Authors: Mario Mollo & Thais Russomano
MM: Physiotherapy student | TR: Director, InnovaSpace | BOTH: Lifelong Space Enthusiasts!
Ever wondered what trees might look like if they grew on other celestial bodies?
Would a tree taken to grow on a planet smaller than ours and with less gravitational force, such as Mars where gravity is one-third that of Earth (hypogravity), have branches and leaves that point upwards, away from the soil?
On the other hand, what if we took a tree to Jupiter, the biggest planet in the Solar System, where the force of gravity is 3.5 times that of Earth (hypergravity)? On this gigantic planet would tree leaves and branches be pulled downwards, unable to defeat gravity, perhaps looking more like the image below?
Or let’s consider a different scenario in which a tree is already native to a planet that has gravity bigger than on Earth – growing from a seed it would adapt straight away to the gravitational force of the planet, and perhaps grow differently. Do you think it might grow with a trunk that is thicker, larger, stronger, like the tree below?
For the moment, however, until we can transport trees and plants to grow on other celestial bodies or perhaps even discover a planet where vegetation grows naturally, we will have to admire the trees that grow and are shaped by the gravitational force of our own planet Earth. These are the trees we have been lucky enough to grow up with, the usual ones that we are so accustomed to, the trees that we must take good care of and protect well, as they are things of beauty and so rare in our Solar System and beyond.
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