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ToSeek
2002-Mar-21, 12:45 PM
We've got to be able to pick this one apart: a planet without a star that has a breathable atmosphere, shirtsleeve weather, and complex mammalian life.

It's not Bad Astronomy, but my first question is, why do all the plants have leaves?

Chuck
2002-Mar-21, 01:31 PM
They could have put the planet in orbit around a star. It wouldn't have changed the plot.

The air warmed by the vents wouldn't stay near the vents since the frozen parts of the planet are in vacuum. There would be no frozen air on the warm ground but there would still be none to breathe.

ToSeek
2002-Mar-21, 02:07 PM
On 2002-03-21 08:31, Chuck wrote:
They could have put the planet in orbit around a star. It wouldn't have changed the plot.


That's the real kicker: they make a point of the "rogue planet" business, then there's absolutely nothing in the story that makes use of it, other than all the cool, spooky night shots.

SpacedOut
2002-Mar-21, 03:51 PM
Not only where there plants, but plants with green leaves.

Also - where did all of the fill lighting come from - in some of the shots there was light in the sky!

Donnie B.
2002-Mar-21, 04:17 PM
Obviously, NASA faked the whole "rogue planet" in a movie studio in Burbank.

Seriously, though...

ST-TOS had an episode very much like this; it was called (I believe) "Miri". The opening teaser had the 'Prise discovering a new planet. When they pop it up on the viewscreen, lo and behold - it's the Earth!

Well, actually, after the swoosh screens and commercial, we find out it's just a parallel to Earth, that has had a deadly epidemic, that left only some kids alive. The rest of the episode has nothing to do with the planet being Earth's twin, except for its humanoid inhabitants (yeah, like that's real uncommon).

So the rogue planet, like Earth-II in 'Miri', was a wasted idea. Too bad.

EckJerome
2002-Mar-21, 09:30 PM
In the case of "Miri" the contrived setup with a parallel Earth was simply a ploy to save money on the budget by utilizing existing sets on the back lots.

I suspect that there was similar real-life reasoning going on in "Rogue Planet."

My nit early on was why didn't they use their night-vision monocles right from the start? Bumbling around in a strange forest with just flashlights seems a bit primitive. Then later on they were using both flashlights AND night vision, which just seemed redundant.

Eric

WHarris
2002-Mar-22, 06:18 PM
On 2002-03-21 08:31, Chuck wrote:
They could have put the planet in orbit around a star. It wouldn't have changed the plot.


Sure it would. The hunters would have just done their hunting by day, rather than during the eternal night.



The air warmed by the vents wouldn't stay near the vents since the frozen parts of the planet are in vacuum. There would be no frozen air on the warm ground but there would still be none to breathe.


Huh? How does it figure that the parts of the planet farthest from the vents would be in a vacuum?

Cold, yes. But vacuum? I don't think so.

SpacedOut
2002-Mar-22, 06:23 PM
The problem with the episode goes all the way back to Star Trek TOS 3rd season

Kirk meets girl...
Kirk falls in love with girl...
Kirk looses girl!

ToSeek
2002-Mar-22, 07:37 PM
On 2002-03-22 13:23, SpacedOut wrote:
The problem with the episode goes all the way back to Star Trek TOS 3rd season

Kirk meets girl...
Kirk falls in love with girl...
Kirk looses girl!



But this is more like:

Archer meets girl
Archer loses girl
Archer gets girl
Archer finds out girl is a giant space slug
Archer loses giant space slug

Chuck
2002-Mar-22, 10:26 PM
Huh? How does it figure that the parts of the planet farthest from the vents would be in a vacuum?

Cold, yes. But vacuum? I don't think so.


There's no star to warm the planet. The air would be frozen solid.

lpetrich
2002-Mar-24, 09:07 AM
I agree on the implausibility of that situation; how is the planet's surface kept warm? And what would the plants live off of, if there was very little light?

As to plants looking like Earth plants, that seems like another shortcut. However, there is good reason to expect some convergent evolution. Leaves are thin because oxygen must diffuse into them, carbon dioxide must diffuse out of them, and light must be able to penetrate them. The leaves must also be colored, since they must be able to catch incoming light.

