Monday, 29 September 2014

Dido And Aeneas

Dido and Aeneas, the third and fourth planets in the Virgilian system, are like a (barely) habitable Venus and a habitable Mars with no Earth between them. See here and here.

Dido has no moon but its eccentric orbit with average radius of one a.u., extreme axial tilt of 38 degrees and rapid rotation period of 8 hours, 47 minutes, cause turbulent seas and weather. Approaching the planet, Flandry sees dazzling, stormy white clouds on the dayside and aurora and lightning on the night side.

The oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere is unacceptably hot and dense, although breathable, but the tropics are lethal to unprotected human beings. Tectonic activity is intense. Vegetation is brown, red, purple and gold. The ground cover, "carpet weed," resembles small red-brown sponges.

Yet again, Poul Anderson imagines a planetary environment differing in fundamental details from the terrestrial: different colors and ground cover and a much shorter day - also, very dissimilar inhabitants. See here and here

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