Sunday, May 6, 2012

Water Cloud Jovian

According to astronomers, one of the more commonly discovered planets that we've seen in the universe is the Water cloud Jovian -- imagine Jupiter, but in the earth's orbit. Under higher temperatures, the brown and orange stained ammonia clouds evaporate, and are replaced with fluffy white clouds, the kind seen in the earth's sky. The planet enjoys earth-like temperatures (based on radiation calculations), and if you could somehow visit one, you'd see sky above, and sky below, ending in a blue void. Artists have drawn, from the scientist's description of the conditions, what one would look like from the view of an air vehicle flying through the upper atmosphere, and it is remarkably beautiful.

Jovian planets would also be useful industrially. Although this beautiful air would choke you to death, plants could live in this environment without difficulty, and the strong magnetic field allows light in while shutting out much of the more harmful radiation of a star. A farm in such an environment would be a very useful thing, if you could get it on a floating, balloon hoisted platform. With effectively ten earths of space, you could grow quite a bit of stuff. The planet is also rich in chemicals like methane and ammonia, and hydrocarbon synthesis would also prove valuable as industries. Much of a Jovian planet's hydrogen is actually in the form of pure H2, which is quite chemically valuable (as well as dangerously explosive, so it would have to be kept separate from the breathable air.)

These industries would be able to bootstrap from small balloon-hoisted platforms into larger platforms, into connecting the platforms. While getting the end-products out of the immense gravity well would prove challenging, a successful farm would also be a good place to start a colony -- independence and cheap food would prove a draw to quite a lot of people. The plants would, over time, terraform the planet and increase the industrial usability of the planet's remaining hydrocarbons. Although metal would be in short supply, there being effectively none other than what the colonists bring with them when they arrive, all the plastic you want could be synthesized out of, effectively the planetary air, farming will be super easy, Earth can't attack you, and you can never, ever leave. Anarco-primitivists would love it, as would the more agricultural sectors of French society.

Over time, I think these floating platforms would expand to cover the planet, with each new immigrant group bringing another platform, and extensions being woven from wood and plastic. In a few strategic spots, a hole is deliberately left for the view, but elsewhere, cities spring up, farms grow enough food to literally cover the entire surface of the earth, and people live their lives.

It'd be awesome. Also, impractically distant, as the closest known water cloud Jovian planet is about 41 light-years away, not to mention the usual preposterous costs of any space travel at all.

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