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Thread: Is it possible to have a disc planet?

  1. #1 Is it possible to have a disc planet? 
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    I'm just thinking in terms of science fiction, but what kind of factors would you need in order to shape a planet like a disc? Anything flat would be cool, with bonus points for being able to support life. Could the rings of a planet support life?


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    By the current definition of the International Astronomical Union, no. One of their defining characteristics is that a planet should be sufficiently massive for gravity to force it into an approximately spherical shape. A dwarf planet could be disc shaped, but it would lack the gravity to hold on to an atmosphere.

    Planetary rings might be able to support some form of microbial life, but not macroscopic life as we know it. The idea, or similar, has been dealt with by science fiction authors - I'm thinking "The Integral Trees" by Larry Niven and one or more stories by one of the Killer Bees (Benford, Brin and Bear), but that's from remote memory: I haven't checked it.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    A very high rotation speed might tend to throw the equator outward and some what flatten a spherical planet. The author of "A mission of Gravity" wrote about this.
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  5. #4  
    exchemist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    A very high rotation speed might tend to throw the equator outward and some what flatten a spherical planet. The author of "A mission of Gravity" wrote about this.
    YES! You beat me to it. That was a good story. The plant was called Mesklin, details here:Mesklin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    But as to whether this is physically possible in reality, I do not know.
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