by Chris Wayan, 2002-2010
Planetocopia is a group of model worlds supporting intelligent life. They fall into four series: Tilt! (Earth with different poles), Futures (set 1000 years from now), the Biosphere Variations (diverse experiments in planetology), and Caprices (whimsically altered Earths). Behind-the-scenes pages include the new Planetocopia interview, Carpentry Tips for World-Builders (how I make 'em), The Heart Hath Its Reasons (why I make 'em), Tech Corner (a chart comparing 'em), World-Builders (influences: others who make 'em). Here's a group snapshot of the Planetocopia family, all to scale. Click for tours!
Alternate Earths that evolved with our geography, only tilted. Shift the axis, and you shift climates, sea levels... and evolution.
a warm, flooded world
a steady-state ice age
the world on its head
a world testing the theories in Jared
Diamond's book "Guns, Germs and Steel"
Set 2: Futures
Three worlds on the same day 1000 years from now--all of them profoundly transformed:
Earth has doubled CO2,
thawed poles and flooded coasts
| Mars Reborn|
emphatically not Terra
| Venus Unveiled|
the ugly duckling
becomes a swan
Set 3: The Biosphere Variations
Worlds so unEarthlike that most exobiologists would write them off... prematurely. An ongoing series, currently two planets (top row) and three moons (lower), all with life, most with intelligent life.
Cross Earth with Mars--
How low can you go?
Not a hot Jupiter, but...
a tepid Neptune?
a huge Earthlike moon
of a hot gas giant
a living Marslike moon
with just 0.1% of Earth's water
a giant Europa
walking on thin ice
Kakalea is a world so Earthlike by the numbers that it should be ideal. But through sheer geographical bad luck, its continents are mostly dry and barren--wrong latitude, wrong shape, mountains blocking storm tracks.
Still, life flourishes on coasts and islands. For the first time I've sculpted the life-forms as well as the globe.
Capsica is a hot world, averaging 50°C (122°F)--that's 35°C (63°F) hotter than Earth, and daytime temperatures in the Capsican lowlands will run 10-20° hotter still. Our deepsea vent communities prove that complex life can adapt to extreme heat; but exobiologists still focus on cool worlds like Earth. Would life differ on hot world? Just as some of Earth's iced over, some of Capsica is Earthlike; would these biological "coolspots" be oases... or backwaters?
Is Capsica a steambath or oven, wet or dry? Wet seemed too easy: our Carboniferous squared. So I went with hot but drier, with shallow seas and patchy rain patterns like Earth. Or are they like Earth? Evaporation's fast; small seas generate rain, but rivers shrink as they run...
Set 4: Caprices
This new set of worlds in progress is a ragbag of whims: poor old Earth with just a few tiny changes...
Earth with most of the ocean siphoned
off, leaving just shallow seas on the
abyssal plains 4-5 km below our coasts.
It's a wild, steamy topography down there,
while the old continents turn alpine...
Up is down and down is up!
Land is sea, sea land;
trenches are peaks, peaks trenches,
islands and reefs are lakes,
lakes are reefs and islands...
start with Inversia's inside-out geology--
now pour on as much water as Earth has.
Miles-deep seas, with tiny continents
where our abysses and trenches lay.
Unrecognizable, yet weirdly familiar...
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