It’s time to debunk a scientific disaster: the myth of the super habitable super-Earth planet.
Some call the super-earths for most common and most livable of all exoplanets.
That’s true we have found more super-Earth exoplanets than any other type.
It is also true that, if rocky, they have more surface area and organic ingredients than Earth-sized worlds.
But that doesn’t translate to “super-earths.” more abundant or more livable.
We have two primary methods of finding exoplanets.
The radial velocity method more easily reveals massive, tightly orbiting systems.
The transit method has exactly the same bias.
Neither method is optimized for finding Earth-sized worlds or smaller worlds.
The lack of small exoplanets is due to detection sensitivity, not intrinsic populations.
Furthermore, almost all so-called super-Earths are not Earth-like at all.
The majority are Neptune-like and have large, volatile gas envelopes.
With crushingly thick atmospheres, the prospects for habitability are dim.
Additionally, the rocky super-Earths are suspiciously Mercury-like: hot and close to their stars.
They are likely just planetary cores, and, like Mercury, may undergo mantle stripping.
Being ~twice Earth’s mass and ~1.3 times Earth’s radius is probably the maximum “Earth-like” size of an exoplanet.
Super-Earths are inappropriately named. These mini-Neptunes and stripped planetary cores are anything but life-friendly.
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