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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old December 10 2013, 09:46 PM   #1
Into Darkness
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Potential Habitable Planets

I was looking at Earth and how you have extreme temperature variations, equator is obviously the hottest but it's suitable for Human habitation, the polar regions are the coldest and inhospitable because these areas gain less heat from the sun.

But I was thinking, could it be possible for there to be a planet which is different where the equatorial region is completely inhospitable and the polar regions are perfect for human habitation?

I presume that if you moved Earths orbit closer to the sun you could theoretically reach an orbit where the equatorial region would be too hot to survive there but the polar regions such as Antartica would become the perfect temperature for life and the ice would melt.

So could it be possible that some Earth like world out there we discover which come up with high temperatures and appear inhospitable could infact have polar regions that harbour life or could plesantly support human colonies?

For example: If you moved Earth closer to the Sun so temperature rose by 53 degrees celsius, the average temperature in the arctic and antarctic would be around 15 degrees celsius and at the equator would become 84 degrees celsius. So although the equator would be inhospitable desert the polar regions would be entirely livable.

Last edited by Into Darkness; December 10 2013 at 10:03 PM.
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Old December 10 2013, 11:01 PM   #2
JustAFriend
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

With the likelihood of several hundred billion planets in the galaxy, anything is possible and likely to exist somewhere.

In Frank Herbert's Dune, Arrakis is nearly uninhabitable in the equatorial zone.
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Old December 10 2013, 11:24 PM   #3
iguana_tonante
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

Into Darkness wrote: View Post
But I was thinking, could it be possible for there to be a planet which is different where the equatorial region is completely inhospitable and the polar regions are perfect for human habitation?
Yes, it's possible. Next question.
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Old December 10 2013, 11:29 PM   #4
Timelord Victorious
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

Habitable areas on other planets (by human standard) could be in all sorts if places.
Polar regions, just the equator, or the planet is tidally locked and life only exists on the day/night terminus or outright only on the night side, receiving light only reflected by a number of moons or a ring system...
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Old December 10 2013, 11:32 PM   #5
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

The so-called "habitable zone" is not the only thing that affects a planetary surface. It is believed that continental drift strongly influenced the habitability of available land area. Thus, the ancient super-continent Pangea may have been a hostile desert in the areas farthest from the moderation of the ocean.

The "obliquity" or axial tilt of a planet can have a major effect, and is the source of Earth's seasons. A planet with its axis tilted almost towards its star may not have any real day or night. Rolling along like a wheel in its orbit, the planet might have one very hot and sunny side and one very cold and dark side. The "terminator" between the two hemispheres might have a median temperature, but it might also be the area with the fiercest winds—again, depending on any oceans and land masses.

Then there's a notion from Electric Universe/plasma cosmology—which might still work within the framework of orthodox astronomy—where a planet might orbit within the "glow mode" atmosphere of its star. Such a planet would receive a constant flux from all directions, thus having no night or day. (Or rather, an eternal day.) Such a planet might be very hospitable for life, although any intelligent life there may be eternally cut off from radio astronomy and SETI, until they ventured beyond the plasma sphere of their sun. (See excerpt from THE ELECTRIC UNIVERSE by Wallace Thornhill and David Talbot below.)

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Old December 11 2013, 12:32 AM   #6
iguana_tonante
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

Metryq wrote: View Post
Then there's a notion from Electric Universe/plasma cosmology—which might still work within the framework of orthodox astronomy
No.

Metryq wrote: View Post
(See excerpt from THE ELECTRIC UNIVERSE by Wallace Thornhill and David Talbot below.)
And no.
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Old December 11 2013, 04:24 AM   #7
2takesfrakes
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

These missions to find Poetentially Habitable Planets are very low-cost and I am in full support of them. However, these scientists are so money mad and craving for glory, that they will exaggerate their claims on discovering anything and they've done this many times over. I am not an amateur astronomer, or scientist, although I do have an interest in paleontology. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not fossil-rich in dinosaurs. We have a lot of dinosaur tracks, though. And when you think of how long dinosaurs ruled the Earth, that's a significant slice of the history of life. If it's any example of what's happening "out there," we're probably never going to "find" those aliens that are going to $ave us from ourselves. I have often wondered if it doesn't take an entire universe to increase the true odds of intelligent life occuring, anywhere, at all. Even on one planet. I can't help but feel that we are alone ...
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Old December 11 2013, 05:51 PM   #8
Into Darkness
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

