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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Since I won't be able to add a Chapter to "Attack of The Johnnies" today...

This is from a letter to a Friend—who is, quite frankly, a much better writer than me...

I edited it a bit to take out personal references—but basically, it's a quick "Copy and Paste" that I thought someone might enjoy—or better yet, have interesting comments on.

Habitable Planets Orbiting Red Dwarves

Have any of you ever seen the speculations about life on Habitable Planets circling Red Dwarves?

A few facts:

Red Dwarves range from .10 to point .01 times the size of Earth's Sun.

Red Dwarves are the most common Star, by Far. They live much longer than our Sun. Scientists say that in the 18 Billion years that the Universe has endured, a Red Dwarf hasn’t lived long enough to burn out yet.

You're familiar with the "Goldilocks' Zone"?

Water Boils-too hot for life—as a rough guide. Water Frozen Solid year-round—too cold for life.

Liquid water for large parts of the year—Just Right.

The Goldilocks’ Zone of Red Dwarves is narrow and close to the Star.

{Indian build small fire and stand close...}

So close that the Planet would be Tidally Locked, with the same face ever towards its Sun—like the Moon does Earth.

They thought that precluded advanced life—but then they resharpened their Pencils.

Imagine an Earth-Sized planet that always faces the same side toward its Sun.

At high noon, a huge permanent hurricane the size of Greenland forms.

All the way out to the edges of the lighted zone, it is at least sub-tropical and rainy.

On the Dark Side it’s an ice ball.

It takes a bit of maneuvering to balance things just right so that the entire atmospheric vapor doesn't end up frozen on the dark side, but it can be done.

#1} Factoid:

Since there are more Red Dwarves than anything else—these Tidally Locked Earth-Sized Planets are probably the most common type of Earth-like Planet.

#2} Factoid:

A Red Dwarf's spectrum will be weak on Photosynthetic Wavelengths.

Earth Plants are "Green" because Chlorophyll absorbs Blue and Red—where 80%+ of the light energy is any way—and reflects the relatively worthless Green.

A.} No law says that a plant has to be limited to ONE Chlorophyll Analogue.

Plants that Evolved on this World—or Earth plants genetically altered to thrive there—would probably be Black—absorbing the whole Visible Spectrum as well as some of the Near Infrared and Near Ultraviolet...

And if it takes 3 to 5 kinds of "Chlorophyll" in one leaf to do that, so be it.

{Infrared rays are very low energy. Ultraviolet rays are high energy, but rather scarce—generally.}

#3} Factoid:

Red Dwarves occasionally get all eaten up with sunspots; spew large amounts of Ultraviolet and basically Microwave their Planet.

{Maybe 1-3 times a century, for weeks to a few months.}

Animals would need to take shelter. Standing in the shade of those Black Waxy Leaves—as in a Forest might not be the whole answer—but it could be a start.


The "Frozen-Solid Darkside" is only one model. Some models have a cold but relatively balmy Darkside due to the Atmosphere's Heat-Pumping Effect.

Also, some models reject the Perpetual Hurricane.

Nothing really grows in the dark—but as in a Cave, nutrients could travel from the Light Side to feed a Cave-Like Fungi-based Ecology.

Now lets get really crazy.

Is there any law that prevents a Small Red Dwarf Sun from orbiting a Sun much like our own?


They used to Guesstimate that on a balmy Summer Day, the temperature on Mars might get into the low 70s.

Nowadays, I think the Guesstimate is closer to 50 Degrees.

Imagine a Sun slightly smaller than Earth's—no special reason, I just like slightly smaller.

Now somewhere between Earth and Mars' distance from the Sun, a Red Dwarf with a Tidally-Locked Planet Orbits.

The orbital period would be between 6—maybe 18 days at the very outside.

{I mean, the Planet orbits its Dwarf in 6-18 days—like the Moon orbits Earth in 28 Days—and it would go through Phases like our Moon.

The Dwarf's orbit around the Yellow Sun would also have some climatic effects. We don't need to fiddle-faddle with that.}

The Atmosphere is thicker than Earth's and relatively Humid.

You might barely see the Yellow Sun in the Sky during "Yellow Day" on the Bright Side—and while more Sunlight is always good for Photosynthesis, a number of Homeostatic Mechanisms might keep the temperature/climate from being visibly changed much by Yellow-Day (or Yellow-Night) on Brightside.

But on Darkside...

The heat pumped from Lightside would keep the average temperature hovering around 30 degrees anyway...

And then Yellow-Day lasts from 3-9 days (half the cycle). Yellow-Sun Day—In and of itself should raise the temp into the low 60s—but we're already starting at 30 degrees.

Mars' sunlight is only about 40% as intense as Earth's.

I like that figure for Yellow-Sun Darkside.

I picture lots of Moss and Lichens; Reindeer, Musk Oxen, Sami or Laplander type Herdsmen...

