A desert planet or dry planet is a hypothetical type of terrestrial planet with very little water. The concept has become a common setting in science fiction,[1] appearing as early as the 1956 film Forbidden Planet and Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune.[2][3][4]

Habitability Edit

A 2011 study suggested that not only are life-sustaining desert planets possible, but that they might be more common than Earth-like planets.[5] The study found that, when modeled, desert planets had a much larger habitable zone than watery planets.[5]

The same study also speculated that Venus may have once been a habitable desert planet as recently as 1 billion years ago.[5] It is also predicted that Earth will become a desert planet within a billion years due to the Sun's increasing luminosity.[5]

A study conducted in 2013 concluded that hot desert planets without runaway greenhouse effect can exist in 0.5 AU around Sun-like stars. In that study, it was concluded that a minimum humidity of 1% is needed to wash off carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but too much water can act as a greenhouse gas itself. Higher atmospheric pressures increase the range in which the water can remain liquid.[6]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. Touponce, William F. (1988). “Intellectual Background”, Frank Herbert. Boston: Twayne Publishers imprint, G. K. Hall & Co.
  2. Wright, Les. Forbidden Planet (1956). (Internet Archive). Archived from the original on May 7, 2006. Retrieved on May 7, 2006.
  3. Hladik, Tamara I.. Classic Sci-Fi Reviews: Dune. Archived from the original on April 20, 2008. Retrieved on April 20, 2008.
  4. Michaud, Jon (July 12, 2013). Dune Endures. The New Yorker. Retrieved on November 27, 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Choi, Charles Q., "Alien Life More Likely on Dune Planets", September 2, 2011. Retrieved on June 12, 2014.
  6. Towards the Minimum Inner Edge Distance of the Habitable Zone. Cornell University Library: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP) (September 4, 2013). Retrieved on February 14, 2014.


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