Why Do 8 Other Planets Exist?

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by BlackRazor, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. BlackRazor Registered Member

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    Please forgive me all for asking such an odd question, but I'm a science fiction novelist and I am currently researching for my new book. I'm attempting to create a new "fictional universe" in which it pretty much is the real universe as we know it in real life. Theres a couple of things im doing to make it unique, in addition to making the world as real as possible by the laws of science without ruing the story.

    Anyhow, im trying to figure something out. Remember my whole deal is realistic science fiction....so that means things are as they are in real life. Ok, so barring the debate over whether or not life exists on other planets...im assuming it doesnt for purposes of my novel.....why are there 8 other planets that cant support human life? It just doesnt make sense as to why out of 9 only 1 can support life. I know the science as to why, but what purpose do the other 8 serve?

    Is there any scientific reason known as to why? Do they affect the gravity of earth or anything? Someone, please help me understand this, because I need to know for the sake of my story.

    I really appreciate any help.
     
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  3. Absane Rocket Surgeon Valued Senior Member

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    Mercury: Way too hot
    Venus: I believe it's even hotter... and it has a sulpheric acid atmosphere

    Mars: The warmest it gets at the equater is around 50 degrees F but it had very little oxygen and the air is thin

    Jupiter: Way too big and just a gas ball
    Saturn: Same
    Uranus: same
    Neptune: Same.

    If you want to consider pluto a planet (which it's not according to a new "ruling,") it's very very very very very very cold and I think it has no atmosphere.

    Why only earth? It just happens to be the right distance away from the sun and it just happens to have water. Basically.

    I'm not very much help

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  5. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    "I know the science as to why, but what purpose do the other 8 serve?"

    This sounds like a philosophical or theological question, not science.
     
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Purpose for whom?

    Planets don't exist for the benefit of human beings.

    Who says they have to have a purpose?

    The big ones help stabilise the Earth's orbit to some extent...
     
  8. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member

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    Perhaps he is asking whether or not a single-planet system could support life as well as our own?
     
  9. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

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    Seven other planets, not eight. Pluto is no longer considered a planet, remember?

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  10. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member

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    Pluto is a planet. Fuck that "dwarf planet" nonsense.
     
  11. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

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    Well I guess if you wanna be wrong...

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  12. eburacum45 Valued Senior Member

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    The other planets exist because otherwise the Earth would be different in several ways, and probably the whole history of life on Earth would be different; there might not even be life here at all.

    I went to a lecture by our British Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees; he described the way that the existence of the giant planet Jupiter has shaped the rest of the solar system including Earth and its orbit; and also the way Jupiter protects the Earth from comets and asteroids by hoovering them up (as it did with the famous comet Shoemaker-Levy 9).
    Without Jupiter the Earth would be a very different place, in a different orbit and constantly bombarded by comets and asteroids; the other planets have more subtle influence on our world, but still I think significant.
     
  13. thedevilsreject Registered Senior Abuser Registered Senior Member

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    and help act as a natural shield against meteors
     
  14. thedevilsreject Registered Senior Abuser Registered Senior Member

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    plus no life could ever exist on one of the gas giants, the gravity would crush anything that was on the planet
     
  15. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    Now, that's an interesting scenario. It would be reasonable to predict life forms from earth would be crushed by Jupiters gravity, but can we also assert that planets gravity could potentially inhibit life from forming, given that life could form there under other reasonable conditions?
     
  16. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    The earth has as equal a "purpose" as do the other planets - none.
     
  17. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I hesitate to dispute this with you, but my initial reaction is that is not true. Surely, if there were only Earth and Sun there would be a stable orbit, probably eventually a circular one, but I am not sure of that.

    How could adding a third body, especially one very massive compared to Earth, increase this stability?

    I can easily imagine that under some conditions, it could even expell Earth into deep space, but perhaps not from Earth's current orbit, which is deep in the sun's gravitational well.

    Can you give a little more detail to support your POV?
     
  18. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

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  19. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    jupiter, saturn, uranus, neptune, and pluto are too far away from the sun for life to develop.
    that leaves mercury, venus, earth, and mars.
    mercury is too close to the sun.
    that leaves venus, earh, and mars, any of which probably could have supported life.

    idea for your novel:
    life originated on venus. after trashing the environment humans moved to earth, after trashing earth we will move to mars.
     
  20. phonetic stroking my banjo Registered Senior Member

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    The temperature variations on Mars are pretty ridiculous. Too big a swing in day/night temperatures for humans anyway. There'd be a few hours each day where it would be bearable most likely.

    Venus is really hot, but if there wasn't any carbon dioxide in the atmosphere it'd probably be pretty much the same as Earth. Could make for an interesting bit of history of how the inhabitants had to get rid of Venus' greenhouse before they could inhabit it.
     
  21. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

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    Of course, Venus also has the slight issue with no plate tectonic activity as well. What was it? That the whole surface of the planet was formed at the same time? And that there is a theory that says that it will eventually reach a heating point and flash over to reform another surface?

    Although. I do seem to recall recent research finding volcanoes on the surface which would put a number on that theory...

    Anyone know the latest?
     
  22. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

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    I think I get what you're trying to say, but, you can't say "X exists because otherwise Y", because that implies a purpose.
     
  23. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

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    A form of the anthropic principle.
     

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