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  • Would you ever want to buy your own planet?

  • Even if it was just the size of a house?

  • It could be the perfect vacation spot!

  • Unbeatable privacy and breathtaking views,

  • what more could you ask for?

  • Well, before you go signing the mortgage,

  • there are a few things you'd want to consider.

  • To figure out what life would be like on a tiny,

  • house-sized planet,

  • you'd have to find one first.

  • But the smallest planet we've discovered

  • so far, Kepler-37b,

  • is still about the size of our moon.

  • So maybe you're better off looking

  • at an asteroid instead.

  • They're not technically planets, but

  • they can be as small as 10 m (33 ft) wide,

  • so they fit the physical properties you're looking for.

  • But there are a lot of asteroids out there,

  • so how do you pick the best one to live on?

  • The main asteroid belt in our Solar System

  • orbits the sun roughly between Mars and Jupiter.

  • It contains three different types of asteroids:

  • stony, carbonaceous and metallic.

  • The kind that you'd be looking for is carbonaceous,

  • because those asteroids are usually made up of 10 percent water,

  • which can be broken down into oxygen for breathing.

  • How about this one?

  • It's about 10 meters (33 feet) wide, just the size you were looking for.

  • It almost seems a little too convenient, doesn't it?

  • Well, that convenience wouldn't last long.

  • Once you'd landed on your new, tiny planet,

  • you'd realize that the conditions are a lot different from what you're used to.

  • For starters, your feet would feel a lot heavier than your head.

  • That's because your tiny planet's gravitational force would be so weak,

  • that you would also experience the feeling of other gravitational forces pulling you upward.

  • The other forces wouldn't be strong enough to pull you off the planet,

  • but they would result in you feeling a mild stretching sensation

  • as they compete with the gravity of your planet.

  • Speaking of gravity,

  • you'd also have to be careful how quickly you move around on this planet,

  • because if you move too fast,

  • you could escape its gravitational pull.

  • Every planet has something called an escape velocity,

  • which refers to the minimum speed an object must have to escape its gravitational field.

  • On a planet this size, the escape velocity would be 5 meters (16 feet) per second.

  • That means that you could technically leave the planet

  • by getting a running start and leaping off a ramp,

  • and then you'd be floating off into space.

  • But assuming you're not going to try that, you're going to be here for a while,

  • and you should probably start figuring out how to survive.

  • The first thing to worry about is where you're getting your food.

  • I hope you like veggies, because any meat is pretty much out of the question.

  • Not only would you have to bring some livestock

  • along with you through space successfully,

  • you'd also have to find enough room to keep them,

  • and grow food for them,

  • and you don't have much room to begin with.

  • For the vegetarian option,

  • you could bring something similar to what NASA uses on the International Space Station.

  • It's called the Vegetable Production System,

  • and it's a garden that's about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage

  • that can hold six plants.

  • It's specifically designed to grow plants and vegetables in microgravity conditions.

  • No, you wouldn't have the most exciting menu on your rocky retreat,

  • but at least it would keep you alive.

  • Now before you go trying to figure out anything else,

  • there's something you might want to see.

  • A 2019 study published in The Astrophysical Journal states that

  • any planet smaller than 2.7 percent of Earth's mass would lose its atmosphere,

  • and any liquid water it might have, due to a lack of gravitational force.

  • Even 2.7 percent of Earth's mass is still double the mass of the Moon,

  • so your tiny planet would be without those- two major components for sustaining life.

  • If your planet can't hold an atmosphere, then you wouldn't be able to breathe,

  • and you wouldn't have protection from the harmful radiation of space.

  • Maybe buying yourself a tiny planet wouldn't be a great idea after all.

  • If you want a vacation in space,

  • you're probably better off waiting for space hotels to be built,

  • but that's a story for another WHAT IF.

Would you ever want to buy your own planet?


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B1 中級

小惑星に住んでいたら? (What If You Lived on an Asteroid?)

  • 3 1
    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日