Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pouring cold water on this whole giant planet in our neck of the woods thang.

So Tuesday, I was like all excited about this idea that there was a massive planet relatively close to us called Tyche. When I say "relatively", I mean that it's relatively close by astronomical standards, which means about a quarter of a light year away.

Even big objects like the Sun and Tyche have next to no gravitational pull at those kinds of distances, so there's no way Tyche is "orbiting" the Sun or vice versa. It would take the fastest spaceship we can build many decades to get there and the journey would definitely be risky.

My more science-y pal Ken Rose sent me a link that says it's pretty damned unlikely Tyche is actually hanging out in the Oort Cloud. Even the Oort Cloud itself is just a "probably exists" kind of thing.

Boy am I bummed.

From what I can tell, there are some astrophysicists who like the idea of giant planets as much as Matty Boy likes the idea of giant women.

Which means they like the idea A LOT!!!!!

I feel for these guys in some odd kinship, and I understand how they could sell some folks in the media on the idea of some exciting unexpected magical thing, kind of like an astronomical version of Bigfoot or the chupcabra.

p.s. If anyone knows this girl's cell phone number, do a brother a favor and hook us up.


namastenancy said...

Don't despair. They are always discovering new planets out there; one day your special planet will appear and who knows, maybe even your very special giant woman.

Matty Boy said...

Thanks for the kind thoughts, Nancy, but as I am fond of saying when pondering impossibilities...

This is me, not holding my breath.

Petronius said...

Wouldn't you need a small planet with relatively little gravitational pull? We can't have giant anyones on earth because of the square cube law. This would be more true of a massive planet, not less. Now I understand that among this recent batch of exoplanets there is one that is actually only about three quarters the size of earth. She couldn't manage here as easily as you could there though so the ball's still pretty much in your court.

Matty Boy said...

Hi, Petronius! Yes, the best chance for giants to exist would be on planets with lower gravity. If there were permanent human colonies on the moon or Mars, people could grow much taller comfortably there than here, but they probably wouldn't enjoy vacations on Earth very much.

Also, people who lived in the sea could grow larger than average with the water supporting much of their weight, but they would probably evolve in ways such that they wouldn't look very human anymore.

Undersquid said...

Your post reminded me of what I used to think sometimes as a child and reading my first Asimov stories. While I knew that human life could not have sprouted in the conditions present in the rest of the Solar System planets, I closed my eyes and imagined what it would be like to have a Martian or Venusian friend, and what exactly a foe from Jupiter would look like. Tiny? Very tiny and compressed maybe. :)

Years later, when I think of these things within the context of these fantasies, I'm typically the giantess alien invader, and as a counterpoint, it is a shrunken man that lands his tiny spaceship on my windowsill if he is a visitor from another planet.

The Oort cloud sounds like something a giantess would release after eating far too much cheese. (See, I used it in a sentence!)