My understanding of planet dynamics is very weak, but I want to try and colonize a planet too hot to live on the surface most of the year but cools down during the winter to a manageable temperature.

Is such a planet possible to colonize (and what possible attributes would make it easier)? How would you go about doing it?

Information regarding other attributes of a planet like this (terrain, weather, average vs equator vs pole temperatures) would be appreciated but are outside the scope of this question.

If I were to try to answer this for myself I would imagine that most people would live underground and come out during the winter for travel and trade (vehicles could help travel outside of winter). But I am uncertain if the underground would be cool enough to live year round.

And of course the issue of water. I'm not sure if it would be scarce on such a hot planet. Perhaps there could be enough underground though.

Edit: asking about technology: I don't really care but I'm specifically asking with rather primitive technology in mind. Enough to get to the planet. No terra-forming preferably, unless somehow that's the best option.

Edit: distance to sun during orbit is really the only way I know how to control temperature so that's what I am imagining. If other factors are possible to better make the colonist want to live underground then that is better.

Temperature ranges on the planet (general, like halfway between the equator and pole) would be like 35-40°C during the winter (maybe cooler closer to the poles) and 60°-80°C during the summer (a wider range since I'm unsure what's reasonable for just an orbital shift).

I did find a planet that I thought I could model after somewhat using SpaceEngine, I don't have it on me but it had a 12 year solar orbit with average temperature going from 41 winter to 50/60°C summer. I think the atmosphere wasn't desirable but that's kind of where I started with thinking about all of this.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding. Please try to stick to 1 question per post. Now you have too many in one. Thus your question is too broad. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Nov 1 '17 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ How hot do you want your planet to be during the summer? Like Sahara desert (which is Ok at nights), or hotter? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Nov 1 '17 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch I specifically kept the question down to two: is it possible and how would you? (I have seen many with 3+). Everything after that is meant to be follow up information about what I'm looking for in the answer. I'll reword it to be more obvious that it's just what I'm thinking and why I am looking for advice rather than separate questions. $\endgroup$ – user2920948 Nov 1 '17 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ like inverse summer winter cycle $\endgroup$ – anon Nov 1 '17 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander Preferably hotter across most of the planet, poles could be cooler but there will be reasons to want to live in the hotter areas (resources). I'm thinking like winter would be as cold as 35~40°C across most the planet. Equator might be worse. $\endgroup$ – user2920948 Nov 1 '17 at 18:51

Without knowing why your planet's surface is so hot it's difficult to answer, but in general yes, digging down should provide permanent relief from the surface heat.


An orbital solar shade would let you control how much light, and therefore heat, reaches the surface of the planet.

Solar shade in orbit of Earth-like planet

Place it in geosynchronous orbit (Lagrange 1 would be ideal) and build it large enough to cast a shadow of diffused light on the day side of the planet.

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  • $\begingroup$ I count this as a terraforming activity $\endgroup$ – anon Nov 1 '17 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ @anon It isn't permanent so I would argue it isn't terraforming. But it's achievable with the "primitive" level of tech specified and it's the best solution because it makes the entire planet habitable. $\endgroup$ – rek Nov 1 '17 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ For the length of human settlement it would be permanent so it pretty much is terraforming, the act of making an inhospitable world hospitable. But I agree it is the easiest way to fix the problem. $\endgroup$ – anon Nov 1 '17 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not savvy enough to know all the possible why's, mostly imagining just how close it is relative to the sun's heat. I think atmosphere could play a part but I don't know enough to say what kind of atmosphere it would need to play with those variables. $\endgroup$ – user2920948 Nov 1 '17 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ The solar shade looks very large, would projectiles in space damaging the shade be an issue? $\endgroup$ – user2920948 Nov 1 '17 at 19:08

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