September 16, 2014
More Like Earth? Exoplanet Scientists Weight In
Super-Earths at several times larger than our own planet are thought to be covered entirely in water. However, a new study challenges that. A new model created by researchers at Northwestern University took into account the effects of seafloor pressure and the high gravity of exoplanets. On our own planet, water is moved between oceans and the Earth’s mantle. The division of this water is determined by seafloor pressure, which is relative to gravity. In their model, they found that as the size of the super-Earth increases, gravity and seafloor pressure also go up, which would expose land. They said that they could put 80 times more water on a super-Earth and still have its surface look like Earth. But they said there is two slight problems with their model—they don’t have knowledge of super-Earth’s tectonics and the amount of water Earth actually has in its mantle.
[ Read the Article: Super Earths May Be More Like Our Planet Than Previously Theorized ]