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Anna
Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
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Experience:  Great research skills, variety of work experiences, teaching experience.
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This is an astronomy problem. I didnt see a

Customer Question

This is an astronomy problem. I didn't see a heading for astronomers but I thought I'd try anyway. I have had a number of science fiction short stories published over the last two or three years and am now working on my first science fiction novel. For hard science fiction, it is important that the underlying premise of a story (no matter how improbable) could possibly---just possibly--- be true. I have found a number of technical papers on line suggesting that life on planets circling red dwarfs is possible and that temperature, wind, atmosphere retention and other issues may not be as severe as originally thought. The setting is a human colony recently established on a planet orbiting a red dwarf class MO star Is it possible (not necessarily probable) that a planet exist with the following characteristics? A. The planet be in the habitable zone. B. Have Earth's mass, be geologically active and have water as well plant and animal life. C. The star is old enough to have passed its active flaring age D. The planet is not YET tidally locked. I assume the process of becoming tidally locked takes awhile (how long?) E. The planet has a large moon. F. The planet has seasons----the length of the seasons is not important but I would like to know how long they would be. G. The days and nights are 36 hours each (plus or minus). H. The entire planet does not have to be inhabitable. If my world is possible, any comments on what it would be like living on its surface would be appreciated. If my world is not at all possible, what planet and star combination would come close to what I have outlined? Keep in mind I am looking at NOW and not the future as to habitability. Thank you. Mark XXXXX

Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Angela--Mod replied 9 months ago.

Hello, I'm a moderator for this topic. I've been working hard to find a professional to assist you right away, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. Please let me know and I will assist further. Thank you!

Best,

Angela

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

No Problem. I can wait.

Expert:  Anna replied 9 months ago.
Hello,

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX X'm a biologist who has also studied a some earth science/astronomy. I will go to work on your question, but it might take a few hours. You'll get an email notification when I post the answer. I appreciate your patience.

Anna
Expert:  Anna replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for waiting. We'll look at your concerns one-by-one.

A. The planet be in the habitable zone: Since this depends on how close the planet is to its star, this is definitely possible.


B. Have Earth's mass, be geologically active and have water as well plant and animal life: again, all possible. We'd have to assume that at no point did the planet become so hot that the water all evaporated, but that is within the realm of possibility, especially if the planet was at the far reaches of the habitable zone.

C. The star is old enough to have passed its active flaring age
: this is compatible with t he other information.


D. The planet is not YET tidally locked. I assume the process of becoming tidally locked takes awhile (how long?): I'm assuming this is one of your biggest concerns, but it need not be. There is no set amount of time it takes for a planet to become tidally locked. It depends on its speed of rotation and revolution. When orbiting time equals rotational time, locking occurs. What causes the two times to become synchronized is the pull of gravity from the star. All you have to do is make sure your planet takes longer than its 36 hour day to orbit its star. You can read about this process in more detail on the Discovery site:

http://news.discovery.com/earth/what-would-happen-if-our-planet-became-tidally-locked-130202.htm


E. The planet has a large moon: Not a problem. The moon's pull could even slow the tidal locking process, depending on its position.

F. The planet has seasons----the length of the seasons is not important but I would like to know how long they would be: That will depend on how long it takes to orbit its star. If it took 100 days, each season would be 25 days long. If it took 400 days, each one would be 100 days. This is also based on the assumption that the planet is tilted on its axis (like earth).

G. The days and nights are 36 hours each (plus or minus): no difficulties here.

H. The entire planet does not have to be inhabitable: you're in charge of that.


If my world is possible, any comments on what it would be like living on its surface would be appreciated: Much of this will be up to you, given all the parameters you have set out. If the planet was at the far reaches of the habitable zone, it would be cooler than earth. In the tropical areas, for example, the temperature might be stable at 60*F year round, instead of 80*F, as on earth. The poles would be extremely cold. In between, summers would be cool; winters frigid. Both days and nights would be long - 18 hours of each at the equator. There would be more ice on the surface than we have on earth. The long hours of daylight may result in faster plant growth during the growing season.

I hope this answers your questions. In summary, your world could possibly exist, maybe not extremely likely, but not impossible.

Anna
Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 9193
Experience: Great research skills, variety of work experiences, teaching experience.
Anna and 69 other General Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Thank you. Since you are a biologist would you be able to answer a new question (and be paid for it) for me dealing with the possible plant and animal life on my planet?

Expert:  Anna replied 9 months ago.
Yes, I would be willing to give that a shot. Since it's an imaginary planet with conditions different from earth, I'll have to extrapolate, but that should work. Go ahead and post your question. If you post it as a new question, put 'Anna' as the first word to request me. Thank you.

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