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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:15 am 
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Somwhere around 1 in 12 planets in the habitable zone, apparently.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-com ... etary.html

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:23 pm 
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Interesting. I was curious about the restriction to the habitable zone. In fact this seems to be because they restricted their simulations to starting from a planetesimal disc between 0.5 and 4 AU in a system very similar to ours, i.e. with Jupiter and Saturn.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:24 pm 
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Quote:
"They find that Earth-Moon planetary systems occur relatively frequently, with more than 1 in 12 terrestrial planets hosting a massive moon. Uncertainties in the study result in a range of 1 in 4 to 1 in 45."

... could be as high as 1 in 4!

(It would sure be a hoot if Classic Traveller actually got it right that there are lots of earth-like worlds in the universe)

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:59 pm 
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atpollard wrote:
(It would sure be a hoot if Classic Traveller actually got it right that there are lots of earth-like worlds in the universe)


If it did, it'd be entirely by coincidence, not by design. There probably are a lot of "earth-like" worlds in the universe - but "earth-like" (in scientific terms) is generally taken to mean "large terrestrial planets", not necessary "planets that are very similar to Earth in terms of habitability".

I don't think worlds that are actually like Earth in terms of habitability are all that common though. Humans are specifically adapted to Earth, and have a very small band of planetary environments in which they can live (based on pressure, temperature, atmospheric composition, etc). I think the vast majority of worlds are completely uninhabitable, some may be borderline, and very very few are going to be "shirtsleeve" environments.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:43 pm 
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In truth, there are a lot of places on this planet that are not inhabitable. The middle of Australia for one. I am vegetarian and there are big tracts of this planet that are only viable for meat eaters. This being the polar and high mountain regions. The oceans as well are a pretty tough gig.

Precious little of this planet is a shirtsleeves environment, and we "grew up" here as a species.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:04 am 
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JustinInOz wrote:
In truth, there are a lot of places on this planet that are not inhabitable.

Yep, approximately 90 % of the Earth's surface would require at least
moderate technology for the survival of humans, and even more if one
includes the regions where humans needed millenia to adapt to the en-
vironment by evolving into subspecies, like the Inuit of the Arctic or the
San of the Kalahari Desert, who would find survival in most other envi-
ronments extremely difficult.

Besides, quite a lot of the currently inhabited surface area was "terra-
formed". The region where I live once was covered by either dense fo-
rests or dangerous swamps, and it took many centuries and lots of man-
power and (low) technology to turn it into an area where more than a
few tiny bands of hunters and gatherers can survive. For a more obvi-
ous example, think of the Netherlands, most of their land is "man made".


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:16 pm 
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EDG wrote:
I don't think worlds that are actually like Earth in terms of habitability are all that common though. Humans are specifically adapted to Earth, and have a very small band of planetary environments in which they can live (based on pressure, temperature, atmospheric composition, etc). I think the vast majority of worlds are completely uninhabitable, some may be borderline, and very very few are going to be "shirtsleeve" environments.


Interesting. My own homebrew SF campaign assumes that habitable worlds are extremely rare. Most planets colonised by humans require extensive terraforming - and even then the surface conditions created by the process are often marginal. The speed of human expansion through the galaxy is limited by the slow rate of terraforming rather than FTL drive technology. Humans have tentatively explored a region far larger than the zone that they have successfully colonised. Terraforming planets requires a massive financial commitment and is typically funded by large institutional investors (under the watchful eye of the Office of Colonial Affairs).

From a human perspective, interstellar colonisation is a very slow process - even with the advanced technology available in the setting, it takes several hundred years to make a terrestrial planet moderately habitable. However, from a cosmic perspective it will take little time for the descendants of humanity to fill the galaxy - perhaps no more than a million years or so. (The Fermi Paradox is important to the campaign setting - plenty of ancient alien species have tried to colonise the galaxy before humanity and all of them are now extinct, implying that the Great Filter still lies somewhere in humanity's future....)

My campaign also makes extensive use of the concept of pantropy - the idea that humans will use genetic engineering to adapt themselves to alien environments rather than adapting the environment to suit them. As humanity spreads across the stars, itis gradually splintering into dozens of new clades adapted to different environments - ironically creating a situation similar to traditional space operas with numerous humanoid alien species.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:57 pm 
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rust wrote:
JustinInOz wrote:
In truth, there are a lot of places on this planet that are not inhabitable.

Yep, approximately 90 % of the Earth's surface would require at least
moderate technology for the survival of humans, and even more if one
includes the regions where humans needed millenia to adapt to the en-
vironment by evolving into subspecies, like the Inuit of the Arctic or the
San of the Kalahari Desert, who would find survival in most other envi-
ronments extremely difficult.

90% ... Really?
Polynesians sailed the Pacific, and the Aztec built floating cities at TL 0.
That makes something close to 50% of the earth's surface Tropical, Sub-Tropical or Temperate ocean, exploitable for fishing at TL 0.

Granted, TL 0 will not support 6 billion people, but I would estimate closer to 80% of the earth's surface being inhabited by primitive (TL 0-3) humans at one time or another (I assume [W.A.G.] about 10% mountains and 10% ice caps as completely uninhabitable).
YMMV.

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Last edited by atpollard on Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:09 pm 
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Prime Evil wrote:
My campaign also makes extensive use of the concept of pantropy - the idea that humans will use genetic engineering to adapt themselves to alien environments rather than adapting the environment to suit them. As humanity spreads across the stars, itis gradually splintering into dozens of new clades adapted to different environments - ironically creating a situation similar to traditional space operas with numerous humanoid alien species.

Psychologically, that makes colonists rather extreme individuals, does it not? I mean settling a new world means altering yourself to become a new species, genetically incompatible with other humans and NEVER able to return to your planet of birth ... for both you and your children and their children, forever.

That is a very different mindset than the classic wander-lust to see what lies beyond the next hill, or the basic desire to get a new start in a new land with new opportunities for you and your family.

That would seem to me more akin to starting a colony with Jihadists or members of a cult. Those radically committed to an extreme view directly opposed to the majority of society. I can't even imagine the results of inbreeding populations with a natural pre-disposition for extremism.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:30 pm 
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atpollard wrote:
Polynesians sailed the Pacific, and the Aztec built floating cities at TL 0.

The cultures of Polynesians and Aztecs were the results of more than
100,000 years of cultural and technological development. While their
technologies would be TL 0 in the Traveller framework, they were much
higher developed than the technologies of truly primitive humans, who
would have found it impossible to live on the water.


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