Sunday, October 31, 2010

Goldilocks Planet 1

After decades of reading stories concerning colonies on other planets, I was thrilled to finally hear scientists had discovered a planet that was in the "Goldilocks Zone" around another star. Woohoo! Bring on the story ideas!

Well, that planet is not exactly another Earth, so in order to be 'realistic', I've got to do some thinkin'.

Temperature: Not too hot, not too cold. Warm enough to allow liquid water. Yeah, water's good. I can work with water.

Gravity: Okay, this planet has about 3 times the mass of Earth. Hmm, does that mean a 100-pound man on Earth weighs 300 pounds on Goldilocks A? I'm going to have to check on that. Even if gravity isn't a full 3 times Earth-G, it's still going to take some getting used to. Some kind of biological augmentation? Like I said, I need to research this aspect.

Planetary year: In this case, about 37 days. Wow. That's fast. How would colonists deal with a year that feels more like a month? And with a year this short, is there any room for 'seasons'? Can you imagine a winter that lasts 8-9 days? I'll have to check on this, too, but I'm thinking it would take an exaggerated elliptical orbit, or a lop-sided orbit to produce anything like seasons. It's possible, so … I'll take it under advisement. Could be interesting to play with.

Planetary day: In this case, about 37 days. Oh. That basically means it keeps one blistering-hot face toward its sun, and one frozen face toward the stars. Wait, didn't the scientists say it was not too hot, not too cold? Sure, in the twilight area between the two sides. So that's where the colony would need to be, with either perpetual dawn or perpetual sundown on the horizon. That is definitely going to take some thinkin' about, as well as some research.

I'll get back to you about this 'Goldilocks Planet'.

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