********************* ************************** *************************

Another thing:

At Purdue, the Agriculture Department made a big difference between "Agriculture" and "Horticulture"—though not the same way Anthropologists use the terms.

"Agriculture" is basically one-year annual crops including all the Grains.

"Horticulture" is basically Orchards: Apple, Pear, Peach, Apricot, Plum, Cherry, Mulberry, Grape—even Black Berries...

As well as Nut Trees—mostly Pecans or Walnuts here in the US—also Pistachio and Almond.

It is my understanding that Cashews grow in the tropics.

Most—I’d guess at least 80% of our Carbohydrate and Livestock Feed comes from Agriculture. Horticulture is mostly for Dessert and a wee bit of flavor.

Now imagine a planet with less Sunlight and/or Very Short Years or Very Long Days.

{If your "Day" is 20 days long—That 10 days of "Night" will function like a mini-winter and probably kill or severely stunt your Grain...}

A Pecan Tree—on the other hand—could diligently build a Pecan over several "Growing Seasons" ripening and dropping them only when ready.

Nuts have hard shells to protect them from premature pestering. Fruit Trees might need to accumulate store Sugar and Proteins for several seasons before assaying a Fruit. Or maybe unripe Fruit would be really toxic or have an extra-tough skin...

Dates and Coconuts are Tropical—but if you're playing fast and loose with a Gene-Spinner...

Imagine most Farms consisting of large and rather widely spaced Orchards—instead of Corn, Wheat, Rice and Soy Beans.

{I mean 10 to 15 yard gaps between rows of Trees.}

Generous swaths of hearty Clover and Alfalfa grow between the rows of Trees.


Goats have Milk, but Sheep give Wool. Both graze right down to the roots.

Gene-Spin me a combined Sheep/Goat that I can let free range between my Trees without barking my Trees or killing my Clover...

{Yeah, I’m aware of oddball Sheep/Goat creatures.}

Free-Range Chickens, Ducks and Pigeons along with pen-raised Rabbits and Turkeys...

{And Sparrows—Grain-Fed Sparrows and Sparrow Eggs are quite a Luxury in Vietnam I'm told.}

A few fattened Hogs for Lard and Special Treats.

{You can render a sort of Lard from Fat Sheep or Goats...}

(Grains grow—but don't produce much return for the effort.

Just for the Hell of it—lets say that Gene-Spun Sunflowers are our major source of Grain.

A fattened Pig is a real treat. Only the very rich eat Corn-Fattened Beef except at Weddings or Funerals...)

Goat Cheese and Pecans are the staples. Wines and Brandies abound but Beer and Whisky are rare.

Honey is—Need Bees to pollinate—but honey is a semi-luxury.

**************** ***************** *******************

Anyway, here is a rather richly imagined World.

On the Bright side, Gentlemen Farmers manage large Pecan Plantations and mainly subsist on Cheese and Nuts.

Toward the Rim—In Terraces built into the side of Hilly/Mountainous Terrain—there are small-scale subsistence Rice Farms and Small Fruit Orchards.

The farms were built with many designated "Woodlots" in between and plenty elbow room.

The size of the farms may be generous for a single family, but too small to divide in two.

Inheritance is strictly by Primogeniture—going to the eldest male heir.

The steady stream of "Cads"—non-inheriting children of Terrace Farmers—provides a steady supply of Yeomen for Railroad work, Armies, Factory Work or building new Terraces.

The Hillbillies also raise Mulberry/Silkworms...

There is a Weird Twilight-Lit Forest Straddling the Terminus between Perpetual Night and Day.

Only a few Forest Folk and Black-Clad Rangers live there (Remember—Leaves are Black here...)

And on the Darkside—Warrior Herdsmen ride Bactrian Camels and trade Reindeer Meat and Hides as well as Huge Wheels of Reindeer, Camel or Musk Ox Cheese to traders who use railroads that barely penetrate the Darkside territory.

Feel free to use it.

I'm helpless to work all that exposition seamlessly into a story.

A casual reader won't give me five pages of Exposition to set the stage before aught dramatic happens.

{Did I say it? It is my opinion that a society based on Horticulture:

A.} Couldn't support anywhere nearly as large and densely populated urban centers as an Agricultural Society.


B.} The Plantation Owners would almost be forced toward taking a much longer view of things. Pecan Trees need to be planted Now, so that your great grandson may harvest...

Sloth off your husbandry now and it may affect your Trees and Harvests for twenty or thirty years to come.}

.....RVM45 :cool::eek::cool:

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I'm helpless to work all that exposition seamlessly into a story.

Gee I wonder why. That lack of rotation is a show stopper. If the planet was largely liquid wouldn't it spread the heated side to the dark side some?

Simulate day and night on a moving island that crosses the line?

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910 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
About the liquid:

Quite possibly.

I get the idea that the Scientists have to work very hard to imagine life on such a Planet—at least anything more than yeast and slime mold.

But for story purposes...

Have you ever seen this show:

.....RVM45 :cool::eek::cool:
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