Aliens may be using rogue planets as spaceships

according to one study published in the International Journal of Astrobiology (opens in new tab)aliens could use rogue planets – wandering worlds that were kicked out of the system in which they originated like a snooker ball by some gravitational event, or were formed externally – as alternatives to spacecraft.

The study comes from a Houston Community College physics and astronomy professor named Irina Romanovskaya, who said Motherboard (opens in new tab) that since rogue planets are difficult to detect in the interstellar darkness between systems, there could be a substantial number of them out there. “This raises the chance that some advanced extraterrestrial civilizations, if they exist, could hitch a ride on floating planets,” said Romanovskaya. “That’s why I call these hypothetical civilizations Cosmic Riders.”

Although they weren’t extracting energy from a star like regular planets, apparently these nomadic worlds could still be habitable. They may have subsurface oceans, atmospheres with enough hydrogen to preserve them, and enough waste heat to provide energy for a substantial period of time.

Sounds like a great idea for a video game, and indeed, there have been games about rogue planets. Starquake, first released on ZX Spectrum in 1985, had you trying to stabilize a rogue planet before it imploded, and Metroid Prime 2 was set on a rogue planet with a dark extradimensional twin, which isn’t a concept that has that much basis. in science.

Romanovskaya’s hypothesis is based on more solid principles: that rogue planets have advantages over spacecraft, such as coming with their own resources and habitats, and not needing artificial gravity. They can also provide an escape for the denizens of an aging system, who can even use the momentum of a dying star to propel a world on the fringes of their system into the depths of space.

From there, it’s a matter of waiting until you get close enough to another system with a habitable world, like ours, and then using regular spacecraft to make the shortest jump. As Romanovskaya said, “There are no traffic lights in the Galaxy. If the Solar System is in the path of some floating planet, the planet will not stop at a red light. It will fly through the Solar System.”

A final idea from Romanovskaya’s study immediately suggests an intriguing video game: A rogue planet used by alien hitchhikers who abandoned it, or didn’t survive the trip, could end up floating around in wide orbit. As Romanovskaya writes: “If a free floating planet carrying extraterrestrial species or their technologies were gravitationally captured by a planetary system with the help of extraterrestrial technologies, then the captured floating planet would hold interstellar travelers or their artifacts. captured floating planet residing as wide-orbiting planets in the outer regions of planetary systems.”

The idea of ​​exploring a dead planet on the fringes of the Solar System to discover alien technology sounds like something out of Mass Effect, or maybe Dead Space. Of course, if this has already happened in reality, I would prefer it not to look so much like Dead Space.

Thanks, Motherboard (opens in new tab).

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