Archive for the ‘Gravity’ Tag

What if Earth Had a Growth Spurt!   Leave a comment

“Super-Earth’s” are faraway planets are about the size of Earth (between 2 and 10 times larger), belong to other solar systems and reside close to their own stars. These super earths are rocky worlds, smaller than gas giants like Neptune and Uranus, and sporting relatively thin atmospheres. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, over a 4 year period discovered numerous examples of these super Earth’s.

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So, what on earth would happen if Earth had a sudden growth spurt and became a super-Earth? how would our suddenly giant super-size Earth affect its inhabitants? Everything including humans would be little short, squat versions of their/our current selves! If planetary size increases but everything on the planet remains the same gravity increases proportionally. So, if Earth suddenly doubled in size humans would immediately double their weight due to the pull of gravity on us also doubling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There would be far too much gravitational pressure for our previously tall and upstanding bodies to deal with and to do so would involve a lot more energy to resist it.

A super-sized big fat Earth would be the proud possessor of a super-strong field of gravity. Nice! But unfortunately, this would mean we would have the not-so-nice job of having to deal with a decidedly unwanted increase in the number of head-on collisions with thoroughly undesirable asteroids. Lots of them!

“As a superplanet, Earth’s greater gravitational pull would effectively attract more and larger asteroids, so “Armageddon-type” collisions would become more of a concern than they are now” – Rory Barnes, theorist studying planet habitability at the University of Washington

If our super-Earth was around 10 times bigger than its normal, perfectly reasonable size this could set-off a whole bunch of spectacular changes inside our cosy, if not rather overly large planet. The Earth has a core made of iron and boasts a liquid mantle on its outside. Due to its largely unexplained and somewhat curious upgrade to a super earth both the core and the mantle would also swell proportionally, to be 10 times their normal size – eek! Not to be out done gravity would increase 10-fold leading to a pressure increase beneath Earth’s surface. This could lead to solidifying of the iron core.

Magnetic Fields

Normal size, squidgy, little Earth has a semi-liquid core complete with convection currents and it is from here Earth’s magnetic field is generated. Magnetic fields are quite handy things to have hanging around therefore, should Earth’s friendly little core decide solidifying was a pretty cool idea we would be faced with a highly unfavourable problem. The convection currents, along with the trusty magnetic field (planetary shield) could become much weaker than they are on normal sized Earth, or worst-case scenario, could disappear altogether, which is seriously bad news for every life form that calls Earth its home. Ooh err!

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Image Credit: Free stock photos – pexels.com (Image contains 2 photos)

 

 

 

Volcanic Activity

Another question with our shiny super-sized earth with its newly enlarged interior is the potential for a dangerous upsurge in volcanic activity. The expanded core contains higher levels of energy than little normal sized Earth but now it would have fewer outflows for all this extra energy it has gained, leading to more volcanic eruptions. (Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io comes to mind at this point!)

Our plate tectonics, would be different too. A larger and therefore much hotter mantle might increase convection current activity, also increasing plate movement. Alternatively, the high pressure might meld the crust together meaning there would be no plate tectonics at all.

Steam Planet

In fact, there are no guarantees that any form of life would be able to exist on our great big super-Earth. Most super-Earths detected by the Kepler space telescope were situated at nearly the same distance to their star as Mercury lies to our sun. (Think furnaces!) In this scenario our newly super-sized Earth would turn into a giant steamy planet!

References: https://www.livescience.com/what-if-super-earth.html

What If We “Got Shot” of the Moon? :   23 comments

 

No “Year In Review” From WordPress….So!

What If We “Got Shot” of the Moon?!!

‘The geological history of the moon and Earth are intimately tied together such that the Earth would be a dramatically different planet without the moon.’

It would? So what exactly would happen if we just got rid of it altogether and there was no moon? Which there probably wasn’t so far as many of us were concerned over Christmas! But say we blew it up?!! Blasted it completely out of the sky? After all do we actually need this shiny ball in the sky anyway?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Birth of a New Ring World Earth Surprised smile

All those tiny fragments of blown up moon would be far too small to stick back together and create a new, if rather misshapen and little moon, which would have at least managed a near normal gravitational pull on Earth…important scientific detail….

A lovely ring would form around Earth consisting of little lumps of moon shrapnel …very, very tiny ones…very pretty but trouble is they wouldn’t be content with staying out there in space. Oh no, they would much rather make a regular and devastatingly determined habit of periodically hurtling out of their ring-world and slam-dunking into the Earth’s surface, bombarding us with meteorites that should otherwise never have thought of coming anywhere near us…oh dear! Moulton moon rain, cities destroyed, countries obliterated….

