A super advanced civilization has created a machine with superior A.I. that could survive a supernova explosion from a nearby star approximately 3,600 parsecs from the Sun, the machine is programmed to harvest all available resources from the debris and other surviving planets and create an artificial planet as big as the planet Earth.

The artificial planet orbiting around a yellow giant star also has layers of atmosphere mostly consisting of inert gases, my question is why would the machines which is capable of surviving in vacuum condition want[1] to experience seasons?

[1] this implies a conscious decision.

Would it not be better off with a constant amount of sunlight instead of occasional devastating lightning storms?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not clear a machine civilization would want to build a planet at all. What advantage does it have over a Dyson swarm or a nested set of Dyson swarms to form a Matryoshka brain? $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Oct 2, 2016 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ Why would machines "want" anything at all? $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2016 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ This question makes no sense. Where is the star the planet orbits around? The way I see it, you have a machine-factory that automatically spits out planets, built by some futuristic race (I presume of humans for simplicity). The machine would do whatever the humans built it to do. If it makes seasons, it makes seasons. Please clarify and edit your question so that it is clearer. $\endgroup$
    – user64742
    Oct 2, 2016 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ Edited updates: the machine has superior AI and they have evolve beyond the design of their creator intention. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Oct 3, 2016 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ Sentimentality? $\endgroup$
    – Mawg
    Oct 3, 2016 at 8:53

6 Answers 6


First, planets created through natural processes are nearly guaranteed to have some degree of axial tilt, which is the primary contributor to seasonal changes in exposure to parent starlight (herein "sunlight", even though it's not!).

Now, you're asking why an artificial planet would have seasons (in particular, why its artificial construct inhabitants would want seasons). I can think of two main reasons:

1. Engineering tolerance

Your machines end up not caring about axial tilt because they simply don't care about seasonal fluctuations in temperature and sunlight. Being machines, they can tolerate these fluctuations without any operational impairment, so they don't care.

Put another way, they want the cheapest option, so they "want" seasons by proxy: it may end up using more energy, more time, or more complicated processes to create a planet with a near-zero axial tilt, so they just go with the cheaper option that results in an axial tilt somewhere between -20 and +20 degrees, for example.

2. Bio-fuels

Even though your artificial life forms are, well, artificial, that doesn't preclude them from seeding and farming natural life. Perhaps they plant varied bio-fuel crops as an efficient source of hydrocarbons to fuel some of their processes, and those crops function better with growing seasons and off-seasons. Perhaps they farm some kind of migratory animal that needs to be migrated between grazing lands so they don't eat all the grass, and seasons are a free, sustainable way to do that.

The only minor hitch for this option is that your "inert gases" in the atmosphere might not be conducive to crop growth. Most Earth crops rely on carbon dioxide, at least (that's where the carbon comes from). There are other potential reactions, of course, but that's probably a bit beyond the scope of this question.


Because it was There

Would machines really pass up a prime choice planet just because it was slightly suboptimal due to seasonal variation?

In fact, statistically all planets have elliptical orbits, it's actually the expected outcome of the collapsing matter forming solid bodies (Earth is an outlier here, but still slightly elliptical). And that's step 1 towards having seasons--and in the case of very extreme ellipticals, are the primary factor.

Step 2 is having a rotational spin that's off-axis slightly, which I'd be willing to bet, has good odds of occurring. I don't have good data on planets outside the solar system (though there are some methods for measuring it), but predominantly the reason for no axial tilt is being tidally locked with the parent celestial.

There you go. Its going to be more likely that a planet has seasonal variation than not and the machines (whomever, really) can't be too picky choosy about where they end up.

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    $\begingroup$ Axial tilt is a far stronger cause for seasons than orbital eccentricity. For Earth, the temperature difference between aphelion and perihelion is next to negligible. $\endgroup$
    – Philipp
    Oct 2, 2016 at 9:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Philipp: But note the answer asserts that Earth has a rather unusually small difference between aphelion and perihelion. $\endgroup$
    – user2781
    Oct 2, 2016 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Philipp Notice also that I said for "very extreme elliptical orbits." As in worse than Pluto. If a planet's distance to its parent varies from "Mercury" to "Jupiter" them the axial tilt isn't going to make much difference. $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2016 at 16:20
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    $\begingroup$ The question asks about machines creating a planet, not finding one. $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2016 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ @TheGreatDuck> creating the planet in the first place requires more energy than moving it. Either because you move in all the material, so you can certainly do it again, or because you create it from pure energy, which requires gigantic amounts of it. $\endgroup$
    – spectras
    Oct 3, 2016 at 6:07

Assuming an atmosphere, a planet with seasons is a planet with wind, so there is an easy power supply that requires no mining. They'd build it to produce constant and dependable wind patterns.

This could also be in addition to any direct solar power applications.

  • $\begingroup$ Would it be any better than plain solar power plant though? $\endgroup$
    – spectras
    Oct 3, 2016 at 6:10
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    $\begingroup$ @spectras If there's a facility separated from the planetary grid, wind can supplant power during nightime without large battery. Also, free cleaning event assuming there's large amount of dust. $\endgroup$
    – Martheen
    Oct 3, 2016 at 7:05
  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking power plant all round, so you always have half of them lit. As for cleaning event, wouldn't the night-day cycle be enough to create the required wind? Or, at a higher level, that raises the question of which power plant is the most efficient maintenance-wise as both will need some anyway. $\endgroup$
    – spectras
    Oct 3, 2016 at 7:35
  • $\begingroup$ @spectras Good point. They could do both. $\endgroup$
    – Tony Ennis
    Oct 3, 2016 at 11:28

Because shit happens

Careful reading of the body of this question shows that the world isn't something the machines happened upon. It's something they built from scratch.

So, given that they could fight the whims of fate and force their world to have whatever tilt they pleased why would they give it any tilt at all?

Either they like having a white christmas or they did the math and figured out that the energy it was going to cost to get the perfect tilt could simply go into home heating and construction of lightning rods. This would mean the tilt had a tolerance. Once the tilt was within tolerance they moved on to making sure the fjords looked nice.

And maybe they just got the math wrong. Building a planet is one thing but weather prediction is another.


One of the main problems with a tech based planet is heat distribution. By converting the Sun's energy into power, which then presumably gets used for computation and locomotion. This means the sunlight isn't getting reflected back as readily as it otherwise would and so the planet gradually heats up. With seasons you could allow one side of the planet to operate at full capacity and then cool down during the long winter.

This assumes the planet doesn't have an atmosphere. With an atmosphere then the seasons would come with regular winds and shifts that could be fine tuned to create the best method of heat distribution and cooling effect.


Because they want to have a suitable warming and cooling cycle to more appropriately control the weather patterns. See a sphere due to its shape has to have calm somewhere, by disturbing the equilibrium a bit you can ensure it moves around, and perhaps you can control this. This ensures that any cooling systems work more optimally. Perhaps they have many subsystems can just harvest their energy from the ambient fluctuations so not to need build a grid for everything (they obviously could but why build a grid if you do not have to).

The atmosphere itself ensures a suitable temperature ranges making material selection for systems more forgiving. But not all systems have the same optimal temperature ranges by changing weather allows you to cycle optimums. Maintenance is better done in separate season than computation.


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