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Astrobiology in Space Engine

Posted: 14 Aug 2019 18:53
by donatelo200
You can't add models to planets currently.  At least not make models generate procedurally on planets but you technically could make a small forest the same way you would make a stationary space station in SE.  

Astrobiology in Space Engine

Posted: 15 Aug 2019 19:22
by Stellarator
Zi7ar21 wrote:
Source of the post Trees seem cool, maybe as an optional feature / add-on if someone wants to make that.

I do hope that you are referring to big flora in general, and not Earth-trees as we know them. Convergent evolution notwithstanding, it would be unrealistic if SE had oak or pine trees on alien worlds. A more likely scenario would be that such models would act as mere placeholders indicating a forested region, with later editions of the simulator procedurally modeling the flora's appearance, so that photosynthetic life may only functional similarities with mundane earth autotrophs.

Astrobiology in Space Engine

Posted: 15 Aug 2019 20:54
by Cantra
Lets say you have a planet that is like Earth. But it's a moon orbiting around a larger gas or ice giant. How would this affect plant life on the near and far sides, how would they be different from one another?

Or if you have a planet with multiple moons, would that affect plant life? Could plant life get energy from the reflected light if it is bright enough?

Astrobiology in Space Engine

Posted: 28 Aug 2019 16:50
by Stellarator
Cantra wrote:
Source of the post Lets say you have a planet that is like Earth. But it's a moon orbiting around a larger gas or ice giant. How would this affect plant life on the near and far sides, how would they be different from one another?


Or if you have a planet with multiple moons, would that affect plant life? Could plant life get energy from the reflected light if it is bright enough?

In a word: no. Photosynthesis needs a far greater photonic energy density than that reflected from a solid object. In fact, a large host planet or multiple large moons would have more effect on plant life with gravitational effects like tides, rather than offering light. There are certain types of simple photosynthetic life like algeas that use the minute amounts of moonlight they can find to power metabolisms - but this is exceedingly rare. These algeas are aquatic, so moonlight is of limited use. Perhaps a pervasive terrestrial algea could make use of a sufficiently bright source of moonlight on a moon or many-mooned planet - but only if there were no other sources of more available energy. Besides being too weak for anything other than a specialized metabolism, moonlight is actually pretty unreliable as a source of energy because it is so intermittent, with its periods and phases.

To extend on the facts presented above, moonlight can also have an adverse affect on plants and animals. The different phases of our one moon often screws with the circadian rhythm of many creatures, especially nocturnal ones. Brighter moons or one big moon could make the diurnal/nocturnal cycles of any planets with life nearby very different than what we are used to on Earth. However, I think these would be exceptional in the universe, since even in SE, there are many moon systems that don't seem to differ to much from ours in terms of brightness. There will be some variation - but maybe not as much as our wilder sci-fi spoofs would have us believe.

Astrobiology in Space Engine

Posted: 28 Aug 2019 20:30
by Cantra
Stellarator wrote:
Cantra wrote:
Source of the post Lets say you have a planet that is like Earth. But it's a moon orbiting around a larger gas or ice giant. How would this affect plant life on the near and far sides, how would they be different from one another?


Or if you have a planet with multiple moons, would that affect plant life? Could plant life get energy from the reflected light if it is bright enough?

In a word: no. Photosynthesis needs a far greater photonic energy density than that reflected from a solid object. In fact, a large host planet or multiple large moons would have more effect on plant life with gravitational effects like tides, rather than offering light. There are certain types of simple photosynthetic life like algeas that use the minute amounts of moonlight they can find to power metabolisms - but this is exceedingly rare. These algeas are aquatic, so moonlight is of limited use. Perhaps a pervasive terrestrial algea could make use of a sufficiently bright source of moonlight on a moon or many-mooned planet - but only if there were no other sources of more available energy. Besides being too weak for anything other than a specialized metabolism, moonlight is actually pretty unreliable as a source of energy because it is so intermittent, with its periods and phases.

To extend on the facts presented above, moonlight can also have an adverse affect on plants and animals. The different phases of our one moon often screws with the circadian rhythm of many creatures, especially nocturnal ones. Brighter moons or one big moon could make the diurnal/nocturnal cycles of any planets with life nearby very different than what we are used to on Earth. However, I think these would be exceptional in the universe, since even in SE, there are many moon systems that don't seem to differ to much from ours in terms of brightness. There will be some variation - but maybe not as much as our wilder sci-fi spoofs would have us believe.

Hmm I see. Would living on a planet with a brighter moon or more moons be of much harm to humans, or would it affect us in negative ways? 

Astrobiology in Space Engine

Posted: 29 Aug 2019 23:52
by Stellarator
Cantra wrote:
Source of the post Would living on a planet with a brighter moon or more moons be of much harm to humans, or would it affect us in negative ways?

Not really. Humans would need to adjust to the new brightness at night. Sleep disruption would be a factor, but this is easily remedied by being indoors. We forget that in our modern era, pervasive outdoor lighting has spoiled the darkness of night for many people, and so we are already dealing with the psychological repercussions of less true nightly darkness.