Would knockin Vesta out of it's orbit and slamming it into Venus cause enough of an explosion to eject the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into space to reverse the greenhouse effect?
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Old December 11 2013, 09:25 PM   #9
Ronald Held
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

Why would you want to remove the gas in such a brute force fashion? What is the effect on the atmosphere of dust due to the collision and an orbital cloud of debris?
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Old December 11 2013, 09:49 PM   #10
Into Darkness
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

Ronald Held wrote: View Post
Why would you want to remove the gas in such a brute force fashion? What is the effect on the atmosphere of dust due to the collision and an orbital cloud of debris?
Dust would probably have a nice cooling effect and then settle leaving the planet ready for colonisation. As for orbital debris, that will probably soon fall back to the planet or fly off into space.

Nevermind anyway, the size difference between Venus and Vesta is huge, it would be like firing a pea shooter at it.
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Old December 12 2013, 01:54 AM   #11
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

"Life as we know it" defines how we think about habitable planets only in terms of planets that might be habitable by man or something we have here on Earth. Since we are dealing with a sample size of one, it's hard to tell what a habitable planet might be to something else. Earth could be poisonous to them. The first forms of life on Earth originated in a much different ecosphere, something we couldn't survive in. Until early life oxygenated the planet what we think of Earth life today couldn't exist.

The process of evolution of life on another planet and that life's effect on the ecosphere could produce very different results.
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Old December 12 2013, 08:54 PM   #12
gturner
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

So far the best bets for terraforming Venus seem to involve freezing the CO2 into permanent glaciers of dry ice, or if enough hydrogen can be found there, converting the CO2 into graphite and water via the Bosch process. There could also possibly be major deposits of calcium and magnesium oxides or hydroxides that could be converted to limestone if the temperatures were lower (baking CO2 out of limestone is how we make cement).

Living in an airship about 55 km above of the surface also seems quite feasible.
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Old December 12 2013, 11:31 PM   #13
YellowSubmarine
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

Too much work. Just blow up the planet and build a new one with proper CO2 levels.

But airships are fine too. I am not quite sure why aren't we making floating or underwater dwellings on Earth. Sure, living on the surface is many times more efficient, but if we're to adapt to living on another world, preferably self-sustained, we ought to try living and surviving in the different environments here on Earth first. Either that, or where's the eccentric megalomaniac billionaire who thinks living there makes them awesome? I love the Japanese project(s) for ocean cities that were posted here some time ago.


Habitable poles and inhabitable equator would be kind of awesome too, but not for the possibility to settle there. There would be more independence in the evolution between the hemispheres, which might (or might not) lead to stranger results. I've been exploring the idea for some time. I like it. The societal aspect of it is also worth looking at. Societies living on the two halves would be more disconnected and travel between them would be much difficult. At best ships would have to cross the tropical regions during the night (one night!), at worst the crossing would be more deadly then our poles are. The ability to travel easily between them would have been seen as much more miraculous than our ability to presently live on the poles.
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Old December 14 2013, 12:05 AM   #14
publiusr
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
Metryq wrote: View Post
Then there's a notion from Electric Universe/plasma cosmology—which might still work within the framework of orthodox astronomy
No.

Metryq wrote: View Post
(See excerpt from THE ELECTRIC UNIVERSE by Wallace Thornhill and David Talbot below.)
And no.
More on the subject--and some debunking
http://dealingwithcreationisminastro...scientist.html
http://www.christianforums.com/t7758314-5/
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Old December 14 2013, 04:19 PM   #15
T'Girl
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Re: Potential Habitable Planets

Timelord_Victorious wrote: View Post
Habitable areas on other planets (by human standard) could be in all sorts if places.
There was a novel about Ensign Flandry (Agent of the Terran Empire) I read years ago, iirc one world had such a thick atmosphere (which was fine for the natives) that Humans could only live comfortably on the tops of tall mountains.

Which I found interesting.

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