A desert planet or dry planet is a hypothetical type of terrestrial planet with very little water. The concept has become a common setting in science fiction, appearing as early as the 1956 film Forbidden Planet and Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune.
A 2011 study suggested that not only are life-sustaining desert planets possible, but that they might be more common than Earth-like planets. The study found that, when modeled, desert planets had a much larger habitable zone than watery planets.
The same study also speculated that Venus may have once been a habitable desert planet as recently as 1 billion years ago. It is also predicted that Earth will become a desert planet within a billion years due to the Sun's increasing luminosity.
A study conducted in 2013 concluded that hot desert planets without runaway greenhouse effect can exist in 0.5 AU around Sun-like stars. In that study, it was concluded that a minimum humidity of 1% is needed to wash off carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but too much water can act as a greenhouse gas itself. Higher atmospheric pressures increase the range in which the water can remain liquid.
- Touponce, William F. (1988). "Intellectual Background". Frank Herbert. Boston: Twayne Publishers imprint, G. K. Hall & Co. p. 119. ISBN 0-8057-7514-5.
- Wright, Les. "Forbidden Planet (1956)". Culturevulture.net (Internet Archive). Archived from the original on May 7, 2006. Retrieved May 7, 2006.
- Hladik, Tamara I. "Classic Sci-Fi Reviews: Dune". SciFi.com. Archived from the original on April 20, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2008.
- Michaud, Jon (July 12, 2013). "Dune Endures". NewYorker.com. The New Yorker. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- Choi, Charles Q. (September 2, 2011). "Alien Life More Likely on Dune Planets". Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- Andras Zsom; Sara Seager; Julien de Wit; Vlada Stamenkovic (September 4, 2013). "Towards the Minimum Inner Edge Distance of the Habitable Zone". Cornell University Library: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP). Retrieved February 14, 2014.