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Questions tagged [habitability]

For questions asking about the conditions which are required for the development of life as we know it.

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47
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3answers
7k views

How early was the Earth liveable for today's humans?

Say you were to drop a (bunch of) human(s) at some past era of our Earth. I'm assuming they might encounter a few problems such as the composition of the air not being breathable, the water being too ...
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Fantasy map that has minimal land at the equator. What does this mean for rainforests and the world as a whole?

I created a fantasy map a while back, but only recently have I realised it may have a major problem. There is next to no land at the equator although some land between 0-30 degrees. The vast majority ...
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Habitable moon of a gas giant: working out the sizes and distances

I am attempting to create fictional, stable P-Type binary system, featuring a gas giant in a stable orbit, with a habitable Earth-like moon. “Is a Jupiter-sized planet plausible in a habitable zone?” ...
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A planet illuminated by a black hole?

Is it possible for a planet to be heated and illuminated by a black hole due to Hawking radiation at the same intensity as by a star? What mass and size should a black hole have to produce the same ...
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Keeping an “hot eyeball planet” wet

Consider such a tidally locked planet: Many issues with tidally locked worlds have been discussed, but I'm not clear on how the water cycle for an otherwise Earth-like tidally locked world, would be ...
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Where would space habitats get their oxygen from?

Suppose you want to build a large scale habitable structure in space or on a planet or moon without an atmosphere or any organics, and this would be a long term or permanent settlement, not a ...
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Extremely small planet to live on

In the mobile game "The Path To Luma", the main hero travels to very tiny planets. Let's not think about where is the sun and how we leap through such small planets. What I want to ask is, if there is ...
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Can a gas giant have its own habitable zone?

Gas giants can generate heat via the Kelvin-Helmholtz mechanism. It's oft-repeated that Jupiter actually generates more heat internally via this method than it receives from the Sun. Scale this ...
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Reality Check: Habitable moon around earth-like planet

For a complex world-building scenario I want a habitable moon orbiting a habitable earth-like planet. The habitable moon should allow for flora, fauna and landscape as similar to earth as possible. ...
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Why would Earth be long-term unsuitable for an advanced alien species that's already colonized it?

I'm writing a story where aliens are using humanity like a botnet to do hyper complex calculations - each infested human has a program running in their subconscious brain that does a small part of the ...
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Is a Jupiter-sized planet plausible in a habitable zone?

We lived through loads of questions regarding aquatic races, so buckle up, I am going to gather some ideas around insectoids. The homeworld and race This race lives on a planet which has lower ...
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Close the door on your way out - Life lit by a blue dwarf star

I'm seeking a hard science setting for a piece of xenofiction with a decidedly non-sciencey feel. That said, there is no magic or magic technology. The idea is as follows: A red dwarf star has a ...
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Making a planet habitable for humanoids: The planet

The question: What characteristics are necessary for a planet to be habitable for humans? What should the generic star and planet be like? The life forms are human, so they Need to have access to ...
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What would the consequences be of a high number of solar systems being within close proximity to one another?

What would the consequences be of a high number of solar systems being within close proximity to one another? I'm mainly interested in the consequences for life on multiple planets. When I say 'close ...
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How could I scientifically explain a world where the surface is made out of pillars?

Imagine a world full of islands. No continents, just average-sized islands. There are so many islands, that it would look a bit like this from space: Now, imagine that the sea is very, very deep. I'm ...
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How small could an Earth-like planet be while still realistically being able to sustain human life?

I'm thinking a planet orbiting a nearby star colonized by human settlers sometime in the not near, but not too distant future. How small could a planet be while still standing in as a relatively ...
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Making a planet habitable for humanoids: The star

The question: What characteristics are necessary for a planet to be habitable for humans? What should the generic star and planet be like? The life forms are human, so they Need to have access to ...
17
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7answers
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Is a solar system around a black hole possible?

Is it possible for there to be a "solar system" of sorts with a black hole and a few suns orbiting around it? Could that system be stable and (if so) would it be possible for some civilization(s) to ...
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How far could a planet be from its star and still be kept habitable by intense greenhouse gases?

Epimetheus is a planet with about three times the mass of Earth orbiting a sun-like star in the Andromeda galaxy. However, two major factors separate Epimetheus from Earth. First, it has a thick ...
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How could you keep a rogue planet warm(ish)?

I'm working on a story right now where darkness plays an important role, and I had the idea to set my story on a rogue planet, a planet in perpetual darkness because it has no sun. However, from what ...
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Could we still live if Earth's spin speed slowed down by 90%?

I am working on a project (The Longest Day), and I'm sure some people here have the necessary knowledge to give me some more usefull info. OK, here it is: Lets say that Earth's spinning speed ...
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Can a habitable moon rely on the magnetosphere of its parent planet for radiation protection?

Science-based answers, please. Key points: the main concern is radiation protection for sustainability of human life (and accompanying plant and animal life ecosystems, whether earth-like or not). ...
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How dark can a habitable planet be?

I'm picturing a world with a permanent, dark, overcast sky, but I'm wondering how dark it can be before photosynthesis is no longer an option. It looks like there are a good number of plants that ...
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Is there a habitability zone between the primary and secondary stars of a binary star system?

Is there a habitability zone between the primary and secondary stars in a binary star system for a planet orbiting only the primary star at a distance less than that of the secondary star and, if so, ...
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How long after a global nuclear disaster would the world become habitable by humans again?

So at some point in the future, humans have small colonies on the Moon, on Mars and many space stations in orbit of all the planets in the solar system. Everything is going great until one day ...
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Is it possible that a gas giant of similar size to Jupiter could harbor life?

