Sunday, November 7, 2010

Goldilocks Planet 2

Okay, I've been thinking about that 'Goldilocks' Planet they found recently. Haven't had time to consult with any physicist yet, but sometimes you can get quite a long way with just some common sense and imagination. Let's ignore the crushing gravity for now, and think about where we might place our colony.

With a planetary day and a planetary year virtually the same length, one side of the planet perpetually faces the sun. That would get hot, I'm guessing. And the opposite side would be far too cold. Of course it's possible that either side could be in the nominal temperature range, depending on exactly how far from its star the planet is located. But first thought about this says the 'twilight zone' is the place for any colonies. It could be a windy place, as the heat of the sun side blew over to be cooled on the night side, but it would be the place of temperate temperatures.

Okay, we're also going to ignore (for now) the psychological problems that might arise from living with perpetual sunrise or sunset.

So, we've got this strip of twilight, and this is where we're going to live. But I'm not sure the entire twilight zone would be comfortable. Those areas that tend to be sparsely populated on Earth – near the poles – could be too cold. The equator area might be too hot until you got well away from the daylight side. Therefore, the section that we might reasonably populate might look more like a crescent (one on each side of the planet).

Of course, if the entire twilight area is ocean, then the colony will have to float.

The article I read said one side faced the sun virtually perpetually. Which brings up the possibility that the twilight zone might actually migrate very slowly around this planet. Every century or so, people might have to abandon sections of the city that have strayed into the uninhabitable sections, and build new sections in areas that had recently become habitable. And every few millenia or so, sections of the formerly inhabited would start to appear in the opposite twilight zone, to either be razed and rebuilt, or simply used again.

So many ideas to explore when you let your imagination roam free.

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