I'm working on a world where the human race lives on a planet that is much closer to its star than Earth is. The temperatures range from 150C to 300C in the day and below 0C at night.

My question is: could the humans live in domed cities that block out the harmful solar rays and keep the temperature in the habitable range? What kind of materials could be used to make this possible?

Note this is an agreement between two planets to build dome cities for humans to help promote peace, so money is not a problem. Here is a pic of such a dome http://fav.me/dahw0hm

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2016 at 12:46

3 Answers 3


Assuming that underground construction are against local zoning law and one really tries to build such huge domes and do it on budget:

-glass (just takes UV, but not even all UVA)

-lead glass (nice against gamma radiation)

-water (good against hard to stop particle radiation; good for heat retention)

  • possibly: hydrogen rich plastic (if thick but transparent can still be used as last line against particle radiation)

So realistically a glass dome, under it a huge layer of water, and another dome below it (made of glass or from plastic). Two layers would still provide some protection if anything got broken. In spite of the fact that huge round domes look cool, a more realistic scenario would involve one more less round, but made of identical modules. Water would be crucial as both shielding and for stabilizing temperature thanks to its high heat capacity. Presumably inside such domes would be placed some extra water for this purpose (like ponds).

Such nice domed greenhouse would presumably tend to absorb too much heat. In such case one would presumably had to invest in really big radiators to get rid of excess heat. Needless too say that would require plenty of energy.

  • $\begingroup$ thank you for you answer, this is what I need. the comments about digging underground is nice and all but that's not the question I needed answered, $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2016 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ fav.me/dahw0hm here is a picture of such dome. The water idea is an excellent one. I will have to remember that. Just one thing, the water would evaporate would it not? $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2016 at 22:13
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    $\begingroup$ The boiling point of water goes up as pressure increases, so perhaps the area where the water is stored is kept under higher pressure than 1atm so that it remains liquid? Or, more feasibly, maybe you could run tubes through the water layer that cool the water enough to not let it boil. $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2016 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ This sounds interesting, Could an underground well beneath the dome city rotate the water? This way it is constantly moving and should not boil. The water could then cool down underground before coming back up? $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2016 at 23:22
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    $\begingroup$ @supersaiyanscooby Yes. But assuming that underground it is cold. (you haven't specified that, from that what you said the ground may have ex. 60C. Anyway, even if it is cold, the underground pipe system should be actually huge, because otherwise after a while nearby rock would be heated up. // The outer dome may actually be a bit conical shaped. (to prevent dust gathering on to of it) // Houses may be painted in white to provide better reflection of excess light // One may invest some reflective shades on dome - to keep excess heat out during midday and to keep heat in during night. $\endgroup$
    – Shadow1024
    Dec 6, 2016 at 20:42

Since you say: much closer to a star, and on earth 130° Fahrenheit were already exceeded, I'll go with Celsius.

Many things can be done, the question is: what does it cost? In terms of money, time, work & maintenance.

As Michael Karnerfors said in his comment, in such a scenario there would be very few good reasons, if any, not to go underground. Instead of investing time and resources to develop, build and maintain special buildings.

You also need to consider what happens to the atmosphere, which can or will be gradually stripped away by solar winds if its planet is to close to the star. Which then leave the surface even more exposed to radiation from the star.

If the atmosphere can be retained it probably will start heating up, so I doubt that temperatures will be able to drop below 0° at night.

Depending on how close the planet is to its sun, and how old it is, it will also start to slow down. A day on Mercury is 58.646 Earth days, that's because the gravitational pull exerted on it by the sun is slowing down its rotation. So you will end up with a tidally locked planet, which has one side constantly facing its sun.

The only way is down. No special materials or maintenance needed, just dig a hole.

  • $\begingroup$ thanks for the answer. :) i'll have to keep this in mind. $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2016 at 14:14

Although, it is in my mind impossible for the Human race to evolve in those conditions as they would simply not have right tools to survive, I think now we could and even at 0AD it is my belief we could but not from day one. However on your questions about domes I say maybe, but It would make more sense for an under-developed cave society. However I believe that water may not survive and will cause it once again to not work, but.. suspension of disbelief.


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