Life in Different Scenarios and other creative questions

Pax Christi, everybody!

What do you imagine life might be like on a planet nearest to a red dwarf? How hot does it get? What colors would the plants reflect? Could the niche of sapience be achieved? I would love to hear your thoughts!

You need to read Baxter’s perfect Proxima.

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Lots of additional solar flares might be a general problem, and plants would probably be blue or violet in their primary reflection.

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If I’m not mistaken, the “Goldilocks” temperature zones around cooler red dwarfs requires a planet to be orbiting close enough that the planet would be tidally locked with the star (meaning it would always have its same side facing the star - much like our moon always has the same side facing earth). This creates an interesting environment: one side of the planet in permanent frozen darkness and the other side in permanent scorching heat. So the only place on the planet where there might be any possibility of liquid temperance would be on the ring between the two sides, which significantly limits the real-estate in play. It would be a place of permanent twilight (or ‘sunset’).

On the plus side for red dwarfs, is that they by far make up the majority of stars in our galaxy - and their lifespans will make our own star look like a case of infant mortality in comparison. So if somebody was worried about life needing time to evolve … the fact that it could with our own “flash-in-the-pan” star here means there would be nearly infinitely more opportunity around most other stars in the galaxy!

I also like to ponder what sorts of astronomies an intelligent species might develop if they lived, for example, on a planet that never had its ambient light levels drop below twilight thresholds. If they had never seen any stars apart from their own sun(s), would their cosmological understandings be permanently stunted? Even viewing all our multitudinous night-time constellations, it still took us milleniea to put together that all those stars out there are really in the same category (and many much larger) than our own sun.

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Hmmm. They’d have to be tidally locked and never go near their dark side. Or at a Lagrange point between a binary or triple. Insanely improbable.

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The fact that binary star systems are common (even more common than singular systems I guess!) would seem to make ample opportunity space for such improbabilities to crop up occassionally! Of course, most [some] binary systems probably have one of the suns far enough out (or itself being a dim red-dwarf) that it would probably not be much more than just a brighter star in an otherwise dark sky (compared to the planet’s main star). But the planets that are orbiting both stars (a close binary - and my son informs me that they have discovered such planets by now) is where stuff would be more interesting.

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Yeah, like Game of Thrones (which I’ve never watched - too much gratuitous sex) and Brain W. Aldiss’ excellent Helliconia trilogy. If Jupiter ignited that would certainly get interesting;: it gives out more radiation than it receives already I believe.

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Pax Christi, everybody!

I was wondering if it was possible for life to exist on/in neutron stars. If so, how do you think the extreme environment would affect it?

Pax,
Charles

There seem to be about 25 confirmed: Circumbinary planet - Wikipedia

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Well, the gravitational acceleration would have a minimum value (near the equator of a millisecond pulsar) of 10^12 gees (near the poles on the same pulsar it would be something like 10^16).

As for the magnetic field:

Magnetars are characterized by their extremely powerful magnetic fields of ∼10^9 to 10^11 T.[17] These magnetic fields are a hundred million times stronger than any man-made magnet,[18] and about a trillion times more powerful than the field surrounding Earth.[19] Earth has a geomagnetic field of 30–60 microteslas, and a neodymium-based, rare-earth magnet has a field of about 1.25 tesla, with a magnetic energy density of 4.0 × 10^5 J/m3. A magnetar’s 10^10 tesla field, by contrast, has an energy density of 4.0 × 10^25 J/m3, with an E/c^2 mass density more than 10,000 times that of lead. The magnetic field of a magnetar would be lethal even at a distance of 1,000 km due to the strong magnetic field distorting the electron clouds of the subject’s constituent atoms, rendering the chemistry of known lifeforms impossible.[20] At a distance of halfway from Earth to the moon, an average distance between the Earth and the Moon being 384,400 km (238,900 miles), a magnetar could strip information from the magnetic stripes of all credit cards on Earth.[21] As of 2010, they are the most powerful magnetic objects detected throughout the universe.[16][22]

As described in the February 2003 Scientific American cover story, remarkable things happen within a magnetic field of magnetar strength. “X-ray photons readily split in two or merge. The vacuum itself is polarized, becoming strongly birefringent, like a calcite crystal. Atoms are deformed into long cylinders thinner than the quantum-relativistic de Broglie wavelength of an electron.”[6] In a field of about 10^5 teslas atomic orbitals deform into rod shapes. At 10^10 teslas, a hydrogen atom, 1.06 × 10^−10m, becomes a spindle 200 times narrower than its normal diameter.[6]

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Larry Niven, Integral Trees

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If life could do not just wet carbon based; silicon based and even more exotic up to energy configurations on stellar surfaces, we’d know about it. It would have arisen chthonically ‘on’ Earth. It would have drifted over the galaxy from multiple sources even if it takes a billion years to cover a light year. It does wet carbon as soon as carbon gets wet. But that doesn’t fare space.

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Stephen Baxter pushes the boat out on non-carbon based life [the dark matter Xeelee], as did Fred Hoyle - Black Cloud - and most beautifully of all Stanislaw Lem in Solaris.

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Pax Christi, everybody!

Do you think it’s plausible that a sentient, mammalian or synapsid race could have evolved to fill the human niche in the Permian?

If yes, what epoch or age would be ideal, and if no, what better time and creature would work better?

Not to be dismissive towards the question. I enjoy them. I enjoy speculative science and writings. But have you ever considered using a platform like Reddit? They have a lot of creepy pasta and other strange tales and often get very deep into speculative fiction and alternative timelines.

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Were the 6 major extinction events and the 20 minor all part of God’s ID? Or did He have to ID around them? Or a mixture?

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This might be helpful to your question.

It was a rhetorical question. But I have the same stumbling block for a different reason. A good God doesn’t create above grounding being.

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When one considers the amount of death and pain, Christians who have a problem using evolution as part of God’s plan seem to be justified. This is used to great advantage by non-theists to attack the idea of a loving god. Considering the amount of pain/suffering/death/destruction etc. this is no small matter because it begs the question - what possible purpose could a god that can do otherwise has to use such a wasteful and horrendous process to generate life and humanity. No good answer or potential answer candidate has ever arisen so the likelihood is that one doesn’t exist. This Problem of Pain/Evil/Suffering" call it what you may, it considered the non-theists best argument against a God.

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It is a fair point. Although in the case animal death one that I think can often be over used and oversimplified. Yes their is death and pain in the animal world, some that makes me shudder, but out of that death comes life. Nothing is wasted.

An example. My son and I watched an episode of Blue Planet the other day. We were shocked to watch Orcha chase down and then drown a baby whale only to eat the tongue and lower jaw. What a senseless waste I thought.

But then they showed images of a whale corpse teaming with life on the ocean floor. And another that had been picked clean down to the bones. Through the natural order of things, death produces life and provision for the needs of many.

There is something profoundly theological there… a hint at The One who brings true life for those who partake of the ultimate death.

I guess the thing for me is that God has this annoying habit of refusing to fit into our categories and insisting we redefine them on his terms. Sometimes, when I hear people talk about God and death in nature it sounds as if God is this fairy Godmother character. But God can be benevolent and allow the death of animals if that death serves a purposes. If he can bring good out of it.

Just thinking out loud.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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