In episode 8, “Attack of Mega-Earth!”, Josh, Addie and Tracy discuss the new planet exoplanet Kepler 10-C which is 17 times as massive as the Earth but apparently completely rocky and metallic. Previously known planets that massive (or larger, such as our own neighbors Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, aka “the big four”) are gas giants that have relatively small solid cores and get most of their mass from thick atmospheres. Not knowing why or how such a “mega-Earth” could form, we instead discuss whether it would be suitable for baking pizzas or brownies on the surface (surface temperature is 400 F). We also talk about Alan Stern’s challenge to Neil deGrasse Tyson for a debate about the moniker to attach to Pluto (planet, or dwarf planet) and how much more interesting it might have been if it were a challenge for a duel instead of a debate.
For more information about Kepler 10-C, see this press release.
For more information on the Kepler mission, see the Kepler home page.