Say we had a planet which was a gas giant. Is it possible that at the core of the planet where meteors, asteroids, and comet debris had collected that there could be a layer of atmosphere similar to ...
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Rogue Planet Illuminated by Galactic Centre

The black hole question reminded me of an idea I wanted to implement at some point in a space campaign, but didn't go forward with because I was unsure whether it's merely statistically very ...
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Is it possible for life to exist on the core of a gas planet?

I was thinking of writing a story and had the idea of having a society exist on the core of a gas planet. The core would be similar to earth with a breathable atmosphere similar to ours above it but ...
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1answer
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How much mass does a human need to live a satisfying life?

Humans evolved in ancestral environments as semimigratory omnivores, which has embedded several things into our instinctive sense of wellness, aka "all is alright with the world", among them a ...
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1answer
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Could life exist in a circumstellar disk?

I could have sworn that there was a question that covered this, but I suppose I'm misremembering. If anyone finds one, let me know. Back in the early days of the Solar System, things were pretty bad. ...
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Can a planet without one or more moons be habitable?

My titled question was, can a planet without one or more moons be habitable? In more depth, how would that planet be affected overall, without the moon to affect the tides and without providing light ...
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Life on the Broken Ring - an issue of size

One of my ongoing projects is what I think of as the "constructed worlds gallery", a series of Megastructures as settings for stories and games, including things like the "Flying Pie-plate" a world ...
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Is life required for a world to be habitable for humans?

Well, the strongest barrier that might prevent life from appearing might be described by that analogy : it’s like hoping to cook an apple pie by mixing the ingredients with random quantities and at a ...
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Smallest planet that can maintain plate tectonics?

I was wondering what is the smallest a terrestrial planet can be and maintain plate tectonics and generate a magnetic field, atleast to Earth's current age?
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Habitability of an icy volcano planet

Suppose we have a rocky planet (somewhere between Earth- and Super-Earth- sized) orbiting a star far enough away that it would be around Pluto's temperature if sunlight was the only heat source. If we ...
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How to make a rogue planet liveable?

Rogue planets are generally not to healthy for us humans to live on. No permanent source of heat or light means that generally they are a pretty cold place. Plenty of other problems arise too, but ...
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2answers
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Algae using UV light from auroras for photosynthesis

I was reading some questions on Quora and I found this claim: The polar regions have a very odd reason for them to have so much oxygen production. You see the Polar aurora run day and night in the ...
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2answers
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Habitability of a world inside a dark nebula

For your consideration, a star system inside a dark nebula with a potentially habitable planet. Being a dark nebula, we Earthers can't see light shining behind the nebula. Further and therefore: ...
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1answer
141 views

Increased Luminosity in Stars

I'm trying to construct a solar system, and I'm toying with the idea that the planet capable of sustaining life was initially outside of the habitable zone, but the star's advanced age has caused the ...
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2answers
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What is a usable formula for determining the necessary strength of a planet’s magnetic field for it to be habitable?

To my understanding, part of the reason life is able to exist on Earth besides its ozone layer is due to its magnetic field, which protects the planet and its life against solar winds and keeps the ...
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How long does it take for islands to form after an underwater volcanic eruption?

So, vaguely, I remember from earth science that when submarine volcanoes erupt they eventually form archipelagos. My question actually has several parts; Starting with the first eruption to break ...
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Is this atmospheric composition breathable, and what would it look like?

I have developed a fictional planet with the following atmospheric composition; 60.4% Nitrogen 27.6% Oxygen 9.8% Xenon 1.5% Water Vapor 0.64% Argon 0.06% Carbon Dioxide Is this breathable to humans ...
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Can a situation exist where there is one pole that is hot and another cold on a planet?

I am trying to design a world where one pole is very cold, and the other is very hot. I don't mean that there would be instant death in either, but it is colder than our South Pole on one end and ...
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What kind of Gas Giant has a “safe zone” between the radiation from a star and the radiation from a gas giant planet?

This is a progression from my first question, here (if this is too similar to my original question, please let me know of a better way to address this, as I am not getting the answers I need on that ...
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What is the theoretical maximum number of habitable planets in one solar system?

In the DC comic book universe, the Vega System is a solar system around the star Vega (Alpha Lyrae), which is depicted as having dozens of habitable planets. While it seems to be an implausibly large ...
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How long would it take a region to geologically settle down after a major cataclysm?

So in my story/world I have a region that is straight up destroyed...demonic magic is nasty stuff. So we have rings Ring 1 (1 is in the middle) This ring has a diameter of about 200 miles. At this ...
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What would the effects be of two tidal locked planets have on each other's geography?

I've heard a lot of people say that having two tidally locked planets close together would have adverse affects on both planets. I have two tidally locked planets at a distance of 16,550 miles apart. ...
9
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1answer
217 views

What would've had to change in the early solar system for Mars to remain habitable?

Mars is the dusty, airless void of death and general unpleasantness it is today because it lost its magnetosphere millions of years ago. This was because Mars's dynamo in its core shut down. Because ...
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1answer
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Determining Planet rotation period that would allow for global Wind Cell

I'm trying to figure out how quickly a planet could rotate while also having a single air flow cell, such as Hadley cells, that would circle from hot pole to cold pole, etc. as in the case of Tidally ...
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''Habitable'' planet close to a star

Imagine if you will a star comparable with our sun and a planet like earth orbiting at roughly the same distance around this star as our earth around the sun. Would it be possible to place a planet ...