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List of Habitable Exoplanets:
Came across this list and figured it might help science fiction folks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_terrestrial_exoplanet_candidates And yes, they have made Class Mthe official designation for planets with a temperature range comparable to the Earth. Designation is based upon temperature. Going from coldest to hottest we have hP, P, M, T, hT, which stands for hypopsychroplanet, psychroplanet, mesoplanet, thermoplanet, and hyperthermoplanet. The mesoplanets and psychroplanets could potentially support multicellular life, but the others would only at best support extremophiles, assuming life as we know it is the norm in the galaxy. For comparison, Mars is a hypopsychroplanet, mercury a thermoplanet.
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Mars is a hypopsychroplanet,Are you certain of that? Mars routinely has temperatures that are Earth-like. Cold but Earth-like. Edit: Wiki seems to be on that page too. Curious since Mars is relatively Earth-like.
edited 25th Mar '12 5:06:00 PM by MajorTom
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Shadowed PhilosopherMars is fairly terraformable, but not remotely habitable as-is. It's almost as difficult to live on the Martian surface as it is in space—perhaps more so, since in space you don't have issues with dust nor sandstorms. That said, it's the best prospect we have of the planets in the solar system now. I don't even want to think about what would be involved in getting Venus habitable, and the Galilean moons are far enough away from the Sun that you'd need some damned impressive heat-retention equipment, either that or a whole bloody lot of mirrors.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
I need a drinkI've heard that if Venus were to be habitable it would be in a manner similar to The Jetsons, with cities above the clouds.
Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
Who you are does not matter.Venus' cloud cover is above 10000 feet. That's well beyond the human comfort zone. (I mean, you could live up there, but you wouldn't be able to operate at nearly the same level. And if you have to go above 17000 feet then your body is slowly dying anyways, without external oxygen.) You'd need to burn off and replace huge portions of Venus' atmosphere to make it habitable. Possible in theory, mirror arrays and comets, but crappy. For terraforming, this is perhaps true, but the big iceball moons currently represent an easier prospect for simply living then Mars does. Abundance of easily converted water ice. Mars has lots of water but it is harder to make useable, being trapped in underground permafrost or aquifers. Ice is also easier to dig through, and if you want to move somewhere without a nice active magnetosphere, living underground for protection from radiation and for the insulation is pretty much de rigour.
edited 25th Mar '12 7:57:26 PM by Night
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Shadowed PhilosopherI suppose iceball moons might be easier to set up a semi-permanent colony on, just because you can set up whole collector arrays to service a single facility, hence keep sufficiently warm. I'm just not seeing the long-term terraforming prospects; only place I've ever seen it even referred to was Farmer in the Sky, and there they just have a hypothetical "heat trap" without which everything immediately and catastrophically goes to Hell.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
@major tom: You are right to wonder about that label, but I believe that any planet where carbon dioxide can be found as a solid on the surface is considered an hP world (at least, that was the chemical marker). P planets are planets where water only exists in primarily solid form, but aren't cold enough for dry ice formation (so ages ago before Earth's atmosphere out-gassed and it was a snowball the planet could have been considered a P type). Frankly, I think that they ought to distinguish it a bit more, but the entire labeling system is pretty new and obviously subject to further improvement. I would also include a designation for a surface temperature where methane liquifies, at the very least (you know, like Saturn's moon Titan).
Wimpy Mc SquishyThe surface of Mars and the clouds of Venus make great prospects for colonization in the (relatively) near future. Granted, the first colonies are going to be vacuum-sealed closed ecologies, but both planets can also be terraformed relatively easily. The outer system moons will come later, obviously, and will probably follow a similar pattern to the colonization of Venus and Mars (closed ecologies first, followed by terraforming. Yes, I am optimistic about the moons being terraformed). Most of their energy will probably come from their host planets (radiation, tidal forces, etc). Also, on the subject of habitable exoplanets, I'd like to make a shameless plug for a star map that I made myself in Google Sketchup. It displays the approximate locations of 15 stars known to have planets in their habitable zones. I'll admit right now, it's not quite as accurate as it could be. Enjoy.
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