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Tidally Locked

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By ART5EC   |   Watch
Published: February 27, 2017
© 2017 - 2019 ART5EC
I wanted to try my hand at a tidally locked planet. It orbits a dim red star near the outer edge of it's habitable zone. It's a super-earth, three times the mass of Earth, and one side of it's surface always faces it's star. The star-side is a massive, kilometers deep ocean while the opposite side is frozen. Despite the massive amounts of water this planet harbors no life--not even microbes--due to the floor of the ocean being locked in a deep layer of "hot ice," a kind of ice formed from the pressure at that depth.
Image size
2600x1910px 1.6 MB
IMAGE DETAILS
Software
Adobe Photoshop CS6 (Windows)
Comments13
anonymous's avatar
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ElectricSupernova's avatar
Not very pleasant there.
Meerkat92's avatar
Meerkat92Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like it, but why exactly does having a layer of "hot ice" covering the ocean floor keep the ocean floor keep it from developing life?
ART5EC's avatar
ART5ECHobbyist Digital Artist
The pressure at the depths under all that water. Under enough pressure liquid water becomes crystallized, much like how deep underground pressure can turn coal into diamond, and oceans this deep create enough pressure to do just that to the water at ocean floor.
Meerkat92's avatar
Meerkat92Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's interesting, but it's not really what I asked. Why couldn't life develop in the upper layers of the ocean, near the surface? 
ART5EC's avatar
ART5ECHobbyist Digital Artist
...From what? Water? Our current best guess is that life evolved around volcanic vents on the ocean floor that pumped out super heated water and most of the various chemical compounds that actually make up life.
Meerkat92's avatar
Meerkat92Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's certainly a popular theory. But why wouldn't an upwelling volcanic vent not "crack through" the layer of hot ice? Eventually, the pressure would become too great.
ART5EC's avatar
ART5ECHobbyist Digital Artist
Compared to the pressure of kilometers of ocean on top of it? Probably not. This would be a thick layer of hot ice, likely thick enough to constitute being considered a layer of the planetary crust.
Meerkat92's avatar
Meerkat92Hobbyist Digital Artist
Is there any reason (other than probability) why the necessary chemical compounds couldn't come from space? Comet or meteoroids?
Johndoop's avatar
Beautiful planet well done!!!!!!
h-a-n-h's avatar
h-a-n-hStudent Interface Designer
yooooooooo i love space and everything astronomy! this looks incredible! I wonder if life on any locked planet is possible.
ART5EC's avatar
ART5ECHobbyist Digital Artist
I see no reason it wouldn't be possible for life to develop on a tidally locked world. Not on ones like this, perhaps, where half the planet is cold enough to be locked in ice, but there are other possibilities. On such a world weather patterns would be different than ours with wind constantly blowing from the warm light side to the cold dark side, and the same would likely be true of ocean currents. Warm water would be carried from the light side to the dark side and back, making both halves roughly the same in terms of average surface temperature. On one side you would have a rich biosphere with access to non-stop sunlight on which to power itself while on the other you would likely have a far more competitive, limited biosphere locked in eternal night. Along the terminator (where the light and dark sides meet) you would have a strange land of eternal twilight and brutal weather patterns where life would struggle, but likely still find a way to thrive.
h-a-n-h's avatar
h-a-n-hStudent Interface Designer
i think life would be of course very very different from the way too fragile organisms on earth! The need to be adapted to very violent storms and currents, but maybe they can use them for their advance? that would be very interesting to see. Maybe they will fly and charge up on energy on the star-facing side and do something else (sleep?) on the other side until they fly around again.
paint-Industries's avatar
paint-IndustriesStudent Digital Artist
Haruhi Suzumiya Emote - Thumbs Up  
anonymous's avatar
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