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Pondering...

I wonder how likely it would be for humans to adapt to a place like Venus? Would even our technology survive it? How extreme of a planet might humans be able to adapt to? But I'm thinking about places like Titan, which is a lot like early Earth, except that it has methane instead of water.

Along those lines, I'm working on a planet for my Mindeodean storyverse that is an ice planet. Not like the one in Star Wars, no; this one is more like Europa: no snow, no precipitation at all. Just a frozen surface, lots of water but also methane, nitrogen, and other ingredients for life, and one colony ship is forced to try to colonize it. And they do, remarkably.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
my_real_head
Nov. 17th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
Well, look at it this way. In at least half of the world, the climate is such that an unprotected human will rapidly die for much of, if not all of the year.

Yet, there is no area that is fully uninhabited. Most of us do have the sense to at least stick around the nicer areas, but figure that most of the US fits into the "deadly" category.

We're humans. If we can't adapt to our surroundings, we alter them as we see fit.

kengr
Nov. 17th, 2009 01:33 am (UTC)
Venus, no. Organics can't survive surface conditions. That rules out even biology we've only thought of.

On top of that, most of our technology can't survive there either. So even "uploading" into robot bodies is out.

The few probes that have made it to the surface have all failed within hours.
fayanora
Nov. 17th, 2009 08:32 am (UTC)
Ah, well that's kinda what I thought, but I wanted to be sure.

Any chance humans could, with enough knowledge, be genetically engineered to breathe methane? And how likely is carbon monoxide to occur naturally (not Earth)? Also, how much nitrogen could be in the atmosphere before needing some kind of defense against it? Because I was considering having the Zokek breathing a nitrogen, CO1, and methane atmosphere. And I don't want to make a decision yet on whether they're humans or aliens.
kengr
Nov. 17th, 2009 11:09 am (UTC)
Breathing methane would require a complete redesign from the very mitochondria on up. Probably even lower level than that.

Methane is a *reducing* agent, not an oxidizing one. So that right there means a total redesign.

Plus, methane isn't going to be around in significant amounts on anything remotely earthlike.

CO is unlikely because it's going to react with stuff. It's "incomplete" so it'll want to latch on to something first chance it gets. It's not active enough at normal temps to react at all fast, but over geological time periods it'll go away in a very short time.

Like Oxygen, it'd need a source replacing it.

Nitrogen is semi-inert. The big danger to *us* is that at high pressure, it's soluble in body fluids and causes some weird effects.

It's time for a repeat of the "how atmospheres evolve" lecture.

The majority of what planets for from is hydrogen and helium. Then you get stuff like methane, ammonia and water (CH4, NH3 & H2O). After that you can get more complex hydrocarbons and a lot of "dust". That minor "dust" component is what the rocky planets are formed of.

Anyway, gas giants accumulate mass fast enough that they can keep the hydrogen & helium. That's over 90% of what they are made of.

Closer in, the hydrogen gets driven off by solar heating. Helium goes aw almost as easily.

In the upper atmosphere, the water vapor gets broken down by solar UV. That gives hydrogen (which will escape if it doesn't recombine with something) and free oxygen which reacts with the Methane to make water and CO2. And reacts with ammonia to make water and nitrogen.

so the cycle repeats until you wind up with an atmosphere of CO2 & N2, plus some water vapor. If life hadn't evolved, billions of years from now earh would lose the last of its water to solar UV and you'd have a desert world with a CO2 & Nitrogen atmosphere.

Venus lost a lot of water early due to it's lower gravity and being closer to the sun. So the CO2 built up and as it did the surface temp went up and baked more out of the rocks, which raised the temp more. Which...

Mars just lost water. And never really had a chance because the atmosphere was too thin.



fayanora
Nov. 17th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
Mars probably didn't have enough mass to keep a thicker atmosphere. This one thing I saw also said larger planets like Earth take longer to cool down inside.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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