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Thread: Scifi/Fantasy Photosynthesis...

  1. #1 Scifi/Fantasy Photosynthesis... 
    Forum Freshman
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    Jul 2012
    Hey all! So I'm writing a fantasy story about a tidally-locked planet (meaning the sun is always 'in one place above the planet' from the planet's perspective). This would mean the nadir of the sun on the planet would be hottest, there would be a permanently dark side of the planet, and a habitable ring on the 'edge' of the planet...
    Anyway– so my question is about the best light suitable for photosynthetic plants. For example, I've read that plant-life farthest from the sun, for example, perhaps just beyond the habitable region (where the sun is about to set/weakest angle of sunlight on earth), would be black-colored to absorb the strongest available light in that place (UV-light). So would this mean (remember its a highly fantastical story...) that plant coloration [alternate chlorophyll] might be white under the sun [if it could bear the heat], to absorb just enough light and ward off heat?...
    Hopefully you understand what Im getting at! Basically I'm wondering what [spectrum of] color plant-life would be, best adapted, at each angle incident rays of light hit the earth... from strongest/hottest to darkest/cold (you can just assume a Sun-like star, even though a realistic tidally-locked system probably would be a different class...)

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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    55° N, 3° W
    Have you came across this article before: "The Color of Plants on Other Worlds" ? Could be useful, I think.

    I think that plants living on the edges of the habitable zone would be living in pretty dull conditions where infra-red would be the dominant wavelengths. Those plants might appear very dark to black. Going after UV would likely be harmful. Plants here would likely be large, very leafy and sprawling.

    For plants on the permanent day-lit side then I'd guess light intensity would have to be factored in. The fact that there are plants growing in this zone might suggest that the sun is either quite feeble or distant. Plants here might have no leaves, little surface area, reflective surfaces and light coloration.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Key West, Florida, Earth
    Why not use giant geostationary orbiting mirrors to reflect the sunlight as needed to the dark side? That way they could plant anything anywhere and adjust the amount of light needed to grow individual crops.
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