Astrobiology in Space Engine

Posted: 30 Aug 2019 03:24
by A-L-E-X
Stellarator wrote:
Cantra wrote:
Source of the post Would living on a planet with a brighter moon or more moons be of much harm to humans, or would it affect us in negative ways?

Not really. Humans would need to adjust to the new brightness at night. Sleep disruption would be a factor, but this is easily remedied by being indoors. We forget that in our modern era, pervasive outdoor lighting has spoiled the darkness of night for many people, and so we are already dealing with the psychological repercussions of less true nightly darkness.

and other physical health conditions also.
one day this will need to be taken care of, as people are under the assumption that more light = less crime.
Not so, more light actually means more crime, as it helps the criminals to see better ;-)

Astrobiology in Space Engine

Posted: 25 Oct 2020 23:55
by Jimbo Jambo
I'm bumping this topic to restate the pretty uncontroversial opinions that tree-like organisms will likely arise on planets with abundant light and that implementing procedural trees would be cool and is within the realm of possibility.

As cool as it would be to run a Species: ALRE simulation for each planet with complex life, the idea of doing that for every planet in the universe, and moreover, doing it quickly, is unrealistic. Trees, on the other hand, are pretty simple (superficially) and are as much a part of the landscape as rocks and lakes are.

I made a really simple mockup of what procedural trees might look like. A number of factors would be considered when generating them; in this case, it is the planet's age (which increases tree height along a sharp S-curve to simulate the sudden appearance of vascular plants able to grow tall and the subsequent race to become as tall as physically possible to compete for light), gravity (less=taller & thinner), wetness (determines how broad the leaves can afford to be among other things), the host star's spectrum (weighs in on what pigment(s) would be most efficient), and the luminosity or brightness of the star (dimmer stars=darker colors).

tree_composite_2.jpg

boid_anim_small.gif
boid_anim_small.gif (795.86 KiB) Viewed 685 times


Of course my trees here are ugly as sin, they don't branch, there is no randomness, and there are more factors to consider and no doubt complex ways in which they interact, but the point is to show that tree models can be generated using parameters planets already have. Speculation is involved, sure, but it already is in determining which planets can sustain life in the first place, so I don't think it's inappropriate.



...As for animals, I don't want to ask for a glass of milk after being given a cookie, but even though they're not necessary, it would be pretty cool to see tiny simple boid creatures swimming and flying around.
boid_anim_small.gif
boid_anim_small.gif (795.86 KiB) Viewed 685 times

Just sayin'.

Astrobiology in Space Engine

Posted: 26 Oct 2020 00:01
by Jimbo Jambo
Okay, well, the forum butchered my post for some reason and put the images out of order... and I can't edit it. Sorry.

Astrobiology in Space Engine

Posted: 09 Nov 2020 06:56
by Lujo
Jimbo Jambo wrote:
I'm bumping this topic to restate the pretty uncontroversial opinions that tree-like organisms will likely arise on planets with abundant light and that implementing procedural trees would be cool and is within the realm of possibility.

As cool as it would be to run a Species: ALRE simulation for each planet with complex life, the idea of doing that for every planet in the universe, and moreover, doing it quickly, is unrealistic. Trees, on the other hand, are pretty simple (superficially) and are as much a part of the landscape as rocks and lakes are.

I made a really simple mockup of what procedural trees might look like. A number of factors would be considered when generating them; in this case, it is the planet's age (which increases tree height along a sharp S-curve to simulate the sudden appearance of vascular plants able to grow tall and the subsequent race to become as tall as physically possible to compete for light), gravity (less=taller & thinner), wetness (determines how broad the leaves can afford to be among other things), the host star's spectrum (weighs in on what pigment(s) would be most efficient), and the luminosity or brightness of the star (dimmer stars=darker colors).

tree_composite_1.jpg
tree_composite_2.jpg

Of course my trees here are ugly as sin, they don't branch, there is no randomness, and there are more factors to consider and no doubt complex ways in which they interact, but the point is to show that tree models can be generated using parameters planets already have. Speculation is involved, sure, but it already is in determining which planets can sustain life in the first place, so I don't think it's inappropriate.



...As for animals, I don't want to ask for a glass of milk after being given a cookie, but even though they're not necessary, it would be pretty cool to see tiny simple boid creatures swimming and flying around.
boid_anim_small.gif
Just sayin'.

Thats really good. I hope we see ground features soon (stones, plants...). It would really add a whole new perspective.

Astrobiology in Space Engine

Posted: 09 Nov 2020 08:28
by A-L-E-X
How about seeing the effects of winds on trees and plants and other weather like snow and rain and lightning and thunder?

Astrobiology in Space Engine

Posted: 24 Nov 2020 18:06
by Lujo
A-L-E-X wrote:
How about seeing the effects of winds on trees and plants and other weather like snow and rain and lightning and thunder?

Outerra did that. It feels like you are really there. I have no doubt Space Engine will do the same in the future.