BIO-Complexity, Vol 2020

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The Solar System: Favored for Space Travel

Guillermo Gonzalez


Here, we compare Earth to the most common type of exoplanet, the super-Earth, with respect to interplanetary space travel. The typical super-Earth should have higher gravity and atmospheric pressure at its surface. These factors pose significant challenges to rocket launches and to reentering spacecraft. In addition, the Solar System is compared to exoplanetary systems with respect to interstellar travel. It is easier to launch an interstellar spacecraft from a planet in the circumstellar habitable zone of the Sun than from planets in the circumstellar habitable zones of less massive stars. In the larger context of the Milky Way galaxy, our Solar System is in the best location to initiate interstellar missions. In summary, we here confirm and expand upon recent studies that argue that the Earth and the Solar System are rare in the degree to which they facilitate space exploration.

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