Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A New, Nearby Earth? Gliese 581C

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A New, Nearby Earth?
Gliese 581C
Gliese 581C- 5.6x Earth's mass means it cannot support intelligent life like ours here on Earth, only simple life like low-lying plants, mosses, perhaps bacteria. All this is assuming, however, we ever managed to get water on the planet and terraform! Sounds....ea...sy...

(Read caption on above) Here you are! Since the birth of astronomy centuries ago, here you go! This is the best planet we have discovered as of 2012 that could possibly support some life if we can dump a few oceans onto it, adjust its temperature ranges, and decrease its gravity substantially. How stooooopid, haha. People like to day dream though, and you can't blame them for imagination, and they sure have a lot!Yet it begs the question, "After centuries of science this the best we have so far?" So, ready to leave Earth for a few centuries of terraforming and building a new civilization of humans that you don't even like? If there were hot alien babes to teach the meaning of love to nearby then whoa, I'd be in that for sure! Well, you should still say no even to hot alien babes, because unless you want to die from the massive gravity of Gliese, then I suggest you relax and do some more reading. It would seem that these are some of the questions plaguing astronomers right this very moment...Is this a new super Earth that we could colonize some day when we have better technology? What scientists mean by statements like this is simply, 1) Is the planet as closely similar to Earth for colonization without terraforming? and, 2) Will the planet's gravity crush humans like road kill?
These are the two biggest concerns with planet searching by astronomers since most planets, believe it or not, are many, many times the mass of Earth. Some planets even seem almost perfect for Earthlings to colonize, but often have gravity that is 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or more times that of Earth! Ok, so before you dismiss what I said as depressing, think of mass like this: Earth's mass is what we call 1.0, so anything below that, say a planet 10% smaller than Earth is said to have a mass of 0.9 (100% - 10%) and another planet may have more, say, having twice the mass, which would be 2.0 (100% + 100%). Now do the math. If you weigh 100lbs on Earth, then on a planet with 2 Earth masses, you'd weigh 200lbs! Seems like a tough deal but hey it's doable, right? When scientists see a planet that is equivalent to 15 Earth's, they completely ignore it since a 145lbs person would weigh 2,175lbs, which is equivalent to walking outside and 4 male African lions all sit on your head and you walk around all day with them weighing your body down. Weights like these are so intense that you couldn't even walk outside without getting completely crushed to death. Not only that, but there are other planets like Earth that actually have 20-30x Earth's mass, where their gravity is so intense that you'd immediately be crushed to the ground with your guts exploding out of you and bones breaking into dust, your guts making a gargantuan puddle for many yards and all of your body's cells would burst and mush flat.
Similarly, for planets that are only double Earth's mass, all the weight on the planet effectively doubles and although very strong humans could potentially survive there, all plants would be crushed, animals would die, and water would be either very difficult to form or impossible to form from under that kind of gravity. So a planet with twice Earth's gravity simply could not support life just because of the water problems, let alone the mushing problems.
This can be a bit depressing because astronomers never find any planets that are remotely like Earth's mass except some uninhabitable moons, asteroids and planetoids that are far too small, basically existing as flying rocks. Not to mention that there are hundreds of criteria for a worthy planet, but these two criteria have proven impossible to find after centuries of studying space, this past 75 years revealing tremendous information on new planets, but nothing of real use. But what about Gliese 581C? Scientists were raving about this planet, plus it's not too far from us if humanity built a fusion pulse starship (is discussed in an article by me called "Project Daedalus"). This planet actually has 5.6 times the mass of Earth. So if you weighed 100lbs on Earth, on Gliese 581C you'd weigh 560lbs. And if you weighed 180lbs, well then you'd weigh 1008lbs!
Let's put it another way, if you were the strongest man on Earth and only weighed 50lbs you still could not survive on that planet. Your body's cells would stretch downward and burst from the gravity even though your muscles might be strong enough to hold you up. Your nose would bleed nonstop and your veins would snap like rubber bands under the downward forces of gravity. Your heart would not be able to pump your blood while standing! Honestly, you'd have an equal chance of breathing in outer space without a spacesuit than living on this planet.
People need to cool their heads in some water when they get excited about Earth-like planets because this is what we continually find. The more we study the universe the more we realize how terrible we are for ruining our own planet, and the more we are forced to face the sad fact that we cannot maintain our current lifestyles. The human way of life is so toxic to the planet, I say, what's the point in going to another planet? We're simply going to ruin that planet anyway. Is our current lifestyle truly this happy and awesome that we need to find another planet to ravage? Is a simpler life really that terrible? No, it is better, but you have to change what you live for in life. Simple people like simple lives because they have simple desires, like a wife and children, a good family to spend time with and some great home cooked meals. The only way the human species will survive this current technological lifestyle is if we all decide to become space travelers and attempt to build starships to colonize other worlds.
No one wants to space travel more than I, and I highly doubt there are many people who are as fascinated by computer technology as I am. Even I admit to myself that the only way we'd go to the stars is if we all banded together as a world to make it work...but human history clearly shows that all civilizations rise and fall, and that no civilization today is exempt from this pattern. Even Ozzy Osbourne sees this hopeless pattern in his song "Dreamer," and he did every drug under Sol.
Any historian will tell you that the history of the world is simply a history
of wars which mark the end of one civilization and the beginning of another....
It's what has been happening for 7,000 years, and it cannot change because we are
so deeply troubled. For all of you who hope for a better human future,
you should know that it is only in Christ that we can find peace and joy!

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