However, there is no good reason to expect them to have the exact same photosynthetic pigments as Earth plants -- they will likely have some different color.

Chuck
2002-Mar-24, 12:42 PM
You'd expect the leaves to be a lot broader since they have to live off cosmic background radiation and neutrinos.

Donnie B.
2002-Mar-24, 01:19 PM
Heheheh... like maybe the size of a football stadium full of water...

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

ToSeek
2002-Mar-25, 01:56 PM
On 2002-03-24 04:07, lpetrich wrote:
As to plants looking like Earth plants, that seems like another shortcut. However, there is good reason to expect some convergent evolution. Leaves are thin because oxygen must diffuse into them, carbon dioxide must diffuse out of them, and light must be able to penetrate them. The leaves must also be colored, since they must be able to catch incoming light.



My thought was that since there's no incoming light, then there's no reason for leaves.

Bob S.
2002-Mar-26, 03:56 PM
lpetrich wrote:
I agree on the implausibility of that situation; how is the planet's surface kept warm?

They stated in the episode that geothermal vents released warm gases that created islands of temperate zones and preventing the atmosphere from freezing solid.
The big question might be, how do these geothermal gases get converted into a breathable atmosphere.


And what would the plants live off of, if there was very little light?
:
However, there is no good reason to expect them to have the exact same photosynthetic pigments as Earth plants -- they will likely have some different color.

Remember that plant life is just one shape that evolution/God/whatever- you- chose- to- believe selects for an organism. Even fungi use plant-like cell structures for their form but simply lack chloroplasts for photosynthesis.
I had a similar question about the "plants" on an episode of "Above and Beyond" when the space marines were sent to an alien world with a methane atmosphere. Okay, so it was only filmed in the Santa Barbara mountains using an orange filter over the lens. Don't sweat the small details of how every bug fits in the alien biosphere.
If it helps you sleep at night, imagine that the plants evolved not photosynthesis (due to inadequate starlight to power it) but rather thermosynthesis since ambient heat would be the most abundant source of energy available to plant life. In its own way, it all works to create a balanced ecosystem perfect for the eerie dark stage that is integral to the story plot.

[edited for spelling]


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Bob S. on 2002-03-26 11:04 ]</font>

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Mar-27, 04:00 PM
I finally watched the epsiode last night, so I can comment...

They say the planet is warmed by thermal venting. Well, maybe. The internal heat of the Earth is quite high. The surface of Ethe Earth is heated primarily from the Sun, but it's not wholly implausible (to an astronomer at least) that vents could let out enough heat to keep the surface warm, especially if there is an atmosphere to trap the heat. It's highly highly improbably, but c'mon, this is Trek.

But plants with leaves... I thought of this too while watching last night. Leaves allow a plant to breathe, but also to capture sunlight. I suspect leaves on a planet like that would not be green unless it's coincidence. They wouldn't capture sunlight, but perhaps infrared light for energy. Hmmm... well, anyway, I was impressed with the quality of the sets. Were those sets, or did they film outside? Usually, jungle sets are sparsely veghetated because it costs a fortune to put a lot of plants in them.

Overall, though, I liked the episode, though I knew instantly the woman was one of the aliens communicating with Archer, and also knew why she sought him out too. Still, enjoyable.

ToSeek
2002-Mar-28, 02:27 PM
On 2002-03-27 11:00, The Bad Astronomer wrote:
Were those sets, or did they film outside? Usually, jungle sets are sparsely veghetated because it costs a fortune to put a lot of plants in them.


Since the set was so lush and realistic, I assumed that they filmed outside at night. If it were in the studio, I'd hope that they'd do a better job of making the plants look alien instead of like a southern California botanical preserve. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Mar-29, 12:45 AM
It was a set (http://talk.trekweb.com/articles/2002/03/26/1017202893.html)! The leaves are explained in that link too, much the same way I explained them. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

ToSeek
2002-Mar-29, 01:01 PM
One of the things
I hoped that episode would do is stimulate discussion among science-oriented fans
of the show about whether or not a class-M environment could be sustained on a
rogue planet. It's a very interesting question with no cut-and-dried answer.


Well, they got that right. Still wish they'd actually tried to make the jungle look alien.