Talk:Desert planet

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Hello, I am the copyright holder of the Desert Planets article. The reason it is so similar to the article at is because I wrote the article and posted it to and Wikipedia. The article is also posted on the "What's new" page of my website "The Multiverse Database".


Vote for Deletion[edit]

This article survived a Vote for Deletion. The discussion can be found here. -Splash 16:18, 13 August 2005 (UTC)


I've been thinking is a desert planet capable of sustaining life impossible? My view is that nothing could live on one because there is nothing to regenerate the oxygen. (note that the Dune series addressed this problem stating that there is plant life/fungal on the planet that fills this gap)


NO, life would not be impossible; there would be little photosynthesis, and it might take place slowly. The scarcity of plants would imply also the scarcity of their consumers.

It would also be possible that the desert zone is the only one in which habitability is possible for complex life forms due to excessive heat in the tropics and excessive cold (glaciation?) in the polar regions. Meltwater from polar ice caps or water flowing from hyper-heated, but rainy equatorial zones that can support only simple heat-adapted life) might give some natural irrigation to some favored spots -- oases and galeria forests. Such suggests a planet having harsher extremes of temperature than the Earth, either on the cold or hot side, with the congenial zones (as defined by temperature) for complex life existing entirely in desert areas.

Worth noting -- the Earth during the Ice Age came close to being a desert planet due to the expansion of existing non-polar deserts and their appearance in places where they do not now exist Between the Scandinavian Ice Sheet and what passed as tropical non-desert vegetation were polar desert, steppe-tundra (few plants due to the cold and drought), cold steppe where one now finds the Mediterranean climate zone, semi-desert, the expanded Sahara, and semi-desert tropical steppe. Meltwater from Alpine glaciers might have provided some oasis effect in such places as southern Germany and northern Italy... but that was about all that one would have found between modern-day Germany and modern-day Nigeria. Animal populations were much smaller then. --Paul from Michigan (talk) 04:35, 1 June 2009 (UTC)


Does Mars or Mercury or Venus qualify as real-life desert planets? (talk) 15:04, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Mercury, Venus, the Moon, and Mars (the Moon is large enough to be a planet, which it would be if it escaped the Earth's gravitation) aren't "real-life" due to their extreme hostility to terrestrial life.

A desert planet could be like the land surfaces of the Earth when all of its life was in the seas -- that is, before plant life and animal life colonized the land. Almost all lands on such a planet would be desert irrespective of climate. .

The appearance of desert planets in science-fiction novels and movies suggests planets with deserts analogous to those of Earth and of course survivable. Temperature ranges must be compatible with life, atmospheric pressures must be adequate and the gases within those atmospheres must not be toxic, radiation must not be excessive, planetary surfaces must not be toxic (examples of imaginable violations: soils full of cyanide or arsenic). The deserts could resemble the Sahara, the Mojave, the Kalahari, the Gobi, the Thar, the Australian Outback, or perhaps the polar deserts that appeared on Earth in the shadow of some of the Ice Sheets.... in the absence of seas, there couldn't be an equivalent of the Atacama or Namib on the shore or rainshadow-effect equivalents of Patagonia. If you see someone like Luke Skywalker on some exotic desert planet, then that suggests adequate atmospheric pressure, livable (if uncomfortable)temperatures, a non-toxic atmosphere, and soils that don't poison anything that touches them.

In all seriousness, "prairie" planets would be more interesting than desert planets. It's hard to believe that a planet wouldn't have some tendencies for air masses to force their way to the equator where heating would cause convective storms with such moisture as exists in the atmosphere causing convective storms that dump precipitation adequate for some greenery.--Paul from Michigan (talk) 03:43, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Making this article more scientific[edit]

Right now, this article deals almost entirely with science fiction. I suggest that it be overhauled to resemble the page for ocean planet. I'll try, but I don't think I have quite the scientific knowledge necessary to properly write it. KnowitallWiki (talk) 19:31, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

I think the main problem is that "desert planet" is mostly used informally. Without even a definition that's reasonably agreed upon by multiple sources, this article is going to remain in the twilight zone. Someone not using his real name (talk) 11:19, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
What kind of precipitation are we even talking about? It rains with sulfuric acid on Venus and with methane on Titan. Someone not using his real name (talk) 11:23, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

I think that we assume that the liquid is water. Less likely would be ammonia which would imply an atmosphere rich enough in hydrogen to allow an equilibrium that allows ammonia to exist rather than decompose. (Earth's atmosphere has nitrogen and not ammonia; Jupiter's atmosphere has ammonia but not molecular nitrogen). You can forget such exotic materials as carbon tetracholoride, formaldehyde, benzene, alcohols, or liquid gallium or mercury that are difficult to form, thermodynamically unstable, or rare.

As for science fiction -- the Earth has been close to being a desert planet due to glaciation and much chillier seas, so that is not so preposterous. A prairie planet? Maybe someone can write the story. Forest planets like Yavin in the original Star Wars (it is shot in Guatemala) and Pandora in Avatar obviously exist in cinematic science fiction. Pbrower2a (talk) 03:58, 24 April 2015 (UTC)