Moon formedImage NASA JPL-CaltechOn top of which, if we have blown the moon sky high all those particularly dangerous outer space meteorites that had previously hammered the moon’s surface would no longer have anything to prevent them making a bee-line for Earth, happily re-creating the Moon’s surface on the home-world! Great! Craters everywhere… Even more cities destroyed, countries obliterated….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Axial Tilt of Earth Eye rolling smile

In between moon rocks and meteorite bombardments from the rest of the cosmos, Earth, minus the moon’s gravitational pull would develop a wobble…it had a little one before but it was stabilised by the Moon, which also protected it from the gravitational pull of the other planets…now it would have a huge wobble, and be pulled one way by Mars and another way by Jupiter – our planetary neighbours. Consequently with no moon to slow Earth’s orbit down we would be flying merrily around the sun in a wildly unhinged and erratic orbit…. shortening Earth’s day from 24 hours to only 8 – 10 hours.

Catastrophic seasonal changes Disappointed smile

moon_asexuality.orgOn top of which whilst currently we are worrying about global warming and climate change….or at least those of us with a scrap of common sense are, with the moon gone these problems will seem trivial….of course to the uneducated or just plain stupid they already are, but you “aint seen nothing yet!!”

Earth would be a very, very different place. As it would now be rotating so much faster, 160-200 km winds would be zooming across Earth’s surface.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Earth’s now unstable axial tilt, we would see dramatic environmental changes over the course of thousands-millions of years – the loss of our conventional seasons and radical modifications in temperature would cause wide-ranging consequences for the growth of plant life and crops. This in turn would create some major headaches and very thorny problems for producing food for the billions of people dwelling on Earth. The animal world would have to adapt pretty quickly to a much shorter life pattern in terms of mating, migration and hibernation.

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Moreover, the changing temperatures would lead to the loss of Earth’s N and S Poles. To an extent this is already happening but in such circumstances melting ice would have a hugely dramatic effect on the oceans which would rise to a point where they change the all the world’s coastlines.

Life on Earth both in countries and in cities would have no choice but to adapt pretty drastically in order to survive or disappear into extinction.

 

Tidal Chaos Confused smile

With no moon to affect the tides, which show a configuration related to the lunar phase cycle, Earth’s oceans would become very tranquil and still. Solar tides would have a very small effect; about half that of the Moon, so there would be the odd wave or two. (Assuming we hadn’t blown the Sun up as well 😉 ) Tides were also important in life’s early stages of evolution so this would be terrible news for sea life which would rapidly become extinct. Barely-there tides do not mix oceans which therefore do not circulate nutrients required for sea-life’s survival…so fishermen would quickly go out of business and no –one would be microwaving their “Fisherman’s Pies” ever again!

Game Over_Image Credit fpif.org_Photo Mykl Roventine-Flickr

     Not quite the useless lump rock some people seem to think it is then! Be right back

Happy New Year 2016!

Sources: spaceanswers.com

dailymail.co.uk

Solar Eclipse News….The View From Europa!!   15 comments

 

 

Solar Eclipse 2015 – The View from Europa! Smile

     

 

                                            View from Europa

 

                    The view from Europa was somewhat better than the view from Earth…. that view was pretty rubbish Winking smile

 

             solar-eclipse-2015-from Europa      View from Europa 2_Solar Eclipse 2015

In fact the view from Earth left an awful lot to be desired….

                                              View from Earth-Rubbish!                          

 

                                              Eerie Solar Eclipse Light_from Earth

 

A slight change in the shade of grey might possibly have been considered an eerie solar eclipse light… And at least one or two pretty cool Wolfie Herr Selfies resulted from the moment of eerie lightness….and what might possibly have been considered a change in the wind direction…as to the predicted drop in temperature – given that it was already sub zero no shivering icewolf would have noticed the 3 degree difference.

 

                                                        Solar Eclipse Herr Wolfie Selfie!Solar Eclipse Herr Wolfie Selfie2!

 

The solar eclipse was also responsible for the “super-tide” –that afflicted UK, Earth – “the tide of the century!”.  The rare alignment of the Moon, Sun and Earth resulting in a giant gravitational pull on the sea. This created high tides leading to UK-wide flood warnings , It also led to the River Thames in London bursting its banks. Coastline flood warnings and typical cold, wet and windy British weather is now expected to last all week long Smile