Real-life sci-fi world #6: Pandora (from the movie Avatar), the habitable moon of a gas giant planet

Welcome to Real-life Sci-fi worlds.  I use science to explore life-bearing worlds that are the settings for science fiction stories.  Up today: can the moon of a gas giant planet — like Pandora from the movie Avatar — really be habitable? Pandora is one of the coolest-ever settings for a science fiction story.  The life-bearing … More Real-life sci-fi world #6: Pandora (from the movie Avatar), the habitable moon of a gas giant planet

Real-life sci-fi world #5: a Dune planet (Arrakis)

Welcome to Real-life Sci-fi worlds.  I use science to explore life-bearing worlds that are the settings for science fiction stories.  Up today: a desert planet like Arrakis from the classic Dune books (and the movie and miniseries).  A tribute for author Frank Herbert‘s birthday (a couple days late). Dune is one of the all-time classic … More Real-life sci-fi world #5: a Dune planet (Arrakis)

Real-life sci-fi world #4: Earth around a brown dwarf

Welcome to Real-life Sci-fi worlds.  We are using science to explore life-bearing worlds that are the settings for science fiction stories.  Up today: an Earth-like planet orbiting a brown dwarf. Setting Planets have been found orbiting all kinds of stars.  Stars like the Sun.  Stars brighter and fainter than the Sun.  Giant stars.  Planets have … More Real-life sci-fi world #4: Earth around a brown dwarf

Real-life sci-fi worlds #3: the oscillating Earth

Welcome to Real-life Sci-fi worlds.  We are using science to explore life-bearing worlds that are the settings for science fiction stories.  Up today: the oscillating Earth. Setting Earth’s orbit is not fixed.  Gravitational kicks from the other planets change the shape of Earth’s orbit.  Earth’s orbit oscillates between being perfectly circular (having an “eccentricity” of … More Real-life sci-fi worlds #3: the oscillating Earth

Real-life Sci-Fi World #2: the Hot Eyeball planet

Welcome to Real-life Sci-fi worlds.  We use science to explore life-bearing worlds that are good settings for science fiction.  Up today: the hot Eyeball planet. Planets very close to their stars are too hot for life, right?  Well, not always! Take the Earth and move it closer and closer to the Sun.  It gets hotter … More Real-life Sci-Fi World #2: the Hot Eyeball planet

Real-life sci-fi worlds #1: the eccentric Earth

Welcome to Real-life Sci-fi worlds.  We are using science to explore life-bearing worlds that are good settings for science fiction. Let’s take the Earth and change just one small characteristic: the shape of its orbit. Setting. Earth’s orbit is nearly a perfect circle.  Earth is always the same distance from the Sun (to within a … More Real-life sci-fi worlds #1: the eccentric Earth