scale for earth’s atmosphere.
( All calculations subject to revision! )
I get about 18km for the steam planet, meaning that about 66 km above the vapor/liquid surface in the 446F steam atmosphere we should reach a pressure of 1 atmosphere, then 66km above that 1/40 atmosphere, and so on.
So, in terms of brute physics, it could be called “earthlike”.
No doubt the result of uncontrolled planetary warming caused by the oppressive sapient species ..
DNA would have come up with some solution to the sleep problem ~ and being a planet quite a bit larger than Earth, the twilight zone is going to be quite a bit of territory for life to DO STUFF.
Only big problem I see in this is the highwinds flowing from cold to hot, or hot to cold, at various altitudes. They could very well drive ocean currents that would create some high stress regions ~
So, what to do with these planets ~ if there really are as many of them out there as we think?
We probably want to stay away from them since they may already be spoken for by more advanced civilizations ~ this stuff, after all, would constitute most of the best real estate in the cosmos. Second best are the various Dyson Spheres we may have already discovered (large black circular areas emitting infrared and nothing else ~ that's a Dyson Sphere with an internal central star Fur Shur). We are not likely to find those places hospitable either.
Could be as johnny come latelys we may need to focus instead on "Dark matter worlds" ~ out of sight, otherwise desolate, but amenable to human use if we can get some new, cheap, LENR on line).
Like I said, the variables are nearly limitless.
Personally I like the idea of a red dwarf orbiting a sunlike star at a distance far enough out to allow a stable planetary orbit. This one mean one side of the planet would be in perpetual sunlight while the other side would have a day night cycle equal to its year. A 3 day orbit around the dwarf would mean 36 hours of day and 36 hours of night.
Obviously you would need an atmosphere capable of holding heat. An ocean covering enough of the planet to transport heat around the planet would be necessary.
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