July 12, 2018

A Home for Liberals - Ross 128 B

Dana Mathewson

Remember all those Hollywood liberals who insist that they're going to move to Canada (or some other place) every time we elect a Republican president? Well, here's a better place for them to go: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2018/07/12/nearby-alien-planet-may-be-capable-supporting-li fe.html  Let 'em take all their unearned millions and terraform the place.

A couple of points to ponder on this. First, Ross 128 B is likely a flare sun; most red dwarf stars are. And that means deadly radiation would occasionally smite the planet's surface. It seems doubtful there would be any surface life - although it may be possible under oceans or under ground. Second, the planet would likely be tidally locked, so it would either have one face eternally in sunlight and one in darkness (like the Moon faces the Earth) or it could rotate but it would probably be a slow rotation. Since red dwarf stars tend to be very old the tidal lock would probably be in place by now.  Finally, the star's solar wind would be intense so at such short range and it may well have torn any atmosphere right off. so Ross 128 B may be an airless world.

It also could be a fire world, like Jupiter's moon Io. Being in so close an orbit could lead to heavy volcanism. It would depend on the composition of the planet, of course. There are no known sister planets in the system, so it seems unlikely there are great tidal forces on the planet other than from the star itself.

Ross 128 is 10,89 light years away, making it the second closest terrestrial type planet (next to  one orbiting the red dwarf Proxima Centauri.) Still, 11 light years is a long, long, long, long, long way away.  And don't look for it unless you have a telescope; the star (in Virgo) is invisible to the unaided eye.

BTW, Ross 128 is featured in the 1984 novel "Across the Sea of  Suns" by Gregory Benford.

I'm not making any plans for trip there soon.

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