New Paper Says Aliens Might Slingshot Themselves Off Super-Earths
Ok, so last month, scientists posited the idea that maybe we haven’t met any aliens yet, because they live on a “Super-Earth” sized planet, and gravity there is so strong that it’s prevented them from having a successful space program. But now, a new paper has provided a solution to that problem: a slingshot.
Astrophysicist Michael Hippke, made the astute observation that it would be pretty difficult to launch a rocket from a Super-Earth sized planet, due to its high surface gravity and the extreme amount of power needed to achieve escape velocity.
This came in light of the recent discovery that Super-Earths, or rocky planets around 10 times the size of Earth, are the most common planets in solar systems we’ve observed so far. In fact, scientists believe they’ve just recently discovered one in our own solar system.
These planets would also have thicker atmospheres, shielding the surface from dangerous cosmic radiation and solar activity, creating even more favorable conditions for life to flourish. In short, there’s a really good chance life exists on those planets, and we’ve pinpointed about 1,000 of them.
That’s why scientists want to study them, but if there’s an indirect observation that could rule them out, why waste time? That was the point of Hippke’s observation and it provided a relatively new answer to the Fermi Paradox; if the universe is so vast, why haven’t we made contact with or observed extraterrestrial life?
But now in a riposte to Hippke, a new paper has argued that one way of overcoming such intense gravity would be a slingshot assist to traditional rocket propulsion, otherwise referred to as a tether-assisted space launch system. With a Super-Earth planet, it would require more than double the escape velocity and about 104 times the amount of fuel required to leave Earth. But not if you only need to get half way there…
This hypothetical tether would be attached to what’s described as a “skyhook” rotating with the planet’s orbital velocity. At some point the tether attached to the hook would pause momentarily at a lower altitude, allowing a launched rocket to dock with it, before being flung into orbit. This would save a significant amount of fuel and allow the rocket to use the planet’s gravity as an assist.
This idea seems to piggyback off the concept of a space elevator, although the paper acknowledges that a Super-Earth’s gravity would pull too hard on a space elevators cables to make the idea feasible. The material needed to build a tether that strong has yet to become a reality here on Earth, but scientists working with carbon nanotubes think they may have something soon.
If these hypothetical arguments just sound like sci-fi conjecture, it’s because they are, at least for now. But they could form the basis for future innovations in rocket propulsion, interplanetary space flight, and hopefully, discovering alien life.
Alex R. Howe, the author of this recent paper seems to hint that the concept of a tether-assist could be implemented with modern technology and would be especially useful for interplanetary travel, where fuel weight is such a tricky variable. Will Elon Musk take note?
Billy Meier: The Controversial Contactee
In 1942, five-year-old Eduard Albert Meier — later known as “Billy” Meier — wandered far from the bucolic farms and sweeping countryside of the Swiss town of Bülach, and deep into the woods. Here he came upon an elderly-looking gentleman named Sfath, who was standing in the dense forest wearing garb that resembled a deep-sea diving suit without the helmet.
Despite the man’s odd appearance, the little boy did not fear him, and the two struck up a conversation — telepathically. This was to be the first of what Meier claimed to have been lifelong interactions with beings from other planets.
Now an icon in the UFO community, Meier has gained a loyal following of those who readily accept his claim that he is the seventh world prophet, in the footsteps of Enoch, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jesus, and Mohammed, heralding the coming of World Wars, intergalactic discoveries, environmental disasters, and more.
Vehemently condemned by skeptics, yet worshipped by those who’ve taken to heart his many encounters of the fifth kind, and thousands of published documents, Meier has garnered the attention of a global audience.
Billy Meier: A Peculiar Young Man
Meier was born to an ordinary family with loving parents who raised him and his siblings in a quaint village previously unknown for anything extraordinary. As a small boy, like other children, he would play in the nearby woods, where his otherworldly relationship with Sfath would strengthen and last for eleven years. According to Meier, the two would hold conversations either outside, or with numerous other individuals on Sfath’s spacecraft.
Sfath became Meier’s first teacher and the one who would lead him to countless interactions with other alien beings. Meier claims to have traveled the world over on Sfath’s spacecraft, meeting various earthly leaders with whom Sfath was acquainted, including the venerable Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.