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Giant Bags of Mostly Gas: Aeroplankton

Credit:  123Thundernugget On Earth a variety of tiny lifeforms float and drift in the air at the mercy of the winds, just like marine plankton that are at the mercy of the currents. However, what goes up must come down and they ultimately return to the ground. If an aerial ecosystem involving lighter-than-air filter feeding gasbags is to exist then aerial plankton should be much richer than on Earth and likely adapted to perpetual living in the clouds. This article fits within a wider series on lighter-than-air-life.
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Giant Bags of Mostly Gas: Physics

Credit: Richard Bizley,  bizleyart.com It seems that one of the most common speculative evolution questions is whether or not lighter-than-air organisms (aka gasbags) are viable. I therefore thought I should write a comprehensive post on the subject to act as a general reference. Ironically, the length of my draft inflated to a large size as it turned out I had a lot to say on this. For this reason I will split this review of gasbags in to three parts. This first part covers the basic physics of buoyancy and how various parameters can provide more lift. The following parts will cover the anatomy of gasbags and an example of how several gasbag species could fit together to form an aerial ecosystem.

Alternative Carbon Dioxide Calculation

Credit:  AIRS, the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder After finding another paper on this subject I thought I would write a quick follow up to the previous post on the simple greenhouse model . This paper used a climate model to calculate the surface temperature of a planet with varying incident illumination and carbon dioxide partial pressure. The resulting graph is probably a simpler way for people to determine the level of the carbon dioxide necessary to meet their desired aim.

Simple Greenhouse Model

Credit:  AIRS, the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder In response to a question on the  Speculative Evolution Forum  and my previous post on the  Circumstellar Habitable Zone  I thought I would discuss a simple model to calculate the average temperature of a planet. I will first present a model that doesn't account for the greenhouse effect and then extend it to include an idealised version of the greenhouse effect. In practice there are many other modifications that could be made to make a more accurate model but I'm not a professional climatologist. That's what the  Met Office  is for!

Happy Christmas 2020

Credit: Jack-Benny Persson Happy Christmas and a huge thank you to anyone who has been reading this blog over its first few months. Back in September when I started writing I had no idea what would happen over the following months. I had high hopes of maintaining a reasonably regular flow of posts and I had many ideas on what to write. It turns out that achieving this while also dealing with a busy day job, unexpected events in my personal life and a global pandemic in the background was not as easy as I thought. With that said, I am quite pleased with how the first four months have turned out.

Viral Isolation

Credit: Yuri Samoilov My aim to publish a few posts has recently been foiled by an unexpected spanner in the works. My wife has apparently been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and therefore she has to isolate in our house for eight days. This means I have to deal with all contact with the outside world (i.e. shopping) and managing our children (i.e. ferrying them to and from school) while still working remotely on my day job. This has obviously reduced my available spare time to write posts on exoplanets and speculative evolution. However, since this pandemic has illustrated how a small piece of genetic information can have global effects I thought I could write a quick article on viruses and how they could be used in speculative evolution.

Netflix: Alien Worlds (Episode 3)

Credit:  Netflix Recently Netflix released a documentary entitled  Alien Worlds  that covers the topic of exoplanets and speculative evolution. Each of the four episodes presents a different planet and I have already covered the first planet ( Atlas ) and the second planet ( Janus ). This post covers the planet Eden from the third episode.