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"Mega Earth" discovered
Many of the properties of Kepler-10c are dependent on the planet's formation history. For example, if the world formed in its current orbit, then the availability of water vapor would be minimal, leading to a hot, dry planet with a primarily hydrogen-helium reduced atmosphere (plus gases evolved from reactions with surface minerals or captured from the protoplanetary disk). Had it formed farther out and later migrated starward, then the fraction of volatiles would be enhanced, increasing the fractions of those gases in the resulting atmosphere. Even then, the atmosphere will be a reducing one, dominated by hydrogen and helium.

Assuming the surface temperature and pressure is below 647.096 K and 217.755 atmospheres (respectively), allowing for the presence of liquid water on the surface, the planet would have a high albedo on the daylit side, due to extensive cloud cover, and a much darker nightside where clouds precipitate in the (slightly) cooler temperatures (the atmosphere conducts heat between the hemispheres, so long as the surface pressure is greater than 0.1 atmosphere). If the water vapor is, instead, a supercritical fluid, then the skies will be cloudless and the albedo uniformly low on both hemispheres (there would be no bodies of liquid water on the surface).

Life on such a world, if it exists at all, would probably not be very similar to Terragen life. For one thing, the atmosphere is relatively anoxic, though the small fraction of atmospheric oxygen might, when multiplied by the ambient pressure, have a partial pressure similar to that found on Earth (if that were true, however, then nitrogen toxicity might be a problem). For another, in a reducing atmosphere, the biochemistry would be unlike that found in most terrestrial organisms.

Regardless of the biochemistry involved, any organisms would need to contend with the high temperatures, gravity (2.6 to 3.6 g, depending on the uncertainties), and atmosphere of their world. They might be flat, pancake-like creatures designed to minimize their body's volume while maximizing their surface area to better radiate heat. Others may take to the skies, drawing moisture from the humid atmosphere (in the case of a hot and humid world).

Due to the uncertainties in the properties of both the planet and its star, it is difficult to pin down what the planet's environment is actually like. A range of possible values can, however, be calculated fairly easily, from which a corresponding set of conditions can be surmised (depending on initial assumptions). Kepler-10c could, then, be anything from a lifeless version of Mercury (albeit much larger with a much thicker atmosphere of hydrogen and helium) to a larger, warmer version of Earth obscured on its daylit side by thick clouds of water vapor. Or anything in between.

"I'd much rather see you on my side, than scattered into... atoms." Ming the Merciless, Ruler of the Universe

Messages In This Thread
"Mega Earth" discovered - by omega_tyrant - 06-03-2014, 11:01 AM
RE: "Mega Earth" discovered - by radtech497 - 06-03-2014, 04:43 PM
RE: "Mega Earth" discovered - by stevebowers - 06-03-2014, 07:06 PM
RE: "Mega Earth" discovered - by omega_tyrant - 06-04-2014, 08:12 AM
RE: "Mega Earth" discovered - by radtech497 - 06-04-2014, 10:39 AM
RE: "Mega Earth" discovered - by stevebowers - 06-04-2014, 09:39 PM
RE: "Mega Earth" discovered - by stevebowers - 06-04-2014, 11:52 PM

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