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m1omg
2008-Oct-19, 08:05 PM
How would extremely polluted Earth-like planets look from space?

Hornblower
2008-Oct-19, 09:45 PM
How would extremely polluted Earth-like planets look from space?

Much would depend on how much of what types of pollutants are present.

novaderrik
2008-Oct-19, 11:27 PM
like earth- only polluted.

eburacum45
2008-Oct-20, 04:21 AM
Much would depend on how much of what types of pollutants are present.
Quite. From the point of view of an anaerobic bacteria, our planet has been hopelessly polluted by all those nasty photosynthetic plants pumping out oxygen.

Perhaps the most colourful pollutant would be photochemical smog;
here's some
http://gallery.bostonradio.org/2004-11/atlanta/100-02527-med.html
A slightly orange tint of scattering, mostly visible aound the limb of the planet as seen from space.

Also eutrophication in the oceans leading to algal blooms;
pretty, but deadly.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060614120030.htm

A polluted planet might be colourful, even livid.

m1omg
2008-Oct-20, 12:59 PM
Thanks for the links!It seems to be that enviromental collapse woulld be a pretty colorful death...

Well I mean primarily that smoggy NO2-CO-particulate matter type + toxic and radioactive waste + runaway algae.

And could the pollution be spectroscopically detected with good enough technology even from other planetary systems?

stutefish
2008-Oct-20, 04:35 PM
It seems to me that "pollution" can't be detected without substantial knowledge of the planet's ecosystem, and without reference to some specific organism or process that is inhibited by the "pollution" in question.

I mean, obviously the composition of a planet's atmosphere can be trivially detected at whatever range your current state of the art allows. But unless you actually go to that planet and ask the people there what they think of it, how can you possibly determine whether that atmosphere is "polluted" or not?

Ilya
2008-Oct-20, 06:12 PM
I mentioned this before -- suppose we found a planet with spectral signature similar to Mote Prime of Mote in the God's Eye? In the book, Mote Prime civilization had existed for six million years, and all animals -- most importantly Moties themselves, -- had adapted to what we would consider lethal levels of industrial pollution. Mote Prime has N2 and O2 in about same proportions as Earth, but also several percents of halocarbons, hydrocarbons, ketons, sulfur compounds, nitrous oxide, and on top of that, two percents of helium -- from six million years of deuterium fusion. Breathing Mote Prime air would kill a human in the matter of hours.

And as far Moties are concerned, their planet is not polluted at all -- it is their natural environment, the one their bodies are adapted for!

m1omg
2008-Oct-20, 06:36 PM
I mentioned this before -- suppose we found a planet with spectral signature similar to Mote Prime of Mote in the God's Eye? In the book, Mote Prime civilization had existed for six million years, and all animals -- most importantly Moties themselves, -- had adapted to what we would consider lethal levels of industrial pollution. Mote Prime has N2 and O2 in about same proportions as Earth, but also several percents of halocarbons, hydrocarbons, ketons, sulfur compounds, nitrous oxide, and on top of that, two percents of helium -- from six million years of deuterium fusion. Breathing Mote Prime air would kill a human in the matter of hours.

And as far Moties are concerned, their planet is not polluted at all -- it is their natural environment, the one their bodies are adapted for!

Interesting.How would such a planet look on the surface and from space?

Ilya
2008-Oct-20, 08:51 PM
Like L.A. on a bad day. Hazy brown smog.