The Geology of Star Trek’s Strange New Worlds (Part II)

Stars can also be clues.

Realizing the mass, it is possible to gage the gravitational force on the planet’s surface and decide if it can hold an atmosphere. The distance and sort of star in the alien star system can offer clues about the temps found on the planetary surface. New advanced observation methods made it conceivable, in some cases, to watch the atmosphere of an exoplanet and classify the chemical composition.

Yet, there’s no commonly accepted classification system for exoplanets. Names such as Hot-Jupiters and Super-Earths are frequently used. Though, numerous astronomers complain that such names signify certain properties of the planets we don’t know. 

In the 2011 published paper Taxonomy, the following planet classification system was suggested:

Class F: Planets of the “freezing class” – covered by snow and ice.

Class W: Planets of the “water class” – like Earth, circling a star in the habitable zone in which temps let liquid water to exist.

Class G: The “gaseous class” – too hot for liquid or solid water to exist, but ultimately the planet has an atmosphere.

Class R: The orbit of a “roasters class” planet – around its host star is very narrow, resulting in planetary surface temp is extreme enough to melt rocks.

Class P: “Pulsar class” – planets orbit the distorted remains of a star and are continuously bombarded by high radiation and exposed to sturdy magnetic fields.

Geophysical Classification with Composition Codes

Another method told in the paper “Geophysical Classification of Planets, Dwarf Planets, and Moons: A Mass Scale and Composition Codes” utilizes composition codes, such as G for Gas Planetary bodies, R for Rocky Planetary Bodies, and I for Icy Planetary Bodies. 

As a planet can have a big core of iron or be made up of nearly completely of silicate minerals, a tinier moon can be comprised of rock and ice.  


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