Could Humans Really Live On Arrakis, the Planet from Dune?

Arrakis, the planet depicted in the novel and picture Dune, is a dreadful place to visit, at least if you are not a huge worm. Could people survive in this desert, which is mostly devoid of water? Is it even possible for such a universe to exist? The question is considered to be worth investigating by a group of climate scientists. Dr. Alex Farnsworth is a historian who enjoys science fiction and fantasy. He researches historical climates at the University of Bristol. As a result, he began to mimic the climates of fictional worlds, such as the one shown in Game of Thrones, albeit he humbly attributed Samwell Tarley as the author. There must be some sort of remuneration for enduring all that cold.

The climate of Westeros, with its erratic seasons, could never be accurately predict, but Arrakis is a different story. Although the spice that allows humans to travel through space is a mystical element, the notion of a livable desert world is completely true. Dune’s fundamental planet is the ideal one to investigate in this approach, having been credited with starting the area of ecological science fiction. Farnsworth and colleagues have made the results of their study available on their website, where anybody may see airflow over its mountains, The Great Flat, and poles, as well as fiddle with the settings and watch airflow over its mountains, The Great Flat, and occasional clouds.

The model’s creators wrote in The Conversation, “We opted to preserve the same underlying physical rules that regulate weather and temperature here on Earth.” “If our model showed anything absolutely weird and exotic, it may indicate that the rules of Arrakis were different, or that Frank Herbert’s imaginative image of Arrakis was simply that: imagination.” Arrakis has a near-circular orbit, rather than seasons that are complicated by vast fluctuations in distances from its star, according to Herbert. This, together with numerous descriptions of the landscape and mood offered by Herbert’s six books and his son’s sequels, gave the writers with data to put into the model.

Surprisingly, the team was able to get three weeks on a big supercomputer to get the model to operate. Not every detail of Herbert’s depiction proves to be accurate. Intuitively, his depiction of a globe with a searing equator and cool refuges at the poles seems reasonable, but the model revealed that this is not the case. Arrakis’ polar areas would be unpleasant without the cooling influence of the seas, with temperatures ranging from 70o C (158o F) in summer to -75o C (-103o F) in winter, not far off the Antarctic record. The tropics, on the other hand, would be nice in the winter and reach 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer — uncomfortably hot but bearable.

High cloud cover above the poles works as a greenhouse gas, according to the authors. Who knows what circumstances huge worms might withstand, but a creature with a heat tolerance comparable to humans could struggle to thrive in the tropics of such a world. However, anybody venturing outside in the summer in the mid-latitudes, where Herbet placed the majority of Arrakis’ population would kill.

The books portray Arrakis as a place without rain, yet the model revealed summer and fall rains in the arctic highlands. This may be an understandable blunder on the part of a visitor, but the model found no evidence of a polar ice cover in the northern hemisphere. Summers like these would melt any ice, which never is replenished with snow. The model’s designers, on the other hand, are gracious, noting that the first Dune novel was released two years before the first global climate model. They do not ponder if spice, or anything else, might grow on such a planet because they are not scientists.