Ski-able Planets

Those who have gotten used to seeing a new blog post every weekday (thank you for reading) may have noticed the frequency of postings has fallen off, over the past few weeks.  I normally bound out of bed by 5:00am every day and head right to the computer, to write.  But a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with colon cancer, pass the salt, and I think this is causing me to need more sleep.  As much as I enjoy writing the blog it is the first thing that goes if I run out of time in the morning.

Because of this, I will not be posting new articles every day for the next few weeks and will likely go into a total blackout beginning February 20th when I go in for surgery.  I will resume daily posts as my strength and energy returns over subsequent days and weeks.

The good news is, I should be able to completely recover from this and resume all normal activity within about a month after the surgery.  I hope to get on a pair of skis by mid-March and on a snowboard by the end of March.

Which Planets have the Best Ski Conditions?

I wonder do aliens ski or snowboard?  (How is that for a segue?)  Prerequisites for this would be mountains and snow.  Let us go through a short list of potentially habitable planets and see if they measure up. lists some Potentially Habitable Planets and what we know about them.  We do not know much.  Which of the following are ski-able planets?

  • Kepler-186f
  • Kepler-452b
  • Proxima Centauri b
  • Kepler-62f
  • The TRAPPIST System

Have I ever mentioned that I hate scientific planet names?  I know I have.  This planet is just a bit larger than Earth and has a year that lasts 130 days.  I could not find information on whether or not the planet wobbles, which you may know, is what causes Earth to have winter and summer.  We, in the North, tilt away from the Sun in the winter and tilt back towards the sun in the summer.  Despite no declarations about this on NASA's description of Kepler-186f I am thinking it does not wobble.  The planet is tidally locked to its star, like our moon is to Earth, which means that one side of the planet is always sunny and the other side is always dark.  Our moon does not wobble, causing winter and summer.  But the side of the Moon which faces the Sun can reach temperatures of over 250° F and the side which faces away from the Sun can swing 500° F in the other direction.

Ski-able Planets
Kepler-186f - I see Paul's Tracks
Unlike our moon, the same side of Kepler-186f always faces its sun so there is no night and day.  There is a true dark side of the planet which never sees the sun, whereas our moon experiences day and night, every 13.5 Earth days.  It may be too hot to ski on the light side of "K" but, assuming there is water on the planet (a condition for life as we know it), it should be plenty cold enough for snow on the dark side.  You would not want to go too far onto the dark side because once the temperature dropped below about 10° F it would start to be too cold.  But you would have to drive some distance past the dark line because it is likely that hot winds would blow onto the dark side, warming it at the edge.

Despite having a hot side and a cold side it is possible that people could live in most places on the hot side.  Kepler 186-f is further away from its sun than we our from ours and and its sun is weaker than ours.  It all depends on the atmosphere.  If they have a thick atmosphere it could be very warm due to the Greenhouse Effect.

The final condition needed would be a mountain.  Kepler-186f is described as likely to be rocky so it may have mountains.  On the light side of the planet, a mountain would have to be very high and close to the prevailing winds of the dark side.  On the dark side the height would not matter as much but it would need to be just far enough from the light side, to not have all the snow melt every time a wind storm kicked up.

Conditions would be better on the dark side because, being sunless, the snow would not be subjected to the constant thawing and freezing cycles we experience here on Earth.  But skiing under the lights is never as good as skiing in daylight.  It requires greater concentration to see the slight undulations in the surface and to avoid obstacles like trees and chairlift posts.  So most casual skiers would prefer skiing on the light side.  The dark side would have more of the die-hard expert skiers.

Probably too hot for snow and could even be a gas giant.

This is our closest potential neighbor.  It is tidally locked to its sun and gets less energy from its sun so conditions may be similar to that of Kepler 186-f.  But deadly sun flares may eradicate life there, periodically.  On the plus side, there would be no lift lines.

Which planets have the best ski conditions?

Possibly covered in water which may be completely frozen due to receiving less energy from its sun.  But then how did the water form in the first place?

There are seven potentially habitable planets around the star TRAPPIST-1.  Little is yet known about these planets but there is speculation that they could be rocky and tidally locked.

Which planet is the best?  So far it is Earth, hands down.  Of the others, as of this writing the best is probably Kepler-186f.  Hopefully, we will soon know more about additional planets.

Do Aliens Ski or Snowboard?

Somewhere out there, there is a planet that is just like Earth, wobbling between winter and summer, mountainous, cold enough for snow but not cold enough for immediate frostbite.  The question then, is, do aliens ski or snowboard?

I like to ski and snowboard primarily because I get an adrenaline rush from going fast.  Do aliens produce adrenaline?  This chemical is produced by our bodies in times of danger.  In more primitive times if a predator was salivating over you adrenaline would give you the sudden burst of energy to get out of there and save your life.

Do aliens ski or snowboard?
Someone went over to the Dark Side
We probably do not need adrenaline anymore, for survival.  Could aliens have evolved beyond the need for adrenaline?  Or maybe, on some planets there were never any carnivores so there was never the need for the body to evolve to produce adrenaline in the first place.  Either way, to these aliens we must look pretty silly skiing, sky diving, surfing, or doing any other adrenaline-producing diversions.

Skiing is also good exercise - it is fun exercise.  If you have to get a workout it should be a fun one.  Do aliens work out?  All the depictions I have seen have been of skinny aliens.  This makes me think that either diet or superior genetics makes them not have to exercise.  Or maybe they are that thin because of very rigid cardio exercise routines.  Would skiing appeal to aliens, as a form of exercise?

What would aliens wear on the slopes?  First hand accounts of aliens rarely mention their clothing.  They might get a bit cold on the slopes.  Does North Face make a parka in size Extra Alien?

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Thank you for reading and keep an eye on the sky.